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(Upper L-R photos; Ambassador Baja welcomes guests to the KontraGapi performance at  Calvinhaus, Berne; KontraGapi wows audience with their repertoire))
(Lower L-R photos; KontraGapi performs at the University of Berne; Ambassador & ConGen Baja with the Philippine Embassy staff and KontraGapi performers)

Kontra-Gapi wows audience in Swiss capital Berne 

Kontemporaryong Gamelan 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 islands. 
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 Europe. END

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