MUSIC LYF: Humanfolk

Para sa Tao

Looking for a different genre of music that combines your love of electronic and traditional instruments that are indigenous to our culture? HUMANFOLK is a  band that is composed of world class talents who are hailed as music experts in their own genre. The band is composed of Johnny Alegre, Susie Ibarra, Malek Lopez, Cynthia Alexander, Roberto Juan Rodriguez, and Abby Clutario.

Johnny Alegre is a recording artist whose pioneering albums and performances have received favorable notices from the jazz press in London and L.A., as well the Philippines.

Susie Ibarra's name is a legend in the rarefied ethno-musical avant grade genres in the global landscape, with a cachet of recordings and formidable collaborations with Derek Bailey, John Zorn, Mark Dresser, David S. Ware and so forth. She was voted "Rising star" in the 57th Annual Critics Poll (2009) of Downbeat Magazine in the Percussion Category.

Cynthia Alexander is a singer songwriter composer and multi-instrumentalist known for her prose poetry and alter tuned guitar with an ability to connect with her audience on a deeply personal level. She uses Philippine rhythms in a folk world format with a unique and fresh approach. Her award winning music has captured the imagination of formidable cult following in the contemporary Philippine indie music scene.

Malek Lopez is the keyboardist and Electronic musician behind the groups such as Drip and Rubber Inc. His collaborations with kindred artist such as Chris Brown and the Teichmman Brothers have bought Manila's underground electronica culture to venues of convergence in Berlin and Kuala Lumpur

Roberto Juan Rodruguez, from his heady days with Cachao and the Miami Sound Machine, is breaking ground afresh with his and Susie's fusion of electronica, ethnic music and jazz in Electric Kulintang, and with his own Afro-Cuban ensemble, Septeto Rodriguez. 

Abby Clutario is HUMANFOLK's newest principal member. She is also the longtime frontman composer of progressive rock group Fuseboxx.

Humanfolk has conceptualized as  world music project by Johnny Allegre. In 2008 , the New York based composer-percussionists Susie Ibarra and Roberto Rodriguez flew to the Philippines to make field recordings of indigenous music in Mindanao. While in Manila, the two meet met Alegre who introduced them to Alexander and Lopez. It was the concept of free expression that drew these formidable artist to the recording sessions. "We made a proposal to create music with the elements to folk," says Lopez. "Basically, we wanted to create something that we won't normally do."

Alegre brought five songs to the table, and the group embarked on a project f improvisation, modifying the songs and careening off into spectacular tangents. With musicians of such caliber spontaneity makes for a captivating suite of recorded compositions that appeals to an eclectic audience.

HUMANFOLK songs do not have title or lyrics; they are instead numbered and hummed. They were written as absolute music , says Alegre. That was part of the collaborative concept in keeping with Susie's classical and avant-grade persuasion. the numbers are movements of a suite, thus they are played in sequence. 

PARA SA TAO and BORN TALK were recorded "post Susie" and with Abby Clutario singing lead vocals. These songs, says Alegre are "Programme Music" wherein the titles are suggestive or the songs contain lyrics that impart meaning-through the lyrics PARA SA TAO are merely the letters of the Tagalog alphabet.

Humanfolk has performed in the 4th International Jazz and Music Festival, Jazz at the Ayala Museum, and collaborated with the Australian didgeredoo virtuoso, Willam Barton in celebration of Australia day.

I also asked them if they had a hard time fusing the pieces together since there could be a clash with the rhythm or the sound, but they said that you just have to have a good ear in listening to the sounds so that you can blend them together perfectly. They also have their music video and the clip available below. I highly recommend this world music for people who wants to dicover new music and also appreciate the sounds of different intruments since most of the songs don't have lyrics. And undoubtedly, with each member known for their craft and the love of music that binds them together,  they will create more amazing songs and hopefully collaborations in the future.

And now, here is there music video for the single PARA SA TAO.

Special thanks to MCA Universal Philippines, the distributor of HUMANFOLK's Album PARA SA TAO.

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