Reflections

 

p1040828This page is intended for the personal side of Bulan. Here you can post your personal thoughts about something, about a  friend, about your passion for the arts or science, about your hobby without getting involved in politics. Yes, pleasant things that could connect people from Bulan or from any place in Bicol with one another.

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PIO Bulan

January 4, 2010 at 3:24 am · Edit Note from the Public Information Officer:

This message was delivered by the Honorable Mayor Helen C. De Castro during the the New Year’s Eve Mass on December 31, 2009. The Mayor delivers a traditional message during this Holy Mass which the LGU sponsors. The Bulan officials, Vice-mayor and the Municipal Councilors, in a show of solidarity, stand behind the mayor as she delivers the message at the podium of the altar This tradition was started by then Mayor Guiming de Castro in 1996. It is during this time that thousands of Catholic Bulanenos from all walks of life attend the Mass.

NEW YEAR 2010 MESSAGE

By: Mayor Helen C. De Castro

Sa ato Kura Paroko, Reverendo Father Ernie Mendina,

Sa ato mga Ginagalangan na Kapadean,

Sa iyo tabi Entero na huyaa niyan sa Misa na ini,

Sa mga Pinapadaba ko na mga Kabubungto:

Sa kada pagtindog ko didi sa altar, nan sa kada paghatod ko san tradisyunal na New Year’s message para sa bungto ta bilang ina nan mayor san Bulan, dire ko tabi inlilimutan an sinabi ni Saint Therese of Lisieux, na ngaya, “ Everything is Grace, Everything is Gift!”. Sabi ni Santa Teresita, an entero na bagay biyaya, an entero na bagay regalo.

Kun an entero na bagay sa kinab-an nan sa buhay ta biyaya nan regalo hale sa mahal na Dios, kun sugad, wara tabi kita sin puwede akoon sa sadire ta, wara kita sin puwede ikahambog. Inpadumdum baga tabi kita ni St. Paul, na ngaya, “Without God, we are nothing”; Kun wara an Dios wara man kita.

Kun an entero na bagay sa kinab-an nan sa buhay ta biyaya nan regalo, an pinakamagayon man na puwede i-uli ta sa Kaglalang mao an pagpakumbaba, pagpasalamat nan pag-ataman san regalo na hatag Niya.

Sini na nakaagi na taon 2009, daghanun na eksperiensya an saato inagihan, sa personal man nato na mga buhay,o sa ato komunidad. Daghanun an mamundo na karanasan an nagtanyog sa ato mga dughan nan pagkatawo, pareho baga didi sa bungto ta, san Mayo, naranasan nato an sayo sa pinakahararum na baha na dara san Bagyong Dante. Nungka sa kasaysayan san henerasyun ta sa Bulan, may baha na irog sadto kahararum. Nan ini na pagka-ambush san mga Pulis ta sa Calomagon. Hadok nan kamunduan an dara sa kada sayo sa ato. Nan sa taon na ini, pinangaratan kita san destroso nira Bagyong Ondoy nan Pepeng didto sa Metro Manila nan Luzon. Nan ini na nakaagi na Nobyembre, sa Maguindanao, an makangengerhat na pagMasaker sin mga inosente na sibilyan.

Daghanun pa an mga pangyayari nan mga balita na nagpigri sa puso ta sa kamunduan o kaya nagpalukso sa ato sa kaogmahan. Sa entero na mga pangyayari na ini, dara man san kalikasan o himo-himo sin tawo, kisyera may leksiyon na dara sa kada sayo sa ato, o kaya sa komunidad ta, na dapat nato maging basehan sa padagus na pag-unhan sa ato mga pagkatawo nan sa pagpromotir sa dignidad san kapuwa nato. I think we should always realize that Our God is a God of History and Experience, who out of our nothingness and weaknesses, teaches us, and molds us, as He leads and guides us to goodness.

