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After 40 years, legendary Fil-Am rock band Dakila returns to Los Angeles at FPAC 22

Pioneering crossover band and 1st ‘Best Balisong in the West’ competition are latest add-ons to lively festival weekend


Fil-Am rock band Dakila

LOS ANGELES – Dakila, the legendary but, ultimately, short-lived band that both delighted and mystified audiences with their unique Filipino Latin Rock sound, will return to Los Angeles for the first time in four decades.

The crossover pioneers perform exclusively at the 22nd annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture, September 7-8 at Pt. Fermin Park, 807 Paseo del Mar, San Pedro.

“There is a generation of Filipino Americans who mention Dakila with fond reverence,” said Jilly Canizares, FilAm ARTS Executive Director. “(FPAC) is beyond proud to present them after 40 years and now, other generations can see and hear for themselves why they were so popular in their era.”

Formed in 1971, the San Francisco-based group uniquely fused rock, funk, soul and Latin to a historic, major label signing and album release on Epic/Columbia (now, Sony Entertainment) Records – among firsts for an Asian American/Filipino American group.

Originally comprised of David Bustamante (guitar/vocals); Rome Bustamante (organ/vocals); Bert Ancheta (guitar/vocals); Fred Ancheta (bass); Frank Magtoto (drums); Michael Gopaul (timbales/vocals) and Carlos Badia (congas), Dakila (Tagalog for “great” or noble”) is perhaps best remembered for its 1972 album S/T.

The band were a popular attraction at various musical festivals and concerts, touring the nation with the likes of Malo and Buddy Miles and opening for Cal Tjader, Jose Feliciano and Cheech and Chong among many.

It was also at this time that the band was invited to perform at various California universities and colleges at the onset of the formation of Filipino American campus clubs and organizations.

Recently reforming after four decades, the band are being rediscovered by old fans and discovered by new ones.

“The last time (the band) played in LA was 1973 and we co-billed with Johnny Nash (“I Can See Clearly Now”) at the Whiskey A-Go-Go on Sunset,” recalls original member David Bustamante. “To say we’re excited at coming back is an understatement. We’re very excited.”
In addition, FPAC 22 will also see the debut of the “Best Balisong in the West,” a unique competition highlighting the uniquely Filipino bladed weapon, the balisong.

According to filmmaker/editor Paul Factora, the event’s organizer, balisong flipping is a popular subculture amongst martial artists around the world, gaining popularity via exhibition videos on Youtube.

The competition will present unique, high-level and crowd-pleasing displays of what many consider to be among the most deadly of bladed weaponry.

Both events take place as part of FPAC 22 which also features comedian Rex Navarrete, the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) and continuous entertainment on two stages over the course of two days.

Books, author signings, arts and crafts and a large array of traditional and contemporary food, music and artistry ensure that there is something for the entire family to enjoy.
FPAC is the largest and longest-running, Filipino American community tradition in Southern California, presenting over 500 artists and cultural bearers from across the nation every year.

FPAC 22 is produced by FilAm ARTS – the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts & Culture, a non-profit 501©(3) organization, and sponsored by the City of Los Angeles, LA County Arts Commission, California Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, California Community Foundation, Toyota, The Getty Foundation, LA-18, Mavshack, The Asian Journal, Weekend Balita, BakitWhy.com, Oishi Media, The Philippine Department of Tourism, Western Union, The James Irvine Foundation, and LEAP, Inc.

For more information or questions, please visit www.filamarts.org, or call the festival offices at (213) 380-FPAC (3722).

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