Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival 2016
For anyone who’s ever been, or for those who’ve never even set foot, there will always be an infinite number of reasons to go and keep coming back to the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival. Now on its 6th annual run, this one-of-a-kind festival in the mountains proves that the experience only gets better with each passing year. It has been my 3rd visit to the festival and I continue to stand in awe of the place’s beauty, music, art, and the unity of each and every human partaking in it. Truly, the Malasimbo Magic has not lost its touch.
Photos by Lance Cha
One of the many art installations that litter Malasimbo’s vast event grounds
A chill crowd early last Saturday, prepping for a long night of dancing
From the recently concluded Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival last March 4-6, we bring you the five moments that proved to be sheer magic during the 3-day event:
5. That moment when: Reese Lansangan performed an almost identical cover of Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek
It was a random Sunday night at Malasimbo when Reese Lansangan stepped on stage to perform her set. Her catchy, sing-along music was easy on the ears, and it was apparent that crowd enjoyed her music. Then she suddenly does something completely unexpected, and wows everyone with a beautiful, flawless, live rendition of Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek. Now I’m not fully aware of the technical difficulty involved in tinkering with loopers and getting auto tuned harmonics to work, but the end result produced by Reese’s solo vocals sounded so raw and yet so complex in its nature, that it legit gave me goosebumps. And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.
4. That moment when: Triple Fret Laid Three Pairs of Hands on One Guitar
This unassuming female guitar trio wowed a packed Saturday night crowd when they started their set off with a powerful acoustic version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and continued on with their cover of Eraserhead’s “Huling El Bimbo,” each verse delivered in a different classical guitar rendition. While both performances had the crowd singing along, it was when all three members got their hands playing on one guitar for an ultra-special solo that everyone literally stood up to take notice.
The Brigada effect
3. That moment when: Brigada Got Everyone on their Feet
Brigada is no stranger to the Malasimbo Festival circuit, and for a good reason; whenever they set foot on stage, a massive party abruptly ensues without fail. Their unique brand of lively Filipino percussion with discernible Brazilian influences packs a powerful punch; it is hard to hear their distinctive drum beats and not get on your feet to dance – which is exactly what everyone present did during their Friday night performance.
Boy wonder: Jacob Collier
2. That moment when: One-Man-Band Jacob Collier Blew Everyone’s Minds
I swear, Jacob Collier must not be human. While it is quite a feat to master a musical instrument, this 21-year old musician exponentiates this feat and plays ALL musical instruments, in part, then on loop, to put together an entire song right before our very eyes and ears. To see him buzzing around ringing bells, beating drums, then moving on to guitar, then piano, and all the while singing the vocals to his songs left me and the entire audience in awe, jaws to the floor, and applauding like crazy.
1. That moment when: Tom Thum, Gordon Hamilton and the Manila Symphony Orchestra Made Beat Boxing and Classical Music WORK
The Malasimbo Festival has been known to deliver an especially curated selection of musicians, hidden talents and unexpected musical collaborations with each event. This year’s leg was no different – in fact it has produced, in my opinion, one of the most interesting musical collaborations by far. They’ve merged the amazing talents of world-renowned beatbox artist Tom Thum, composer and conductor Gordon Hamilton, and the Manila Symphony Orchestra to put together a dynamic and remarkably fresh musical number that was complete and utter music to everyone’s ears. It was absolute #MalasimboMagic, and had to be witnessed with your own ears to fully appreciate it.
These weren’t the only moments of pure magic at the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival this year…
Jazz set Brat Pack wowed the crowd with their crazy-good piano numbers and powerful vocals
Local band The Reo Brothers (who hail all the way from Tacloban) performed amazing covers of The Beach Boys and The Beatles hits
Local DJ Ash came to spin some luxuriously chill mixes at the Mangyan Village, starting his set with a unique cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling”
Olivia D’Aboville’s giant dandelions are as sureal as ever
A gathering of *ehem* kindred spirits!
What I especially love about Malasimbo Festival is that it marches to the beat of its own drum – paying no mind to chart toppers, popular music or public opinion, it constantly pushes boundaries each year to deliver something unique and exciting to its audience. This, along with local artists that lend their talents to adorn the area with works of art, and the native Mangyan groups that breathe life and culture into the mountaintop, are what make Malasimbo the magical experience that it is.
It’s not too late to experience the #MalasimboMagic for yourself! You can still avail of tickets for the Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival happening on March 24 – 26, 2016. Get your tickets here: http://malasimbofestival.com/
“The festivals are a production of Volume Unit Entertainment, Inc. and the D’Aboville Foundation, supported by Ipanema and Rider; with the participation of Brew Kettle, H&M Loves Music, Coca-Cola; and the support of our official our official TV partners Solar Entertainment Corp., ETC, 2nd Avenue, Jack TV, Solar Sports, Basketball TV (BTV), and CT; official radio partner Wave 89.1; our official airline partner Air Juan; our official hotel partner Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila; and our official ticketing partner TicketWorld. Special thanks goes to Coleman, the Municipality of Puerto Galera and the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro, Z Hostel, and A-Space Philippines.
Our official media partners: Aktivshow, ANC, Explore Philippines, Meg, Megstreetwear.ph, Radio Republic, Travel Now, Travelbook.ph, 8list.ph, Amplify.ph, Archipelago.com.ph, Inflight Traveller, Juice.ph, Myx.ph, Our Awesome Planet, PhilippineConcerts.com, Stylebible.ph, theAsianParent.com, Third Culture, Travelife, WhenInManila.com, Yelp! Manila.”