Daghanun an tiyempo na nakabati kita sin ngaya, “Wara na kirita Pag-asa”, na ngaya, “Wara na kirita mayad na Pakadtuan”, o kaya, ngaya, “Lubong na kirita sa Kamutangan na ini”o kaya “Malomlomon daw an Puturo ta”. Pero, sa paniwala nan isip ko man tabi, na an importantehon na aspeto san Paglaom mao an Pagtubod. An nakapasarig sa Paglaom mao an Pagtubod ta, Pagtubod sa Mahal na Dios nan Pagtubod sa kakayahan ta . Our Faith strengthens our Hope. Mao ini na mga birtud sin Pagtubod nan Paglaom an nagbabangon sa ato entero sa panahon sin mga kalamidad nan kaluyahan. Calamities and disasters bring the worst in us, but they, more than anything else, also bring out the best in us, our kindness, our charity, our compassion, our love. It is because THAT is who we are, THAT is why and how we are made by God. Faith, Hope and Love are the reasons for our existence. But we should not simply exist – we must live. Nan sa mga tawo na naiimod ta na maluya, tikapo, nawawaraan sin paglaom dahil sa malaen na situasyun sa buhay, mao yuon an rason kun nano kay an kadaghanan na tawo biniyayaan sin baskog, kusog, nan kakayahan magdanun. Therefore, we can preach Peace in the midst of Violence; we can work and show our Love and Charity in the midst of poverty and hopelessness, we can teach Goodness in the midst of Ignorance. And we can do MUCH in spite of our Nothingness.

Sini na nakaagi na taon, daghanun an puwede ta ipasalamat sa Mahal na Dios. An buhay ta, an Pamilya ta, an Komunidad ta, an Kada Sayo sa ato.

Nan didi sa Komunidad ta, kadaghan sin mga tawo nan mga grupo an dire nagsasawa maghimo sin kaayadan para sa kapuwa. San panahun sin pagbaha, huyoon an mga Volunteers nato nan mga organisasyun na nag-rescue sin mga bata nan mga gurang, nan nagdanun sa Evacuation and Relief efforts, pareho baga san Rescue Team, Uswag-Bulan, BEAT, BANWA, Kabalikat, Bulan Lions Club, Fil-Chinese Fire Brigade, TOFY, nan AKRHO. Sa pagsalbar san Kapalibutan ta, sa kada pagpurot basura, paglimpiya san baybayon o kada pagtanum kahoy nakasikop kita sa mga Kabatan-an ta sin Pag-asa nan Pagkamoot, pareho san grupo san Sagip-Dagat Volunteers, Earth Greeners, Yes-O, nan daghanun pa na mga organisasyun, nan sa kada estudyante, maestro, maestra, Boy Scout, Girls Scout , kada magurang na yadto sa Pista sa Kabubudlan.

Didi sa Bulan, we have everything to thank for. Sa kada Opisyal san Gobierno lokal o san kada barangay, kada empleyado, kada pulis, kada teacher, kada driver, baggage boy, paraoma, paraisda; kada senior citizen, kada magurang nan pamilya nan bata, sa kada ciudadano – na may bulawan, mayad, malinig na puso nan boot. Despite the evil things and bad experiences of the past year, we have everything good to thank God for, because we have a lot of good people around us.

Sa pagtuntong san Bag-ong Taon 2010, malakaw nan matan-aw kita sa puturo na nasa puso nato an masarig na Pagtubod nan Paglaom. Ini dahil sa Mahal na Dios nan kada sayo sa ato na hinatagan suon na pambihira na Kalayaan o Freedom to do what is right and good.

Ini na presente na panahon nato niyan, nan an maabot na mga adlaw nan taon, kisyera maging sayo na Kairos, o panahon sin pambihira na engkuentro san Mahal na Dios nan Tawo. Let 2010 be a Kairos, a supreme moment of encounter between us and our God. Let it be a Kairos, o momento na kun haen an mga krises sa buhay ta maging panahon sin oportunidad. Let this year be a Kairos of Grace.

May aayuon gihapon ako na duwang bagay sa iyo entero na mga taga-Bulan.

