Cultural Storm in Vancouver

News & Features Jun 1, 2005 at 3:08 pm

VANCOUVER, B.C.–The Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance/Uganayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada’s (FCYA/UKPC) annual Roots Rhymes and Resistance (RRR) cultural night thundered East-Van’s Western Front Artist-Run Centre this past weekend with festive militancy and political re-affirmation.

Under the theme, Ipagpatuloy: Living the Storm, FCYA/UKPC, with a packed room of 150 guests, celebrated the Filipino people’s tradition of resistance through spoken word, hip hop, music, song and dance. Images of Filipino youth and student activism past and present, in the Philippines and in Canada flickered throughout the evening. The night also highlighted FCYA/UKPC’s tenth anniversary year, a landmark achievement considering it has operated for the last decade without core funding.

“This was certainly our best show yet, drawing the biggest audience,” shares Carlo Sayo, the evening’s co-emcee and a founding member of FCYA/UKPC. “What started out as a little coffee-shop show has become a cultural staple in our community and a standout event within the Asian Heritage Month Society’s program,” said Sayo.

RRR featured up and coming Filipino youth artists such as violinist/vocalist Lara Maestro, hip hop wonders Audikalz and OPC, recording artists such as R&B singer Warren Flandez and violinist virtuoso, Kytami. The evening’s line-up included individual performances from members of FCYA/UKPC as well as a finale performance by FCYA/UKPC Alumni members.

“The Alumni finale was definitely one of the highlights of the evening,” explains co-emcee, Niki Silva. “Since this is FCYA’s tenth anniversary year, it was important to demonstrate our organization’s history, to have the elements of the past, present and future,” said Silva.

May Farrales, an FCYA/UKPC Alumni member, introduced their number as a tribute to the martyred Filipino youth and student activists in the Philippines and to the present and next generation of budding activists.

“As alumni members of FCYA,/UKPC we learned through our work as former youth and student activists that the struggle of youth and students is not separated from the overall struggle of the community. We have moved on to other organizations such as the Philippine Women Centre, the Filipino Nurses Support Group, SIKLAB and the BC Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines which is an example of the social commitment we have developed and internalized through out time with FCYA/UKPC,” said Farrales.

“Our theme this year looks back at the First Quarter Storm of 1970 in the Philippines,” explains Sayo. “35 years ago, Filipino youth and students took to the streets to protest against US Foreign Policy in the Philippines, to denounce the Vietnam War and to further work towards realizing genuine independence in the Philippines. As youth today, we have to continue the spirit of the ‘storm’, wherever we are located,” said Sayo.

RRR was organized in 1999 as part of FCYA/UKPC’s Philippine-American War Campaign. It gathered the dynamic cultural talent Filipino youth and students across the Lower Mainland whose work focused on the collective experience and underdevelopment of the Filipino community.

Since 1995, FCYA/UKPC has been educating, organizing and mobilizing Filipino youth around the issues of systemic racism, access to education, gender oppression, economic underdevelopment and decolonization.