Potaje /
Fandangueros /
Cascada de Flores



Saturday May 21, 6:00pm
Duration: 70 minutes,
no intermission

5:00pm FREE
Pre-Concert Artist Discussion

Cowell Theater
Tickets: General Admission
$20 in advance, $25 at door


artistic director: Chus Alonso
musical director: Florante Aguilar
creative director: Alelluia Panis
multimedia artist: Wilfred Galila
singers: Charmaine Clamor,
Arwen Lawrence
musicians: Jorge Liceaga, Kyla Danysh, Paula Dreyer; Greg Kehret, Sage Baggott and Robert Borrell
dancers: Roberto Borrell,
Melissa Cruz, Ana Liceaga,
Jay Loyola, Fides Enriquez

artist name

FANDANGO-PANDANGGO is a music, dance and multimedia performance exploring past and present musical connections between the Philippines, Mexico, Cuba and Spain. Why Fandango-Pandanggo? The “fandango” represents an extensive family of musical styles and dances that span three continents with relatives such as the “pandanggo” from the Philippines, the “fandanguito” from Mexico, and the “fandangos de Huelva” from Spain. The “jota” and the “habanera” are also musical genres that have captured fertile imaginations over time and seas. Spanish and Filipino composers, Chus Alonso and Florante Aguilar, respectively, examine the music that connects them and present new works supported by a superb team of collaborators.

Several ensembles and individual artists are involved in the production of Fandango-Pandanggo: POTAJE ensemble, directed by Chus Alonso for 23 years, has created new contemporary works while remaining firmly anchored to traditional flamenco and Latin American styles; FANDANGUEROS, a quartet directed by guitarist Florante Aguilar, performs new music rooted in the music of Philippines, Latin America and Spain; CASCADA DE FLORES, has a long history of re-imagining folkloric Mexican music; Charmaine Clamor, a Filipino singer best known for melding traditional Filipino folk songs with American jazz; dancers Roberto Borrell, Melissa Cruz and Jay Loyola; and multimedia artists Alleluia Panis and Wilfred Galila."

5:00pm Chus Alonso and Florante Aguilar will discuss the artistic and conceptual ideas behind the Fandango-Pandanggo, a project inspired by a history of rich musical cross-fertilization between the Philippines, Mexico, Cuba and Spain. Company artists will address questions from the audience.


Chus Alonso has 30 years of experience performing (flute and laud), composing, leading musical projects, and teaching. He was born in Spain where he received an eclectic musical education. As a composer, his focus has been creating contemporary music rooted in flamenco, Spanish folk and Latin American traditional genres. Alonso founded Potaje in 1992 to create new music that would continue the traditional musical interchanges that have historically occurred between Spain and the Americas. In the framework of this ensemble, Latin American, Flamenco and jazz artists have collaborated. Fandango-Pandanggo expands Alonso’s musical horizons to the music of Philippines.

Florante Aguilar (composer, guitarist and director of Fandangueros) is one the leading champions of Filipino music. His arrangements and compositions successfully craft the right balance between respect and redefinition of tradition. His constant search for a tradition-based contemporary Filipino sound led him to produce the award-winning 2012 documentary, Harana, which has been instrumental in inspiring the rediscovery of harana music. Aguilar grew up in Cavite province, Philippines, where he learned to play the octavina in a rondalla group. Aguilar’s new musical suite “Cavite el Viejo” depicts Cavite with a mosaic of old and new melodies. The suite will be premiered as part of Fandango-Pandanggo.

Alleluia Panis is an artist who is at home in both Pilipino tribal & traditional arts and American contemporary forms. She has created fifteen full-length dance theater works since 1980, which have been performed on stages in US, Europe and Asia. She has collaborated with numerous artists, including: National Heritage Fellow Danongan Kalanduyan, award-wining Philippine visual artist Santiago Bose, Sean San Jose, composers Florante Aguilar, Jon Jang, and Fred Ho, among others. Alleluia Panis, together with Wilfred Galila, will create the multimedia component of Fandango-Pandanggo, integrating dance and film with the new music works.

