Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Translated from Portuguese, it means Brazilian night in Manila, which aptly describes what happened at the Rajah Soliman Plaza Sunday night during the final series of the Philippine American Jazz Festival.

Bob Aves and Grace Nono had finished their set, Escola de Samba de Manila took over the stage (see top three photos) and transformed this part of Roxas Boulevard into a sizzling Copacabana with their exhilarating rhythms of samba. Eileen Sison led her samba school students into wowing the audience with their colorful clothes, gigantic headdresses, blurring hip gyrations, and infectious high-energy carnival music.

Guarana then took the stage. Eileen was once again at the forefront; however, this time, it was to enchant the audience with the sensuous sounds of bossa nova. This music — evocative of discreet charms and impermanence of life in which elements of nature are sometimes used allegorically to mask the true intentions of smitten lovers — flowed seamlessly with the warm breeze coming from Manila Bay. Many in the audience were certainly captivated by the alluring bossa nova as evidenced by the spontaneous applause not only at the end of every song, but during its performance as well. Hence, proving once more that bossa nova, though a native of Brazil, has an endearing power to find a warm spot in any one’s heart and call it home.

It is for this reason why many American artists from jazz to rock (such as Sarah Vaughn, Shirley Horn, Diana Krall, Ahmad Jamal, Herbie Mann, Brian Ferry, George Michael, David Bowie, Michael Franks, and etc.) have intimate relationship with Jobim’s original compositions and/or with his bossa nova. And in the Philippine jazz scene, Eileen Sison, Richie Quirino and the rest of Guarana have become this music’s leading proponents.

As for Guarana’s finale last night, they were joined by Escola de Samba to prompt the audience to get up and dance, or as the Brasileiros would say, samba the night away.

posted by Señor Enrique at 12:04 AM


Blogger RAV Jr said...

Looks fun!! kala ko ba ang sikat na Jazz artist si vernie Varga =D


November 21, 2006 6:18 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool night shots! Enjoy din ako makinig ng Jazz especially pag live, iba ang energy nya sa rock concerts. I enjoy Grace Nono performances as well.

November 21, 2006 6:48 AM  

Blogger houseband00 said...

Hi Eric,

I regret missing those nights last weekend. Daddy duties. =)

I've always likened Brazilian music to a deceptively strong cocktail, drunk while sitting at a gorgeous bar in a slightly run-down hotel in a fascinating city I always meant to see.

November 21, 2006 9:07 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Looks like a "hot" night! ;-)

You did a good photographic job! Quite challenging isn't it?
Picture five is technically my favorite.

November 21, 2006 9:36 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I will be joining the Phil Jazz Society and get involved in its activities, DOPS. Jazz is what I'll get more into while here in Manila, and in so doing hope to get to know more of our local greats. As of now, not familiar with them, including Vernie Vega, but soon, I hope :)

Grace Nono's performance was incredibly hypnotic, Ferdz. I was told she is Bob Aves' wife. Phenominal artists are what they are; pioneers, in fact.

Also, practically every artist of both Bob Aves' and Guarana's has admirable musical background. I was very much impressed by all of them.

November 21, 2006 10:27 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That, unarguably, comes first, hb00. However, there will be another festival coming up in February (I'll keep you posted of details).

Hmmm...Havana, Cuba might have a bar you think about, but salsa would be a more appropriate soundtrack over there.

So I guess, the best place to hunt for such a bar remains to be somewhere in Rio's Copacabana enclave. :)

I'd take a pina colada please!

Hi Sidney. You were right -- tough to take nibght shots. I was actually near the subjects to get these shots but from a distance, as you had said, not good results at all.

November 21, 2006 10:34 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shades of the carnival in Rio.. Talking about Brazilian music, Sergio Mendez comes to mind. He started with Brasil 66 and up to now he's still around.. 40 years of music..

November 21, 2006 10:47 AM  

Blogger Senorito<- Ako said...

d80 pix ? Btw what lens did you get with your new toy ? :) Killer shots !

I regret telling my wife about the festivities in manila though. Now she wants to go back na :( Boy if plane fare wasn't that expensive.

November 21, 2006 11:12 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got caught up reading your posts. You've been very busy. And I can tell that you've had a lot of fun watching the jazz concerts. And also playing with your new camera. :)

November 21, 2006 11:28 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I think it was Sergio Mendez that pushed bossa nova into the Philippine mainstream, BW. I loved them as much as those others who dominated the airwaves then such as The Beatles, Dave Clark Five, and The Doors to name a few. And as you said, the guy is still going strong :)

The lens kit it came along with is the 18-135mm, S.A. I just got a tripod today to help me practice manual tweaking of the exposure and etc. There's another jazz festival in February; hopefully, I knew enough about manual set up by then so I could play with the available light instead of depending on the flash unit.

I've a feeling that you and your wife would've loved the concert last Sunday :)

Tell Reggie, Irene, that our local jazz artists are incredibly talented. Most of them graduated either in UP concervatory of music or in the States.

The original music that Bob Aves and Grace Nono performed, I am hoping is available on CD. Will keep checking around and if it is avaliable, I'll let you know.

November 21, 2006 5:07 PM  

Blogger bugsybee said...

Why didn't they have this when I was there? Boo-hoo-hoo. Eric, I once read that Deodato now resides in Manila. Maybe they should have invited him. Of all the genres, I like bossa nova the best!

November 21, 2006 9:39 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Bugsybee, perhaps, you ought to get some of your Bacolod friends and organize a similar event in your city! We ought to promote our local great jazz artists more!

November 22, 2006 6:09 AM  

Blogger ipanema said...

Looks like fun street party. hmmm...though the singer looks gorgeous, I can't say the same to the students? (sorry).

Just a suggestion. They should improve on their costumes. I hope they won't take this personally. Perhaps I've seen too much international dance fest that I can compare.

And yes, Sergio Mendez comes to mind. Somebody commented on Vernie Varga. I truly agree that she's very good.

November 22, 2006 10:05 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, it really was an amazing night!

Jazz rocks ... Hehe. Any sites that I could check them out?


November 22, 2006 10:30 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It was indeed a fun street party, Ipanema, with everyone transported to ethereal levels of delirious ecstasy. Great music has a tendency to do that, especially those of Latin America -- tango, salsa, samba, full contact lambada -- obscenely glorious at times but it can also heal the soul of even the most wicked.

November 22, 2006 11:07 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Here is Guarana's URL, Kyels:


It was great fun!

November 22, 2006 11:08 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh what a night. Certainly, it is such a kind of night scene that really makes the blood rush with excitement.

Actually, I always play this Brazilian band named Tribalista on my computer and I loved them so much. They got a female vocalist that has such a wonderful voice that it is comparable to the best in the field.

November 22, 2006 11:12 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Tribalista? Hmmm...now I have to check it out, Major Tom.

That reminds me, Flora Purim is scheduled to perform at the next jazz festival in Manila this coming February.

November 22, 2006 1:14 PM  

Blogger Sebastiane said...

Cool shots Eric. Really, really did capture the whole event.

All these photos remind me of how long I have not been listening to live bands. Heh.


February 09, 2007 12:19 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Kyels!

There is another jazz festival coming up next week and I had requested for photographer's pas so I could once again take pictures of the performances to promote jazz in the Philippines.

February 09, 2007 8:08 PM  

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