Una, kami na mga lideres niyo, nagpapakumbaba tabi, nag-aayo sa iyo sin tawad, pagpasensiya, dispensa sa mga kakulangan mi, sa mga kasal-anan mi, sa mga kaluyahan mi bilang mga magurang san komunidad ta. Dire kami irog sini kun dire dahil sa iyo. Kaya, inpapanibag-o mi sa oras na ini, sa hampang san mahal na Altar, an sa amo commitment nan dedikasyun sa mga misyon na inpapapas-an niyo sa amo para sa komunidad ta.

Ikaduwa, inaayo mi tabi an saiyo mga pangadyion na kami na mga lideres niyo, ialabar po niyo sa Mahal na Dios nan sa Mahal na Inang Maria na hatagan kami sin Pagkapusuanon nan Korahe (courage) pareho ni Haring David, Kadunungan o wisdom pareho kan Solomon, Kahigosan pareho ni Senyor San Jose, nan an Kapakumbabaan pareho san Mahal na Inang Maria. Magiging sarig namo an pangadyi niyo. Please pray that we shall be servant-leaders instead of being masters. Pray for us that we become philosopher-governors instead of being rulers. Help us pray that we leaders must realize that we are nothing, and that from God emanates everything, especially this gift of leadership.

Sa iyo po entero, Merry Christmas and a Grace-filled New Year 2010. Salamat. Dios Mabalos!

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Remembering My Father, Andres Asuncion, Sr.

The Primordial Pain

The demise of our father last November 3, 2005 was certainly a big blow to all of us. Now three years after, we all seem to have accepted the reality of our beloved father no longer physically with us. There are moments though when I am caught unaware and seem not to realize this fact. Then I feel instantly transported back to these moments of grief last November. It is surely not easy to lose a father and I think I will never get over it.

There are absolute privileges that you get only once in your life time and that if you lose them you can not replace them. A father is one of these privileges. The pain that you experience tells you how much you love somebody who has been taken away from you. There is nothing on earth can equal that pain. There are no words to describe it. You can only try to express it in some other ways except in words. And you can not describe it in real-time with words. For it is an experience beyond our language. It is a primordial event and that is why it is just purely pain that comes out of our innermost being. It’s like when a newly born cries responding to a sensed change and discomfort , and yet it’s more than that for a newly born is not weeping, – you are weeping.

I don’t know how my mother and my brothers and sisters deal with such moment of despair and pain. We all experienced our father differently, we all have a different image of him that each of us has carried throughout those years. But there is one thing in common that I am sure of, and that is, that we all love him. The way that each of us remember him in his/her own way that sums up the whole image of our father. I am not referring only to the images arising from incidental experience of him as other people had of him but this exclusive experience of inner connectedness to him as his children. This blood connection that goes all the way to the spiritual sphere of our existence.

I have been deprived of my father physically, for instance, for many years. But not a day in  had passed that I did not think of him. If not in dreams then just in my waking hour are these flashings of his images in my mind and his voice was and is just there; vivid scenes of my childhood days with him in Ilawod and Canipaan, in Manila and here in Zürich when he came with Mama. In all those years of being away from him there was always this desire in me to have a coffee with him and talk with him about the world, yes, just about anything else. With my father I had always enjoyed sharing thoughts or just sitting together in silence. I felt this freedom, this feeling of fullness as a human being whenever I was with him.

Smoke gets in your eyes

I was about to go to work when I got a call from my sister Menchu bringing me the sad news. My world literally fell apart, just like the rest of us. As I look back to this moment, I wonder how I could have reacted if I did not know how to use these six strings and a piece of wood that has always accompanied my life ever since. That evening I just bended the strings as high as I could to express what I could not with words. My father played piano not a guitar but he did love its sound. I particularly remember that moment when he was humming the song Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, saying this was one of his favorite tunes. In the meantime I have finally arranged this tune for solo guitar after a long time of wishing to be able to do it. I dedicate this song to my father and when I play it, it’s solely for him for when he left smoke really got in my eyes.

