Pasko Sa Amerika (Christmas in America) follows the Iskwelahang Pilipino Rondalla's first release, Crossing Over, a collection of folk songs and original arrangements and compositions recorded in 1994 that reflects the Filipino American roots of the group. In this spirit, most of the arrangements in Pasko Sa Amerika are original and offer a fresh take on classic Christmas songs beloved in both the Philippines and the U.S.
Maligayang Pasko (merry Christmas) and happy listening!
Iskwelahang Pilipino (Filipino School) is a non-profit organization run by volunteers in the Greater Boston area. It was founded in 1976 by a group of parents to create an environment where their children will have the opportunity to learn about their Filipino heritage. Parent participation in school activities is a pre-requisite in joining Iskwelahang Pilipino.
Please visit our website for more information.
Below is the review from www.christmasreviews.com:
Here is something very unique and special. I review a lot of holiday music, and I mean A LOT of holiday music, and it's not very often that something genuinely unusual presents itself. Pasko Sa Amerika! with the Iskwelahang Pilipino (I.P.) Rondalla of Boston is one of those albums.
So this cross-cultural, instrumental experience is all about strings, and the mood is of the happiest sort. Three or four songs will be recognizable to general U.S. audiences; the rest are more specific to Filipino traditions. The ample liner notes spell out the various meanings underlying each number. The music is very well executed and full of heart. Because the primary "voices" here are those of bandurias, the plucking tends to be relatively bright, fast, and high. As a result, even the most somber numbers ("Silent Night," "Payapang Daigdig"--composed the day after Manila was leveled during WWII bombing) have an optimistic and merry air.
Pasko Sa Amerika is a fascinating study in Christmas across national boundaries. The musical approach is different, but totally accessible and often surprising. My favorite tracks include Bach's immortal "Air on G String" (no, not a bikini), one of the most beautiful melodies on earth, which is a revelation in the hands of the I.P. Rondalla, and the "Mano Po, Ninong/Here We Come A Wassailing" medley, which nicely melds the two cultural approaches.
So, as the I.P. Rondalla itself advises, "Maligayang Pasko (Merry Christmas), and happy listening!"
(Reviewed in 2005)