Wilfred Galila explores various media for telling stories. As a filmmaker, his works have been screened at the 23rd and 26th annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. He has worked on various award-winning films such as the documentaries The Power of Two and Secrets of a Sister. As a photographer, he is the lead artist for Kodakan: Pilipinos in the City, a project that examines the diverse identities of Filipinos in San Francisco through time. Wilfred Galila, together with Alleluia Panis, will create the multimedia component of Fandango-Pandanggo, integrating dance and film with the new music works.

Arwen Lawrence and Jorge Liceaga, the core members of Cascada de Flores, have been re-imagining Mexican tradition for 16 years. After falling for Mexican music as a young woman, Arwen Lawrence toured with Grammy-winning L.A. mariachi heavyweights, Los Camperos de Nati Cano, an apprenticeship that honed her skills and deepened her love for Mexico's musical language. Jorge Liceaga grew up in Mexico City. He was introduced into flamenco and folk music by his sister, a flamenco and Mexican folkloric dancer. He was mentored on the guitar by Leonardo “El León” Salas and soon he found himself among the flamenco artists of Gitanerías, a renowned flamenco tablao in Mexico City. His love for Mexican music continued growing after moving to San Francisco. There, he found in Arwen Lawrence the perfect partner to establish a music project dedicated to the musical traditions of Mexico. The pair founded Cascada de Flores in 1999. To deepen their knowledge of Mexican music they traveled into the hidden corners of Mexico, seeking the real stories of that hugely diverse country. For 16 years, Cascada de Flores has created a repertoire centered in Mexican folklore. The group also includes Cuban and Puerto Rican and other related music.

Charmaine Clamor grew up in Subic-Zambales, Philippines. Young Charmaine provided piano accompaniment while her mother sang Filipino kundiman songs. She came to the US as a teenager. During her college years, she was discovered by the director of Crescendo, a vocal jazz quintet. In 2005, following nearly a decade of ensemble singing, Charmaine made her solo recording debut with Searching for the Soul; then came Flippin' Out. Her third album, My Harana: A Filipino Serenade (2008) revived the Filipino courtship tradition of harana. Chamaine is the originator of Jazzipino, a genre of music utilizing American jazz and Filipino folk music.

Melissa Cruz has been a professional flamenco dancer for the past 13 years. Born in the Philippines, she grew up in New Orleans. She began her flamenco career dancing with Rosa Montoya's company. Melissa performed as a soloist in the 2012 SFIAF, has danced in seven SF Ethnic Dance Festivals (two as a soloist), presented a solo in the 2013 SF Isadora Duncan Awards Ceremony, and was a featured artist in the 2014 Caminos Flamencos Festival de Flamenco and the 2014 Tucson Flamenco Festival. In addition to her regular performances in the local flamenco cabaret circuit, Melissa is a member of the band, LoCura.

Roberto Borrell learned traditional and popular Afro-Cuban dance and percussion from master musicians and dancers while growing up in Havana. He is a respected dancer and percussionist of Afro-Cuban Yoruba, Abakua (Calabar), Rumba, Arará (Dahony), and Palo (Congo). He is also a master dancer of Cuban popular dance styles such as son montuno, danzón, and cha cha cha. Mr. Borrell led the Afro-Cuban folkloric group Kubata in Cuba for 10 years before coming to the United States in 1980, where he founded a new company under the same name. In the Bay Area, Mr. Borrell co-founded Orquesta la Moderna Tradición.

Jay Loyola - Master Artist of Philippine Dance, has created over 50 Pilipino folk dance works performed in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Loyola traveled the world as a principal dancer for the prestigious Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company and considered a protégé of Philippine National Artist in Dance Lucrecia Reyes-Urtula. He has received grant awards from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Creative Work Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts. Loyola is a professor of Philippine Dance and Culture at University of San Francisco and the founding Artistic Director of the American Center of Philippine Arts.

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