Looper draft: Start where you are

Still from Start Where You Are (2017), live visuals by Pauline Vicencio-Despi.

Our Anam Cara performance at the Vargas Museum last Sunday was a wonderful success. There was a surprisingly robust turnout for a Sunday afternoon, considering museum access was tricky (the UP Academic Oval being closed to motorists that day). The performances with our invited collaborators and co-performers went smoothly, and were warmly received. Though we as a complete trio didn’t get to jam improv as much owing to time constraints, our set songs turned out great. I’ll be posting more media of the performances as they trickle out in the next few days and weeks.


Anam Cara improv with Tusa Montes (kulintang) and Ryan Villamor (harp), with visuals by Pauline Vicencio-Despi. Photo by Dayang Yraola.

My small, personal triumph was pulling off the spoken word piece without a hitch—I worried that it would come off corny or contrived, and it was neither. (The deeper triumph was realising that I would’ve pushed through with it anyway even if it was corny and contrived!) The positive reception was just the reassurance I need(ed) to press on in developing my solo work in the direction of spoken/sung as well as written/improv contexts.

Buboy’s dancing and Pauline’s visuals created new dimensions to the work, and made me experience it from the outside in.

Still from Start Where You Are (2017), live visuals by Pauline Vicencio-Despi.


It was a peculiar and beautiful feeling to see something so internalised take on a life of its own. Entrusting my self to their generosity and skill dispelled any lingering doubts about whether the piece could work.

Here’s an excerpt filmed by our friend, curator and educator (and Lingnan Cultural Studies buddy) Dayang Yraola:


And here’s a recording of a draft version I did on the morning of the show, done in a very different context: alone, in my pyjamas, messing around while tending to five other different things in preparation for the performance. I like to think that some of this quiet intimacy and spontaneity carried through to the actual performance.


I still have a long way to go with the looper, and I love the way it forces me to think about how to build a piece, in time and through layers.

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