‘Gongsters Paradise’ kulintang fest back live in San Francisco ‘Gongsters Paradise’ kulintang festival back live in San Francisco

‘Gongsters Paradise’ kulintang fest back live in San Francisco

/ 10:46 AM April 07, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO – Gongster’s Paradise, “the only Kulintang Festival in North America,” returns with its one-of-a-kind celebration of music and arts inspired by indigenous Filipino music.

The 4-hour kulintang party showcases the works of kulintang artists from all over the world performing traditional and contemporary forms of kulintang music.

The event moves to San Francisco for the first time at Saint Joseph’s Arts Society on May 6, at 3:00 p.m., after two editions in Oakland (and one virtual).

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A new generation of kulintang music artists will participate in this year’s Gongster’s Paradise as interest in the genre has blossomed since the first edition in 2017.

San Francisco-based Master Artist Danny Kalanduyan established a community of kulintang practitioners in the U.S. through performance and education starting in the ‘80s. After his passing in 2016, House of Gongs co-founder, Lydia Querian conceived a modern festival-style event that would continue Kalanduyan’s work with a twist– the encouragement of new original works.

Producers Ron, aka Kulintronica, and Lydia Querian are the visionary practitioners behind Gongster’s Paradise. Along with Darren Garza, a cultural practitioner himself, they work together driven by their passion for remembering Indigenous knowledge and embodying it through music, dance and fashion.


A collective of “Gongsters” (kulintang and indigenous music practitioners) who have built a body of work embracing indigenous instrumentation, have formed to share new musical styles and inspire each other to compose and arrange new creations.

This year’s line up highlights a fusion of Afro-Cuban and kulintang rhythms, a contingent of artists from Toronto where a fresh new take on kulintang music has blossomed in its thriving indie music scene, and four master artists from the Philippines.

Two kulintang master artists will be showing distinct kulintang styles. Returning artist Faisal Monal, acclaimed director of Salamindanao Dance Company will showcase the “downstream” urban style. In his American debut performance, Farid Guinomla will perform a more modern version of the “upstream” style that was Kalanduyan’s forte.


Talaandig artist Waway Saway returns to California after completing a residency in Hawaii. The community leader and inventor of Talaandig soil-painting brings his energetic music and ethereal chanting to the stage with his protege Balugto, the “Rainbow Man,” a virtuoso percussionist and inventor of the “kokak,” which is a combination clave and guitar made from bamboo. In his hands the instrument can call out like a frog or sing like a bird.

Also making its debut at Gongster’s Paradise this year is the band Peaboo And The Catz, a rock trio that also plays kulintang. They will be the youngest ever act to present original kulintang music in North America.

Headlining the festival this year is the Bay Area’s own Ruby Ibarra and the Balikbayans. Ibarra exploded with her viral music video “Us,” which she followed up by assembling a live band and touring the Philippines, headlining the Malasimbo Music Festival. She contributed the song “A Thousand Cuts” to a documentary about Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa. Ibarra and the Balikbayans will perform a special kulintang-based arrangement of a song off the “Circa 1991” album released on Beatrock Music.

The roster of artists includes:

Contemporary: Ruby Ibarra and The Balikbayans (SF Bay Area), Lex Junior (Toronto), Nump (SF Bay Area), Kulintronica (SF/Hawaii), Leslie Damaso (Wisconsin), Pantayo (Toronto), Waway Saway (Bukidnon PH), Audiopharmacy (SF Bay Area), Balugto (Bukidnon PH), Farid Guinomla (Maguindanao PH), Faisal Monal (Maguinadano PH), Tusa Montes (Manila PH), Kulintang Dialect (SF Bay Area), Peaboo and the Catz (SF Bay Area)

Traditional Practitioners: Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble (San Diego), Kaisahan Afrocubalintang (California), Parangal Dance Company (SF Bay Area), Malaya Dance (Los Angeles),

Movement/Dancers: Kim Requesto, Jae Tioseco, Alex De Leon, Jon Mercado, Greg Manalo, Patricia Ong

Vendors: Kopya Way of Life (Kalinga Weaving), HABIness, Niana Collection, Bayani Art, Baybayin by Kristian Kabuay, Ginto Seeds, Wonderbred Press

Master of Ceremonies: Samson Manalo | Chef of the Night: Eric Pascual

Community Partners: Kularts, CulturAid, Maguindanao Lilang Lilang, Talaandig Artist Organization, Salamindanao Dance Troupe

This year’s theme is “A Kulintang Force For All”, presenting kulintang music as a guiding force across many genres of arts encompassing  multiple generations and cultures. House Of Gongs is excited to return to in-person production, where people can enjoy food and music.

Alongside non-stop live music, the event will feature visual artists, vendors, and dancers to showcase traditional movements rooted in Mindanao to accompany Kulintang music.

WHO: House of Gongs

WHAT: Gongsters Paradise: A Kulintang Force for All

DATE: May 6, 2023

TIME: 3:00pm – 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Saint Joseph’s Art Society (401 Howard St, San Francisco, CA)

WHY: Honoring Danny Kalanduyan through Kulintang music


Available at gongstersparadise2023.eventbrite.com or www.houseofgongs.com

Student Tickets: $50 (includes food prepared by Chef Eric Pascual) ID required at the door

General Admissions: $75 (includes food prepared by Chef Eric Pascual)

Gongster Special: $95 (includes food prepared by Chef Eric Pascual, a gongster shirt, access to artist reception)

Gongster VIP: $560 (includes food prepared by Chef Eric Pascual, a bottle of wine, a salon for 4 and brunch celebration on May 7 with the artists, 4x gongster shirts)

Promotional materials available at:


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TAGS: Filipino American artists
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