A man of Peace

A man of peace that he was and very dignified in his ways, his presence was always a source of joy to those who love him and perhaps an irritation to those who believe in approaching things and issues the more aggressive way.Yes, he remained true to himself to the very last moment of his existence. That’s the measure of being a man. His quiet countenance radiated an inner strength that came from deep insights and wisdom about life and situations. His courage was never an issue of alcohol content in the blood (he never drunk) , but in his refined ways of dealing with things due to his education and his unending patience, sharp intellect, broad knowledge and humility.

Pa and the japanese officer

My father experienced the cruelty of the Japanese invasion in 1945. He was then a young man of 25. He related his stories for the last time last August 2006 to me and my sons Cyril and Samuel, and I feel really privileged to have experienced this. This answered the question I’ve been carrying at the back of my mind for many years, a question that I always failed to ask him whenever I was with him: Why did you not take up your arms and fight side by side with your brother Agosto Asuncion, who at that time was the head of the Lapuz Guerilla movement in Bulan. His recounting of his war story last August finally revealed the answer to me.  He said, his brother Agosto advised him not to shoot but rather to take charge of the logistics. Papa had a very sharp memory and he could remember the details he experienced at that time, names of people and places, to the astonishment of my boys. I noticed his fair judgements of people and events involved. So Papa knew his own role in this war right at the outset. People like me would have instantly joined the front line at that time. But in the long run, justice and history is at the side of the wise and peace-loving people. One should know that Pa came from a different tradition, from a tradition of love and compassion to all God’s creation. He came out right from a theological seminary in Paco, Manila when the war broke out.

The Japanese bombed Manila and that seminary where he was one of the three candidates for ordination. They had to separate ways and Pa went home to Bulan to his family, where his father Adonis Asuncion was  the town mayor. He walked from Manila to Bulan, Sorsogon for around three weeks and survived the hazards in the streets, especially that critical moment when from under the tree trunk suddenly came out a handful of  Japanese soldiers, stopped him, asked questions and inspected his backpack. “I remained quiet, and the officer caught an eye at the shaving blade (Labaha) I had  and took it in his hands…(now the officer could have just swung this blade to his neck, if he wanted to.) He seemed to be interested in it so I just nodded my head and they let me go!”  Wow, Papa would have flown like a bird if he could at this moment. Kidding aside, I thank this officer so much for letting my father go and, in retrospect, I respect this Japanese officer for his intuition. He must have felt that Pa was not an enemy. And, indeed, Pa did not kill a single Japanese soldier! Now the thing is, if you are proud that your father killed hundreds of  Japanese soldiers at that time, I support that for it was wartime, and your father was destined to kill. That my father came out alive without harming anybody’s life, I’m certainly proud of this; he was simply not destined to kill. He was true to his convictions and fate was true to him whole life long. That unknown gentle Japanese officer was right.

The Family Man

I can imagine Pa in his prime: neatly dressed with hair soaked in pomade, misplacing probably his eyeglasses but never his smile. Beside him my mother, excited, and around them the eight of us.The flash went off and here is the picture on my table in front of me, taken about 40 years ago. I treasure this only family picture where we are complete. Those were memories to keep and live by, when my world was young and innocent in the true sense of the word. The family was my ground and I felt safe and fear was foreign to me. I was just happy being embedded in the family and that was everything that mattered most, not the hardships or the lack of other things. A boy who is happy has everything he needs to master the challenges and hardships that are normal concomitants to life. Deprived of this, you can not expect a better course of life.

So I thank you Pa and Ma for laying down a solid foundation which was a mixture of fine ingredients, – of love, trust and compassion, coupled with patience and loyalty. This was how I perceived my parents and understand their role even up to now. How the rest of us had experienced my parents in our growing years, only they can tell. Throughout those years, there was one trait of my father that impressed me most, and that was his unassuming character. I’d never experienced him boasting around about anything. In fact there was always this permanent aura of understatement accompanying him throughout his life. Simple in his ways and in his daily needs, he would always put you first before him, giving you space and making you feel comfortable in the modest means available. He did not desire for more. For an opportunistic in character, a chance to attempt a coup’d’etat, for a sensitive in spirit a feeling of meeting with a teacher.

