INTRO

Ne Pomocena Filipino Quartet

“Enchanting Melodies on Native Instruments” was the phrase used to introduce the Ne Pomoceno Quartet to mid-western audiences in 1917. Nowadays, those words are ironic, considering that, outside of the International Expositions, Filipinos playing in clubs and chautauquas rarely played native instruments, although they did play Philippine adaptations of European string instruments. This website is dedicated to Filipino musicians in the United States, especially those “old-timers” who performed during the early 20th century. My father was one of them: he played in a band in New Orleans and other cities during the 1930s. My grandfather and granduncle played in the Philippine Constabulary Band in international expositions.

Filipinos have been entertaining audiences with their music since at least the early 20th century. Considering that “Manilla Men” first began settling in the Louisiana territory during the 18th century, it’s possible that Filipino musicians have been making music in the Americas since the 19th century or earlier. My aim for this website is to post information on these little-known and under-appreciated musicians, and update as often as possible. More recently, I’ve branched out into the world of ukulele madness and DIY music-making. This is a labor of love. Thanks to the “Redpath Chautauqua Collection and Traveling Culture exhibit, Special Collections, University of Iowa for making some of this material (photographs and documents about Filipino musicians in the Chautauqua) available.

If you have information or photos of Filipino musicians or bands from the early to mid-20th century (1960s) and would like it posted on this site, contact me at okir2k@gmail.com.

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