Matag Subang Sa Bulak (Overtura ni Maria Clara) Instrumental
Matag Subang Sa Bulak (Instrumental). Will Simbol, octavina. Will SImbol writes: As evident in their instruments, many rondalla instruments made through the late 1800s and mid 1900s were works of art in their own merit. In addition to having accurate tuneability and intonation, beautifully full tone and volume, and ease of playability, the instruments were visually appealing, and revealed impeccable attention to materials, craftsmanship and neatness. In stark contrast to the instruments of the past, even custom-made instruments made by the most reputable modern-day manufacturers have suffered from increasing economic globalization and are of poor quality. In place of carefully selected and seasoned tonewoods, manufacturers now use what's available, which unfortunately now includes low-grade plywood, and scrap wood. With regard to craftsmanship, one can easily find visible gaps in seams, and frets that are incorrectly spaced and leveled. The subpar fret voicing/intonation results in instruments that simply cannot be played in tune. So, in 2007 Patrick [Tanega] and I [Will] started studying lutherie with the goal of making our own custom instruments. After all, if we can't get good instruments, the music can't last right? Ray Varona, a Fil-Am luthier in Virginia, became such an invaluable mentor, and was instrumental in making this pipe dream a reality. When we combined our study with his expertise, things blossomed. It turned out, he even made his own bandurria! I spent about 4 years just studying, and in 2011, we were awarded a grand from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts to help us get materials to actually start building. Patrick and I started building our forms and jigs in California, and when I got a job in New York City in 2012, I moved all my stuff to my little studio apartment in Yorkville in Manhattan. I'd work on some stuff in my apartment, and send others to Ray in Virginia. I also took the bus from Meatpacking District in NYC to Charlottesville to work in Ray's shop over there. As stuff was so high stakes having worked on it so long, Ray was gracious in doing all the especially difficult wood carving and manipulation. Eventually, I finished the last parts in what is now my wife's and my apartment on the Upper West Side in 2016. To our knowledge, it's the first octavina built in the western hemisphere. We debut'd my octavina, named Mayumung Saya (sweet joy) in Hollywood, CA at a performance at the Ford Amphitheater. This recording was my first recording with my instrument, made just after our gig at the Ford. We recorded a bunch of songs that day, and everyone had left before Manong Boy and I got to this recording. It totally bugs me that I didn't retun/ tune my A-strings, but I guess I can't really re-do a first recording. I chose to perform "Matag Subang Sa Bulak," which, as you can probably tell from my story from Mang Henry's recording, is a really special song for me.
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