Unassuming and scarce in words that he was, the most profound insights and comments that I heard in life came from him. Being modest in his ways and putting others first, he showed them how to respect themselves. No wonder why he got respected in return by people around him. This was my first lesson about authority, not a coerced one nor based on a false assumption of something but a natural process of growth from within that manifests itself as a result quite naturally in your essence . So harmless that he was before you, you got no choice but to respect him and show the best in you. This was exactly this respect that we learned from him that kept us together in our long journey as a family.

The Hanging Bridge of Magsaysay

With my father, I learned to cross a hanging bridge for the first time in my life in the barrio of Magsaysay where he used to teach. For Papa that was a daily routine, for me an adventure and a source of anxiety. I nearly got sick when I looked down for it was deep and the river beneath was wild and the bridge swinging to its sides, step was not stable and there were holes on the floor. I was then 9 or 10. Pa did not say anything at that moment that I could remember. He just looked at me, stepped on it and I followed him. It was an incredible act of balancing and I became dizzy. I was alarmed, gathered myself together to make it to the other end. He was already at the other end and was watching me, smiling. Reaching the end a feeling of relief and I felt proud as I looked back at the now empty hanging bridge that was still undulating like a long snake. My tension was transformed instantly to fascination when I saw the wonderful garden all around the school buildings and the school children also about my age. Flowers of all kinds. I especially remember the red roses.

Barrio Magsaysay, a world so beautiful abounding with floras and faunas and friendly people. A piece of paradise, just nature as she is. Looking back now, I just realized that Papa spent almost his entire teaching career in places like Magsaysay. I knew that he was also assigned in Sta. Remedios and in other remote places I don’t even know the names anymore. Those years had cultivated in my father the love for simple people, for farmers and nature. I went back to Magsaysay a few times with Papa, most of the times carrying ballot boxes hanged on my shoulders. During election day the teachers were busy and so was Pa. I was always with him to carry those boxes. Crossing the hanging bridge became an enjoyable experience then. I began to love it and in fact now it keeps me wondering if it still exists. That was many years ago but the memories remain. That hanging bridge connected me to my father ever more. I wish to visit that bridge someday for on that bridge were those nice moments left hanging in time.

A Schoolbag with guavas and sometimes a bird

As a young child it was always a highlight in my life when the day was about to close for then my father would arrive from school. I used to wait for him in the street in front of our house while I played with other children. Then I would run to him the moment I recognized his silhouette at the horizon moving in front of the setting sun that was about to disappear behind the China sea. I would literally dive into his bag to find out what was in there. I remember well the smell of guava fruits of his bag. Indeed, he always brought home fruits of all kinds everyday but it was always the smell of a guava that dominated inside his bag, even without guavas in there. And I loved that smell always. But it was not the guava fruit that I was excited to find, rather it was a bird or two! Pa used to bring home birds he received along the way from his pupils in Magsaysay and he would just put the cage in his schoolbag together with his pens and notebooks. At that time I came to know the most lovely local birds in Bulan through Papa. One time I discovered in that bag a Kingfisher and it was the joy of my childhood to have such a noble bird as a house pet for sometime. I thank my father now for all those nice little surprises every afternoon.

Dinner for the mind by candlelight

Everyday after dinner the same routine: Help wash the dishes and restore order on the table for then comes the next dinner,- the dinner for the mind by candlelight. I would empty my schoolbag on the table and I would begin to work on my homework while Pa on his lesson plan. This went on during my entire elementary years. I also remember my sister Malou being on this scene. I did my homework religiously at that time. But one evening I was so tired that I think I just left my notebooks open on the table, leaving my homework haf-done only as I scrambled for bed. I was then in grade three.

