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Folk vibes: a Filipino-Canadian music fusion

by Maryrose Villena, ACC News Correspondent

    Performers and Guests
Participants, guests, and members of FMAACI at the Filipino-Canadian Folk Music Fest, at the Filipino Seniors Group Event Hall, February 3, 2024

It was a lively night with performers from different backgrounds when the Filipino Music & Arts Association of Canada Inc. held their annual event Filipino-Canadian Folk Music Fest last February 3 at the Filipino Seniors Group event hall in Winnipeg.

Alongside Filipino artists, Levy Abad, Daniel Tabo-oy, Dario Javier, Larry Velasco, and Jojo Yso, Folk Music Fest featured the special participation of Cara Luft, Keri Latimer, and Nanditha Selvanathan.

Despite having a short window of time for the event, the organizers were successful with their program, which accommodated each artist’s numbers and held the audience’s full attention – a common challenge according to Ernesto Ofiaza, president of FMAACI.

Over the previous years, the Music Fest exclusively featured Filipino musicians. However, this time after ten years, FMAACI collaborated with the local talents hailing from different cultures using various instruments. Some of the performers that night played traditional folk music with a ukulele, banjo, and an Indian slide guitar. Some even sang in their native language. The program also included a cowboy-themed dance number by the all-women group Retro Divas.

FMAACI co-founder and Filipino artist Levy Abad serenaded the audience with songs portraying the community life of people here in Canada – particularly of his fellow immigrants – a representation of the lives in the Filipino community of over 75,000 here in Winnipeg.

The Filipino-Canadian Folk Music Fest successfully concluded their event with a raffle of various prizes including of barongs, ukuleles, and appliances.

Now that the event has embraced diversity and a multi-racial performance, one can only anticipate what they will bring next year. – Photos by John Lopez