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INTRAMUROS served as the perfect backdrop for a night of classic Filipino music presented by the Kasarinlan Ensemble last May 3 at the Pueblo Pilipino Clamshell Tent.

The walled city, with its bright lights and nostalgic ambience, sparkled with culture as soaring voices and orchestrations serenaded the crowd. Folk songs, zarzuela, and a few pop ditties by seasoned composers Ernani Cuenco, Santiago Suarez, Manuel Velez, Leon Ignacio, Fulgencio Tolentino, Louie Ocampo, Gary Granada and Felipe Padilla De Leon faithfully portrayed the Filipino spirit.

The 90-minute concert was conducted by Felipe M. De Leon, Jr., son of renowned composer and musician Felipe Padilla De Leon. It started with a medley of folk songs. Then came a spirited performance of folk love ballads from Ilocos, Cebu, and Iloilo, reminiscent of the classic Filipino “ligawan” scenes popularized by Tagalog romances of Sampaguita and LVN studios.

Popular novelty songs Tsuper ng Taxi and Tapis Mo Inday followed, giving a fun, picnic-by-the-ricefields mode to the performance. Familiar standards from recent times like Louie Ocampo’s Ewan and Ikaw and Gary Granada’s Salamat Musika, and a rollicking sequence of more classic native ballads from different regions followed.

The final number was a succession of Ernani Cuenco’s Kalesa, a playful homage to Filipino values, and the nationalistic Pilipinas.

Kasarinlan is a vocal and instrumental ensemble from the University of the Philippines. Established in 1985, it aims to cultivate and promote Philippine music and cultural identity.

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