The next morning at school my teacher, Miss Chavenia, ordered us to open the assignments for checking. So, as usual, she went from one desk to another scanning with her sharp eyes every pupil’s work and with a look which tells you “with me you can’t bargain”, or  “you better run for your life”. I was nervous then for I was not sure if my work was finished or not, for I never bothered at all to check my things before going to school. So you can imagine how I’d wished to disappear, to be invisible before she could come to my desk. As I opened my notebook, my eyes nearly fell out on the floor out of disbelief that my homework was done! I instantly remembered Pa and marveled if he finished my homework when I deserted the war zone and went already half-sleeping to bed. Until now this remains a mystery to me and, as usual, I never came to the point of asking Pa about it. In any case I was spared from standing still for an hour in a schoolroom’s corner, a punishment for lazy pupils in my time. Thank you Pa for saving my life –  and for all those dinners for the mind by candlelight!

Here’s the song Fields Of Gold.

jun asuncion

………………………..

 

Music connects people

Jazz as an example of multi-cultural thinking

by jun asuncion

Let me say at this point that we love classical music. That’s the foundation. This interest is reinforced and being kept alive due to this City’s rich cultural Life. Just think of the Tonhalle, Kongresshaus and the  Opernhaus. Here we have witnessed the finest classical concerts, seen and heard very fine Artists. Our acquaintance with the Teuscher family (see teuscher.com) has also opened up for us more possibilities in experiencing the classical world. Mr. Dolf Teuscher loves classical music and supports generously these Classical Houses as well us young artists.

In as much us we love the classical genre we also love good traditional folk music of the world like Filipino Folksongs,Spanish Flamenco and of course the whole spectrum of black music, especially jazz and the blues. We also possess a rich collection of Christian music since we used to play in a church band for some time.

I cannot write about music experience without mentioning my fascination of flamenco in the nineties. Flamenco was my blues, so to speak, at that time.The three elements of Baile (Dance),Cante (Song) and the Toque (guitar play) represented for me a world of pathos that is unequaled, eine Einheit (a oneness) of pure beauty and tradition so cohesively strong that it’s impossible to break it than to break the Spanish republic itself. It is not only an art, but a world that lives not only on stage but is very much alive in this mediterranean country especially in the regions of  Andalusia, Malaga, Cordoba and Cadiz.

To visit a flamenco concert is to witness emotion and passion in action.You will feel the Sangre the moment the guitarist takes his position and strikes the first chord of that phrygian progression, when the cajun starts to beat, when the singer cries out the initial melody and, finally, when the dancer begins to tap the floor with her shoes and stretch out her arms gracefully in the air at the same time arching her body with such a pride and slowly moves to the front to declare herself. And then to push it all, come the rhythmic clappings with such dynamism and elan vital. Right between your very eyes begins to unfold the spirit of Flamenco, always a tour de force performance that will blow all your blues away whether you like it or not.

There is a flamenco argument that will force out the Duende in you the moment you’ll be in such a performance: Paco De Lucia, he is the ultimate flamenco guitarist (listen to him play), the absolute statement of Flamenco music. I will not dare to describe him more for I will be doing injustice. I can only add that when I saw him twice performing live my soul was nearly extracted out of my body, twice! See for yourself in youtube some of the uploaded clips of his performances and describe to me his music if you have the courage enough. I only have the courage to refer to you his recordings of Rodrigo’s Concierto De Aranzues, the music of Manuel De Falla and the Doce Canciones De Garcia Lorca. If you want more, then check for yourself his whole Discography on the net.


But my “working” music is jazz. Jazz is a pefect medium to relate with others and a tool to create music. For me, it’s really  the best example of multicultural thinking for you have to be open and sensitive to other elements that come your way. When I was in Manila two years ago, I enjoyed the music I was getting in the streets. I don’t mean the loud music from the jeepney or taxi stereos but their very own rhythmical hornings. I got a lot of musical ideas listening to them and would memorize the best. Once at home I would play it on the instrument, embellish it with some chords and there it is, a new piece of music! I did that several times and ended up with some new pieces.

