New Message Reply Date view Thread view Subject view Author view Other groups

From: Jyothi Kanics (
Date: Thu Jun 24 1999 - 08:20:53 EDT


18 June 1999

Contact: Carolyn Antonio
Tel.: 212.592.3507


In the first ever benefit for Filipino domestic workers, the Afro-Asian
Trio, headed by baritone saxophonist Fred Ho, played before an
enthusiastic audience at the Lang Auditorium of Hunter College on Park
Avenue, New York City, on the 11th of June, 1999.

The date was equally significant, as it was the 12th of June in the
Philippines, the 101st anniversary of the founding of the first Republic

of the Philippines. The evening was dedicated to the memory of Glenda
Lirio, 31, who was found dead and stuffed into a manhole in Hong Kong on

the 22nd of May.

Ms. Lirio had runaway from her employers and sought sanctuary at the
Filipino Workers Development Centre on May 2nd. Twenty days later, her
male employer forced his way into the Centre and dragged her off. Her
body was found the next day.

For sponsors GABRIELA Network and PAWID, the germinal domestic workers
organization, it was bittersweet that a Chinese American, an Afro
American and a Caucasian, all top jazz musicians, should be the first to

lend a helping hand to the exported domestic workers of the Philippines
in the United States.

Fred Ho is a long-time activist, apart from being a composer and
musician. He leads both the Afro Asian Music Ensemble and The Monkey
Orchestra. He has written numerous operas and has been honored with
commissions from the World Music Institute, the Mary Flagler Cary Trust
and the New York State Council on the Arts. His new work, entitled Once

Upon a Time in Chinese America, is scheduled for premiere on the 20th of

June. Nevertheless, he readily committed the Trio to performing for

On stage with Mr. Ho were Sam Furnace and Royal Hartigan. Mr. Furnace
is an alto saxophonist who has worked with Kacki Byard, Art Blakey,
Abdullah Ibrahim, Al Hibbler, Tito Puente, Machito, Charlie Persip among

many others. He has recorded with Mongo Santamaria, Milt Hinton, Craig
Harris, Fred Ho and Johnny Copeland.

Royal Hartigan, a multi-percussionist who holds a Ph. D. in
ethnomusicology and world music from Wesleyan University, lived in the
Philippines for two years. He is fluent in the music and drumming
traditions of practically every nation in the world, including South
Indian, Native American, West African, Caribbean steel band, south
Filipino kulintang and African-American schools of drums. He is much
sought after by different jazz bands for his facility with any kind of
drum. For the benefit concert, he used both Western and Chinese drums.

The evening was a virtual tour de force by the three musicians. Fred Ho

amazed the audience with his mixing of Asian rhythms with jazz. His
astonishing imagination moved the crowd from China to the Japanese women

working in Hawaii plantations to warrior women struggling in the
continent of the US. Mr. Furnace and Mr. Hartigan offered their
original composition based on the drum rhythms of northern Ghana. By
the time the three concluded with a jazz version of Jose Corazon de
Jesusí Ang Bayan Ko, the crowd was ready to weep before such a
distillation of a struggle so long and so widespread.

The three concluded with a tone-poem for GABRIELA Network written by Mr.

Ho, pledging the groupís support for the movement against the traffic of

women and globalization.

GABNet members, in the organizationís colors of black and purple, moved
efficiently throughout the evening. Before the concert, there were
short talks by GABNet spokespersons and by the PAWID lead organizer,
Andy Sombillo.

The event was covered by Channel 7 Eyewitness News. That day, the
Associated Press also released a wire story on Filipina domestic workers

in the US and about the event.

New Message Reply Date view Thread view Subject view Author view Other groups

This archive was generated by hypermail 2a22 : Sun Nov 21 1999 - 20:09:40 EST