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Leslie Damaso and Jason Kutz

  • Memorial Union Play Circle 800 Langdon Street Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)

Two Wisconsin-based musicians explore the Filipino art-song tradition known as kundiman. Info/tix

Leslie Damaso.

Leslie Damaso.

Filipino-American vocalist and Mineral Point resident Leslie Damaso performs here with local pianist Jason Kutz behind May Laya, a collection of Filipino art songs recorded with Buzz Kemper at Madison studio Audio for the Arts and released this summer. Damaso translates and discusses these songs on her website, noting the importance of engaging in this music as a way to explore her roots. This music, known as kundiman, emerged as a traditional Filipino folk music around the turn of the 20th century, in response to the centuries-long Spanish occupation of the Philippines. Written and sung in Tagalog, the lyrics of these kundiman songs focus on sentiments of love—whether it be between people or for nature and the land itself. Kutz's piano accompaniment interacts with Damaso's folk melodies and lyrics in a dynamic similar to that of German and other Western art songs. The imagery the lyrics is present and interpreted in both the written accompaniment that comes with the album and in Kutz’s expressive performances. Both musicians are active in other facets of music in southern Wisconsin: Damaso owns Buttonhill Music Studio in Mineral Point. Kutz performs in adventurous projects such as Mr. Chair and Bad Philosopher, and will also play a few of his original compositions at this show. —Emili Earhart

Earlier Event: October 20
Mori Mente, Ronin, Tarek Sabbar (free)
Later Event: October 23
They Might Be Giants