 In the meantime these pieces are all gone for I never recorded them anyway. The way that I got them easy and free from the air, they vanished also quickly into thin air. This is what I mean by Jazz as my working music, it’s a tool I employ to put shape to my perceptions in my daily life, keep it and then maybe forget it next. I don’t think jazz musicians are fond of recording. For the purpose of selling their music they record cds. But for themselves alone, they don’t even listen to them. It’s a working music in the sense that it’s the music that runs almost 24 hours a day when I’m at home. So you see jazz people do listen to jazz, but mainly to other people’s work. Here I always listen to radioswissjazz. Back to Manila traffic, the jeepney, taxi and bus drivers never realize that with their impatience and aggressions they are unwillingly composing music!


So, for some of you, enjoy listening to jazz music in the streets of Manila once you get yourself stucked in a traffic, and let the jeepney driver keep the change for his music. If you live abroad  you would miss your rides in Manila. You wouldn’t hear such creative sounds here in Zürich, except for the disturbing sound of a neighbor complaining about the noise of the children playing on the streets. That’s why this city is not a place for jazz music. It’s just too quiet so don’t expect jazz to spring out of a place like this. Have you been in New York? It’s like Manila! It’s oozing with music.

 However, I confess that Switzerland is home to some famous Jazz Festivals on Earth (and also has produced some excellent jazz musicians). Think about the annual Montreaux Jazz Festival in this scenic alpine town of Montreaux, Jazznojazz and the Lugano Jazz Festival.They were and are frequented by famous jazz musicians. So this land is good for such festivals and concerts because people can pay. But it’s far from being a breeding ground for jazz music. It’s not in the nature of this alpine population. Jazz was born out of jam sessions among neighbors and here you can forget about this.This alpine population does not possess this natural rhythm that’s at the root of jazz and this sense of flirting with the unknown, sometimes with chaos, that one has to totaly depend on his improvisational skills to come out alive-or not alive-,who cares?, out of the situation. No, this is not for them for they are used to having a clear plan of order for everything. Jazz makes them nervous, it’s too irresponsible music, it’s too individual, politically incorrect. Classical music is closer to them, for before playing they know already in advance the first and the last note of the piece.


Talking about jazz, in particular guitar jazz, I advise you to check out guitarists like Pat Martino, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, John Abercrombie and John Mclaughlin. They are fine musicians. My advice: Should you be expecting a baby boy soon, consider naming him also Pat or John for it seems that the Pats and the Johns are destined to be excellent jazz guitarists! I’ve seen Pat Metheny two years ago during his THE WAY UP Tour. It was a revelation! The sound was typical Metheny and Lyle Mays’s chemistry:harmonically dense and complex, spiced up with soaring and, at times, haunting sounds from Metheny’s strings, the whole sound structure being hold together intact by the rest of the band, each one being a master in his own right. And when Antonio Sanchez is sitting on the drums then your evening is a double treat.

Nevertheless, there is a  name I always go back to in order to put things in their proper places again when it comes to jazz guitar and that is George Benson. I’ve seen him twice and both concerts were a blast. After these concert nights I think everybody went home healed! I happened to talk to Pepe Lienhard, himself a respected swiss musician and bandleader, about this concert and he said “I think he is still the best jazz guitarist around”. Apart from his virtousity, he just sounds fresh and dynamic all the time and his lines are smooth, full of body and soul, rippling, bopping and bluesy, his guitar tone always full and round. He is a jazz guitarist par excellence. He plays just like he is in person, humble and no intellectual, esoteric or whatever kind of claims. He just play music that sounds good and is there to make his listeners happy.The singer George Benson? Oh, it’s a special  category in itself. See and listen to his playing in youtube.comor visit georgebenson.com  and discover more.

During the early nineties’ I learned jazz guitar from a greek jazz guitarist Theo Kapilidis at the Academy Of Contemporary Music, a great guitar player and a very good teacher. Learning jazz guitar is no easy task. In fact, I’m still a beginner in many ways. From him I’ve learned the techniques of constructing chord melody solos of jazz standards and those lovely jazz chords. Theo, thanks again for your time and teachings!

