CEBU, Philippines - Cebu, which stands among quality guitar producers worldwide, is an apt venue for the celebration of the popular musical string instrument—the Cebu Guitar Festival. This is a showcase of homegrown guitar masters and bassists’ creative display of musical passion and outstanding collaborations, across a range of genres, rhythmic styles and trends.
The Cebu Guitar Festival concept sprung from the idea of guitarist Arnold “Anot” Ang of then 80s new wave and alternative rock group 40 The Band (now renamed as Cuarenta), to primarily gather Cebuano players and inspire collaboration among them. He later shared this initiative with fellow guitar enthusiasts and The Outpost management, hence the inception of the first multi-genre guitar fest in 2007. For this year, the three-day Guitar Festival will run from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27 at The Outpost in Nivel Hills, Lahug. It will also serve as a celebration of the birthday (Nov. 27) of the late Jimi Hendrix, touted as one of the most influential and greatest electric guitarists of all time.
The Cebu Guitar Festival has gone bigger—in performers and audience—through the years. Although this annual event gives prominence to local talents, in the past years, the Dream Happy Productions, the organizing group, has invited guitar heroes outside Cebu such as Sammy Asuncion of Pinikpikan (tribal/world music), Bruce Conte of the Tower of Power (a funk rock touring band from the US), Nilo Aurillo of the folk rock band Asin.
On its fourth year, Dream Happy Productions is gearing up for another extensive showcase. Wally Gonzales of Juan dela Cruz band will fly in from the capital to play on Saturday; Noli Aurillo of Asian is up for his second appearance in a one-hour performance on Thursday; and also performing on Thursday is blues guitarist and harp player Ed Russakoff from San Francisco, USA.
Acoustic, jazz fusion, flamenco and classical guitar numbers by homegrown artists will roll on Thursday courtesy of Joel Oporto, Prudence Salutillo, Paul Caca (ukulele), Jad Bantug, Scott Lequido, Rio Dumdum, Tito Quijano, Ryan Quijano, Erbert Quijano, Ruben Flores, Dante Castillo, John Walden, Joric Maglanque, Jonathan Tejano, Junx Muana and Noli Aurillo. Performances start at 7PM until 12 midnight.
Friday is new school (experimental) wave with performances from Lito Fajardo, Kimrock Jo, Romel Santiago, Danny Mumar, Sam Codilla, Lloyd Escario, Mamai Cinco, Tyke Elizaga, Doobie Elizaga, Cattski Espina, Mary Ruth Baracao, Alphecca Pistachio, Arciemon, Tracy Teves, JP Arellano, Matyu Sanson, Paul Aguilar, Mokie Taga, Jimik Sacro, Jam Quijano, Gavin Aninon, Manny Amador and Jon Vistal. The Line Divides will also collaborate with March the Sky. Event starts at 7PM until 1AM.
The finale is a mix of rock, blues, classic and progressive rock performances from Chris Amores, Dominic Moncada, rm 202 guitar players, Makuz Cortez, Carlo Villarica, Janry Aliganga, Gaz Perez, Joshua Lee T. Muñoz, Nathaniel M. Gajudo, Emerson Dungog, Richie Amoin, JP Manansala, Ted Garcia, Dondon Luche, Lorenz Ostrea, Joy Dindin, Stuart Abella, Josh Penalosa, Jaan Quijano, Barry Visoc, Czedric Fernandez, Jay Young, Jeremie Lim, Johnus Verdida, Wesley Chiongbian, Garret Pesodas, Jeremy Custodio, Teban Go, Fern Villaflor, Reinar Bongancisco, Jud Sala, Ritzi Ariba, Heinrich Lesama, Emi Cabigas,Timmy Blanco, Alvin Gindoy, Vonay Sanchez, Ryan Yap, Henry Tradio, Arnold Ang, Randy Pages, Brian Estillore, Franklin Veloso, Archie Uy, Pauldo Canada, Razorback and Wally Gonzales. Bands such as Rescue a Hero, Louella, among others, are performing in the afternoon. They’ll start strumming earlier than usual at 1PM until 2AM.
The Cebu Guitar Festival 2010 marks a few “firsts” such as the setting up of booths selling guitar accessories, gadgets and other guitar-related stuff; as well as a “delta blues” performance from slide guitarist Joric Maglanque who will be accompanied by a lap steel guitar player from Manila. According to The Outpost’s Sandy Kiamko, Cebu has no delta blues player and it is hoped that Joric’s performance will inspire enthusiasts to explore this genre.
Meanwhile, a guitar exhibit displaying 10 vintage guitars, locally-made crafts, and collector’s items is also ongoing at The Outpost until December.
Last year’s Cebu Guitar Festival featured 220 players. On its last day, roughly 1,300 spectators convened at The Outpost. (THE FREEMAN)