Officials of Bacolod City, with the Silver MassKara Festival Organization (SMFO), launched Monday, September 25, the official music and logo of the 38th MassKara Festival themed “Bacolod: City of Southeast Asia.”
This year’s MassKara Festival will be held from October 1 to 22.
“Happy days are here again. We’re having this festival in the light of having just held what was probably the biggest and most successful MassKara ever,” Mayor Evelio Leonardia said in a press conference held at the lobby of the Bacolod Government Center (BGC).
He said in 2016, thousands of people joined the MassKara Festival celebration in various festival sites.
“The people in Bacolod had always looked forward to this and the MassKara Festival has become more than just a major tourism attraction. The MassKara Festival has its own charm and its own attraction,” he added.
Leonardia lauded the efforts of the people through the years who made MassKara Festival what it is today.
This year’s MassKara street dance music was composed, arranged and produced by Bacolod-born musical artist Roberto “Bob” Aves with co-producer Gerry Grey.
Aves said the MassKara music is a fusion of traditional, modern, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) culture.
“We tried to universalize our culture to create a global impact. It shows how Asean music can blend naturally with our traditional music. As a global piece, it can weave naturally with popular Western genres,” he said.
A graduate of Don Bosco Technical Institute in Victorias City, Aves finished college at the University of the Philippines College of Music, before he went on to study and complete his bachelor’s degree with major in Composition from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
He studied jazz orchestra under Herb Pomeroy and Phil Wilson. His jazz arrangements and compositions have been performed and recorded by the prestigious Berklee Concert Band and Phil Wilson’s Dues Band.
Aves said the MassKara 2017 music transforms traditional music for the global stage.
“The inter-cultural dialogue of our rich musical heritage, the inter-mixture of our Asean musical flavors, and the beat of electronic dance music define our MassKara cultural innovation,” he said.
Aves explained the music is divided into three parts. The introduction, Part 1, is an inter-cultural dialogue, a mix of ethnic sounds from the indigenous culture: Tongatong (bamboo instruments) of Kalingan, voice ad libs called “Tata” by Panay Bukidnon, Palawan bamboo and gong counter rhythm, Babandir gongs of Maguindanao, and big Taiko drum accents from Japan.
The main theme or the street dancing is Part 2 and features the evolution from tradition to global transformation with the use of electronic dance music style, vocal tracks by JoAnn Bernal, Jet Estefani, Tim de la Rama, and Christian Morales, and “Tata” from the Panay Bukidnon.
“I have to point out that the indigenous styles we incorporated into the piece are true, culturally correct pieces. It was not a shot in the dark. These are the real instruments that they use, the real music that they use, that’s what I applied,” Aves said.
He said the Part 3 is Asean integration featuring various Asean musical flavors, hip hop by Morales, Maguindanao Kulintang excerpts, and Negros Afro-Cuban beats. Part 4 is a recap of the main theme for street dancing.
The MassKara Festival logo was done by Mark Lester Jarmin, an international caliber digital artist who does character logos and illustrations for foreigners.
Jarmin specializes in character mascot design, cartoon logo identities, and web and print illustration. His creations have been published by dozens of websites and international companies.
He said the logo has an Asean flavor, and reflects the colorful lifestyle and culture of Bacolod.
“I feel so honored and happy to be ticking this off my bucket list. I’m so thankful to my fellow artists and to everyone who gave me the opportunity to share my talent, and contribute to the MassKara Festival,” Jarmin added.
Jarmin, who hails from Barangay Banago in Bacolod City, is no stranger to MassKara. He literally grew up watching the street dance competitions every year. As a student, he used to pass through the public plaza and watch MassKara festivities.
Festival director Eli Francis Tajanlangit said for the first time in 38 years, the MassKara Festival is deploying a character logo.
The logo is expected to eventually evolve into something the city can use even beyond the MassKara.
He said the festival sites will be the public plaza, tourism strip at Lacson Street, and the BGC grounds while the SM City and the BGC football field will also host the carnival sites.
Tajanlangit said the opening program of the MassKara Festival will be held at the Old City Hall towards the Diamond Jubilee Memorial Tower along Gonzaga-Araneta streets.
Superintendent Levy Pangue, head of Bacolod City Police Office Intelligence Unit, said policemen will be deployed to various areas with an augmentation from Police Regional Office-Western Visayas.
He said they tapped the force multipliers from different villages to maintain the peace and order within their areas of jurisdiction.