February is National Arts Month and on February 22, 2017, RCI Cainta students and teachers from all levels and both high schools were joined by their counterparts from RCI San Mateo for a special celebration with the Blood Drum Spirit at the RCI Cainta gymnasium. Students from RCI Cainta performed the front act. They were Kenobi Ricarte, pianist; Kenth Francisco, drummer; Eunice Catabona and John Fabro, singers; Ryu Adrinao, guitarist (from Grade 11-STEM); Carlo Janer, bassist (Grade 11-HUMSS); and Tyra Caro, drummer (Grade 8).
The Blood Drum Spirit is an ensemble composed of drummer, pianist, and tap dancer Royal Hartigan, bassist Wes brown, saxophonist David Bindman, and pianist Art Hirahara. Percussionist Toni Bernardo was part of the group that performed at RCI Cainta in place of Bindman. The group performed pieces from different cultures including music from Ghana.
Pong Aureus, Cultural Specialist of the U.S. Embassy, described Blood Drum Spirit as a band that “brings a new global vision to music, exploring deep into the world’s great traditions through the prism of live jazz performance.” In her message to RCI, she said the audience would be treated to music by Blood Drum Spirit “that adapts elements of world cultures, including South Indian solkattu rhythms, tala (time cycles), and raga (modes); Javanese gamelan structures and rhythms, Philippine Kulintang ensemble instruments and timbres, African American clapping plays, and the like—all embedded within the fabric of a uniquely American Jazz compositional and improvisational sound and style.”
Visiting and performing at RCI Cainta was part of the band’s current Philippine tour. This was made possible through the collaboration among the FEU’s President’s Committee on Culture, the Philippine International Jazz Festival, and the US Embassy.