Tag: Odette Keeley

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Guest Columnist: The Scars Left by Typhoon Ketsana/Ondoy on My Family in the Philippines

By Odette Keeley, New America Media news anchor and producer

Residents of a flooded village cope with a fifth day under water after typhoon Ketsana swept Bulacan province in the Philippines. (Photo: Catholic Relief Services/flickr)

Residents of a flooded village cope with a fifth day under water after typhoon Ketsana swept Bulacan province in the Philippines. (Photo: Catholic Relief Services/flickr)

As Tropical Storm Ketsana’s –“Ondoy” in the Philippines– destruction made headlines all over the world on Monday, Sept. 28th, I could not reach my family in the Philippines. Power and phone lines were down in Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces where my family lives, and cell lines were clogged.

My sister in Los Angeles, “Ate” Reby, had only gotten a text message from my mother the night before: “Reby, pinasukan ng baha yung bahay. Lubog yung kotse. Kami ng daddy na-stranded sa bubong…” [Floods entered the house. Our car is submerged. Your father and I were stranded up on the roof].

Reby and I thought it unimaginable that they would be trapped on our own roof, which tops a two-story house on the highest point of the subdivision. Finally I reached my sister Jocelyn and in subsequent conversations with my mother, both of us often breaking down in tears, we were able to piece together their terrifying tales. For the first time since any typhoons hitting the Philippines, my family found themselves in Ground Zero, as if they were in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

My mom and dad, both 77, live in Park Place Executive Village, Cainta City in Rizal province, east of Manila. My eldest brother Angelo lives with them, my other brother, Pio Jr., lives a street away, and my sister, “Ate” [a Filipino term for elder] Jocelyn, lives with her family in the next town, Brookside. These towns were two of the most heavily flooded areas after Ketsana.

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Queen of ‘Jazzipino’ Charmaine Clamor Breaks Ground in America

This is an excerpt from a story on New America Media. Reproduced with permission.
By New America Now TV. Anchor & Producer: Odette Keeley. Videographer & Master Editor: Mike Siv. Editor: Jeremiah Ysip.

OAKLAND, Calif. — Many jazz artists and aficionados consider jazz as the immigrant’s music — embracing and absorbing into a big pot, the many styles, elements and talents coming from musicians from all over the globe.

Charmaine Clamor, recently hailed as America’s leading Filipina jazz and world music vocalist, believes the “Filipino spice” may have found its renaissance in this pot in recent years, through the hybrid genre she created, “Jazzipino”. It’s a blend of the soul and swing of American jazz with Filipino music, languages and instruments. It’s the perfect pairing of her two great loves, Clamor says – of jazz and her Filipino soul, and it has catapulted her into the American jazz stratosphere.

Multi-Awarded Filipina Artist Breaks New Ground With “Jazzipino’ from New America Media on Vimeo.

Now living in Los Angeles, Clamor was born in the Philippine town of Subic-Zambales, and her mother, a soprano singer inculcated in her a deep love for the Great American Songbook and Filipino music. Clamor relates that growing up, their home was filled with jazz and opera, alongside Philippine kundimans (torch songs), harana songs (serenades) and folk music.

In 2007, Clamor’s second album, “Flippin’ Out,” made the Top 5 on both JazzWeek’s World and Traditional Jazz radio charts simultaneously. And in 2008, her third album, “My Harana: A Filipino Serenade” made the Top 10 in the world music charts, making her the first Filipino to place two consecutive albums in the Top 10 world music radio charts.

She has been featured in several Filipino-American and mainstream media, including ABS-CBN International – The Filipino Channel, Asian Journal, NPR, BBC, the Los Angeles Times, L.A. 18, and has become one of the Philippines’ newest singing icons.

Clamor has also received numerous prestigious awards here and in the Philippines including as the “Philippines Pride – Best Jazz Singer” from FAMAS – the Philippine equivalent to the Oscars, as well as a 2009 Asian Heritage Award in the Performing Arts, organized by ASIA Magazine.

Visit New America Media to read the complete story.