8th Wonder of The World

root - Posted on 24 February 2003

A Phabulous Pinay Performance

*A ReView for the RevoLuTiOn

by Mike Vizcarra/PNN Pilipino Community Journalist

A small, dark room is filled to capacity. People in the front
have the prime seats, sitting on the floor, right in front of the stage. A
few rows of chairs follow. I1m at Bindlestiff Studios. There are probably
50-60 people here; friends, family, and folks interested in the spoken word.
The air is thick with anticipation. This could be a scene from the 60s, as
Beat poets waxed lyrical on social issues. But no, this is now. This is an
urban, hip-hop crowd. This is predominantly a Filipino-American crowd, here
to support their friends and show their love and appreciation for their
poetry and message. The lights dim. 8th Wonder takes the stage.

8th Wonder is an 8-member group made up of 4 Pinays and 4 Pinoys
(Jocie de Leon, Irene Duller, Golda Sargento, Lillian Prijoles, Jason Mateo,
Isagani Pugao, Jeremy Bautista, and Allan Maramag) ranging in age from 22 to
27. On Sunday, though, there were only 7 (Lillian being in New York).
Named after the 8th Wonder of the World, the rice terraces in the
Philippines, the group expresses their experiences and perspectives through
spoken word poetry. This past weekend was their first performance since
April 2001, and they start off with a bang.

From politics to social conditions, from love to the corruption
of mass media (especially television), the members of 8th Wonder spit out
magical, intertwining lyrics that left me captivated and enthralled in their
spell. Each member had their own distinct way of delivering their words,
from the in-your-face rapid-fire style of Allan Maramag to the hypnotic and
melodic songs of Golda Sargento (similar to Telepopmusik1s song, 3Breathe2).
I couldn1t help but get caught in the powerful emotions they evoked. 3I
don1t need a television,2 yelled Allen during one of his pieces, 3I can TELL
a vision!2 Tears flowed down Jocie de Leon1s cheeks as she recited her
moving poem, 3Beautiful Reflection,2 showing the audience her conviction and
passion for the words she spoke. Jason Mateo1s story-telling style in his
poem, 3Big Boulders, Big Brother,2 held the audience as he voiced his
concerns and gave advice about the television and play-station world his
little brother lives in.

One of the most entertaining parts of the evening was a
free-style session, with each member taking turns on the mic or doing a
collaboration with another member. The poetic verses shot through the
microphone with such electricity I1m sure goose bumps ran through everyone
there. The crowd was also very receptive and would often shout words of
encouragement to their poets onstage. It was hard for me to take notes as I
was too engrossed with the messages these poets were delivering.

Formed on July 7th, 2000, this group has come a long way. 3We
organized to come in here, representing the Pilipino community,2 says Jason
Mateo. They1ve performed in Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles, to name a
few cities. Asked why they haven1t performed in almost a year and a half,
Jocie replies, 3Some of us are moms or dads, or have families. We1ve got
jobs or school to go to.2

So what1s next for this talented group? Besides going to Los
Angeles to perform in November, the University of Hawaii has invited them to
perform on their campus. The problem is they have to come up with the funds
to go there. Hopefully if they can raise enough money they1ll be able to
spread their message. They1re an amazingly gifted group who should be seen
by everyone, Pilippino or not.


Sign-up for POOR email!