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Portraits in Jazz: Ronald Tomas, homeland and music

Second of a series “I just want to play,” says Ronald Tomas, band leader, arranger, composer, singer, and saxophonist—arguably one of the busiest musicians today who cross over jazz, R&B/ funk/rock/soul, and pop jazz stages with enviable ease, the sort for whom music is air and water.  Ronald grew up in Pangasinan swaddled by music:...


Portraits in Jazz: Tots Tolentino in the cool of the moment

(First of a series) EDITOR’S NOTE: With this piece, Jocelyn de Jesus starts a series of portraits resulting from conversations with stellar Filipino jazz practitioners—“in full bloom in their 60s and 70s,” she says, and “changing the game one gig at a time.”     Mario “Tots” Tolentino’s household-name status in contemporary Philippine music is undisputed, having...


Artist researching: Experience curves in Taiwan and Cambodia

A man in his rormork (the traditional and bigger version of the tuk-tuk) hovered near us outside the public market early one rainy October morning. We carried heavy backpacks and he asked in English: Need a ride? We actually did. But we had been accustomed to using the PassApp to book these local taxis. With...


Always and ever: the Nora Aunor mystique

Does Adolf Alix Jr.’s “Kontrabida (The Villain)” winning a Netpac (Network in the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award for Best Asian Film) at the 6th HIFF (Hanoi International Film Festival) held in Vietnam early this month still merit attention? Of course. Not only is “Kontrabida,” the Philippines’ entry in the festival, directed by a prolific and...