It was a unique press conference, at least for this veteran attendant of so many press conferences since 19-forgotten.
So there we were, at the Richmonde Hotel Ortigas, Metro Manila, media persons talking to the famous classical guitarist Berta Rojas via the big Skype screen (there is a 12-hour difference in time between the Philippines and Paraguay). And she was answering our questions, discussing matters important to her, and talking about her forthcoming concerts in Manila and Cebu.
The Manila concert, sponsored by the Independent Philippine Art Ventures, will be held on May 15, 8 p.m., at the Meralco Theater, Pasig City, Metro Manila. And the Cebu concert, sponsored by the Arts Council of Cebu Foundation, will take place on May 17, 8 p.m., at the Marcelo Fernan Hall in Lahug.
Also present at the press conference were the special guests of the Manila concert: classical guitarist Ramoncito Carpio, and the all-women group of guitarists known as Triple Fret (Marga Abeio, Jenny de Vera and Iqui Vinculado).
The four performed some classical, folk and contemporary compositions which were well received, including (on the part of Triple Fret) a haunting version of Lucio San Pedro’s “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan.”
Rojas said the Philippines and Paraguay “are far apart geographically but music can bring us close, we can connect with music. I heard in international competitions that you have great artists. I would like to know more about Philippine music.”
Social change, identity
The guitarist has been quoted as saying that music is a vehicle for social change. Questioned about this, she mentioned corruption and the 33 percent level of poverty in Paraguay (in the Philippines latest reports peg poverty level at 25 percent) and said “music can become a way to call attention to this. With music you can speak about many things, about change.”
Rojas shared that she had been touring the countryside in Paraguay speaking about this, “speaking about having a dream in life, working hard, developing your (talent), try to be the best, an inspiration for them… we see many beautiful things happening.”
With music, she said, “I learned to connect with my national identity, how to be proud of my roots as a Paraguayan and as a Latin American.”
The charismatic guitarist concluded: “I am sure that the Philippines will be another home away from home for me. I have met some wonderful people from the Philippines.”