L-R photos; Ambassador Baja welcomes guests to the KontraGapi
performance at Calvinhaus, Berne; KontraGapi wows audience with
(Lower L-R photos; KontraGapi performs at the University of Berne;
Ambassador & ConGen Baja with the Philippine Embassy staff and
Kontra-Gapi wows audience in Swiss capital Berne
Pilipino (Kontra-Gapi), the resident Ethnic Music and Dance Ensemble of
the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) of the University of the
Philippines-Diliman, wowed the Swiss audience with their two successful
performances at the University of Berne and at Calvinhaus in Berne, on
29 May 2013.
The performance at the University of Berne, which was organized in
cooperation with the University’s Institute of Musicology, was attended
by more than sixty (60) professors and students of musicology,
schoolchildren at a music school in Berne, and a number of Swiss
Filipinos. The performance was followed by a workshop where the
audience was taught how to play and perform some gamelan music.
The event at Calvinhaus was attended by around 300 people, consisting
of members of the diplomatic and expatriate communities, locals, and
members of the Filipino community across Switzerland.
The group’s repertoire was a mix of dance, music and sounds
representing the various ethno-linguistic groups across the Philippine
The performance at Calvinhaus was organized by the Philippine Embassy
in partnership with Samahang Pilipina Bern, an association founded in
1985 to promote Filipino women’s rights and welfare and to empower
Filipino women in Berne through socio-cultural and civic events.
The hugely successful performances in Berne, according to the group,
have so far been the best in their 2013 European tour. From
Berne, the group will perform in Chur in canton GraubŁnden, in the
easternmost part of Switzerland.
Kontra-Gapi last toured Switzerland in 1997, during which the group
also received a warm welcome from members of the Swiss-Filipino
community. The group’s unique repertoire has gained them recognition in
various cities across Europe and has made them an effective ambassador
for Philippine cultural heritage.
Kontra-Gapi was conceived in 1989 by UP Professor Pedro Abraham, Jr.
when he was asked to create a score for the Filipino version of “A
Dream Play” by August Strindberg for the Dulaang UP, the University’s
resident repertory theatre company. The band was later transformed into
an independent performing organization and in 1993, was appointed
resident ethnic music and dance ensemble by the Dean of the
University’s College of Arts and Letters.
Since its inception, Kontra-Gapi has performed across the different
parts of the Philippines and the world, including the US, Asia, and