There is a famous jazz guitarist who came one day to give a workshop that I fortunately attended. He is Joe Diorio. Small in stature yet big in sound, indeed, a jazz guitar monster. From him I learned the importance of focus and sensitivity to the small details of techniques that could lead one to discovering his own sound and personal approach to jazz guitar playing. Visit him in youtube and listen to the way he plays jazz blues.You will learn a lot.

Well, talking about the blues is always like talking about one’s family: it leads you to tradition all the way back to your ancestors more often than not.  In the blues family you’ll ultimately end up to Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Johnny Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray and Eric Clapton to name just a few. One knows that blues is the foundation of modern music including jazz. It is really, no doubt about that. The blues as a song form is simple,- 8 or 12 bars, your choice, and three chords to work with. Easy, yet it could lead you to heaven or hell, again, your choice.These same three chords had led to the killing of Robert Johnson in his time, to wealth and celebrity of Eric Clapton or the Rolling Stones in our time. Well, who got the authentic blues now?

Bored to death with just three chords? Then it’s time you consult Roben Ford. He knows the way out. He is at home in both worlds, the jazz and the blues and he sounds really good. It’s like when you are busy working on something while the blues special is running on the radio. Nothing special really for everything you hear is blues, you know, all these familiar riffs. But then you suddenly, quite unconsciously, turn your head to the radio because of a different guitar blues now being played.This could only be Roben Ford on the guitar. A virtouso in many ways but it’s the elegance and harmonic sophistication in his playing that separates him from the rest. I was blessed when he came to our jazz school in the early 90’s- The Academy Of Contemporary Music- to give a concert in that small club where we- the class or the band- also used to play, especially during practical examinations. And there he was, just five meters away from my seat, strumming my blues with his fingers! Well, there was nothing left to be said after his playing, I got nothing, nothing but the blues.


10 responses to “Reflections

  1. Claudia Aenishanslin

    Hey June! Thanks for sharing your world! I will check out some of your tips! Claudia

  2. junasun

    Hi Claudia!

    What a pleasant surprise from a dear family friend!
    I’m glad that you’ve discovered Bulan Observer. Now you know where I “live”. Feel free-as before- to come in and share something with us. It’s been a long time…

    jun

  3. Claudia A.

    Hello June! Wow! I am at work and just read your reply! I will share your site with the many nurses from your country who work on the ICU at Toronto East General in Toronto! Claudia

  4. junasun

    Hello Claudia,
    Oh, yes, just share it with your co-workers from the Philippines. I hope a few of them come actually from Bulan or from the Bicol region so that they will understand the Mayor’s year-end report 2008 which is written fully in our Bulan dialect.
    I hope things are going well with you and your family.
    Until next time!
    jun

  5. Anonymous

    es läuft, mein freund, es läuft
    :-)))
    onkel tom

  6. Sehr gut! Und jetzt geniess die Freiheit. Auf bald!

  7. Roberto Fernandez

    hi jun,
    are you related to the former ching vergara of canipaan

    robert

    • Hi Robert,

      Yes, we are first cousins and she’s one of my dearly respected, a teacher of high intelligence. I met her last May.

      Thanks and hope to hear from you more.

      jun asuncion

  8. Boy M.

    Dear Jun,

    such nice words and pleasant memories of your father are a fitting pendant to Father’s Day last Sunday. Just discovered your blog site and admire your rootedness to Bulan. I come from Zamboanga del Norte, could almost feel my hometown, too, reading your piece. Ciao, may CH advance in the WM.

    Boy

    • Thank you for your visit Boy M. of Zamboanga.

      Yes, today the whole CH fevers and it would be nice to win, of course! After that lost game against Chile, I think they can’t afford to underestimate Honduras this afternoon. How about Germany’s chances?
      That was a good match against Ghana! Sehr spanned! Es geht weiter für Deutschland!

      Thanks for the comment on Reflections. It inspired me to write down my thoughts about fathers or about the masculine principle in general. I’ll get back to you.
      Thanks and Ciao!

      jun asuncion

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