Music, visual arts, and literature. Welcome to the 2010 Spoken Herb Cultural Festival. The event happened last Saturday, July 24 at the Sarten Café in Antipolo. A pulsating hub of creativity, overflowing with beats, rhymes, colors, and inspiration, Spoken Herb is the brainchild of Paolo Garcia aka Ill Primitivo aka Pasta Groove and Martin Lazaro aka Labjaxx. It is the realization and fulfillment of forward thinking ideas, a celebration of Filipino roots, and discovering advancements in music, the arts, and literature.
“The event really just came about from this growing need to express ourselves completely with no inhibitions or compromise,” says Paolo. “Spoken herb is an experiment. An attempt to unify artists from opposite sides of the artistic spectrum in order to create some kind of synthesis. What it is, really, is a clash of other worlds. In the creative process, we hope to inform people of the many parallels that exist between the art of freestyling, jazz improvisation, and live art.”
Martin adds: “I believe in the innovative abilities of our local artists and musicians, both known and unknown. We wanted to put together an event where the audience is exposed to different creative paths co-existing in one natural environment.”
What Paolo and Martin aim to achieve through their festival is exposing audiences to alternatives. “We want to make it clear that this is so much more than a show, a performance, or career move. This is our life,” shares Paolo. At the onset, Spoken Herb is “indie,” but that description barely scratches the surface. The passive observer may label the beats, the rhymes, and the painted canvases featured at Spoken Herb as such. But the real power of the Herb urges one to take an active perspective by realizing that these arts are a conduit for a greater purpose.
Post-Spoken Herb may mean a return to the safe, pop world of pogi rock, screamo-emo, and tsismis magazines. And that’s absolutely fine; to each his own.
But the lessons of Spoken Herb burn deep, penetrating the subconscious, creating an urge to step out of comfort zones through improvisation and thinking out of the box.
It may be safe to assume that the next Spoken Herb festival will sport a very similar vibe to this last one. It will feature the arts, and will be fueled by music and an ethereal energy. It will definitely hold steadfast to its tenets of freeing the mind through art. It will be hyped but won’t be “jazz” in the downbeat. Rather, it will be fresh, real; the kind of jazz that hungry ears, hearts, and minds naturally yearn for.
Famous American jazz cornetist, improviser, and composer Bix Beiderbecke once said: “One of the things I like about jazz, kid, is I don't know what's going to happen next. Do you?”
And with that, we can all openly and excitedly look forward to the next installment of the Spoken Herb Cultural Festival.
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ENRICO MIGUEL SUBIDO