Author: mujestic

Traditional Musical Instruments of The Philippines

The indigenous instruments of the Philippines and the unique sounds play a very important role in the Philippine’s culture and also to the tribes in Philippines in their ceremonies, rituals and celebrations. There are very very many such traditional instruments and among them I have discussed them below.

1. Kulintang
This is a set of five to nine pieces of gongs that vary in sizes and sounds. They are commonly used by the natives of Maguindanao, Meranao and Tausug. They are horizontally aligned next to each other on a rack in order of their pitch. The rack is usually made of bamboo or wood while the gongs are made of brass and bronze. They are played during weddings, festivals and healing ceremonies.

2. Kudyapi
This is a stringed wooden lute usually played by men when singing loved songs. There is an equivalent one played by female called Korlong. Korlong is played with both hands like a harp and made of bamboo. The strings are traditionally made with abaca fibers or horse hair, but modern versions of the Kutiyapi use wires like a guitar.

3. Tongali
Tongali is a nose-flute played to mimic a mournful human voice. The flute has three or four holes where hands are placed. Another hole is found about midway on the flute’s bottom where the thumb is placed to change the tone and pitch of the flute. Although it gives off a low, mournful, sound, the Tongali often played during celebrations, special meals, festivals, the planting season, and in courtship.

4. Dabakan
This a traditional drum often played along Kulintang. The body is made from coconut or jack fruit wood that’s hollowed out but the drum head is made from deer hide, carabao skin, or goat skin but the best are made from lizard or bayawak skin. Some say that the music it produces can help with overcoming anxiety, like in panic away. But what is panic away? Find out more here.

5. Luntang
The instrument is played either by a single person or two people sitting on either side. It’s often used for self-entertainment, keeping farmers awake while scaring birds off the fields. It was also used as a form of long distance communication. The Yakan use it in ceremonies, especially in courtship rituals.

Philippines musical instrument were however played for a purpose and during different occasions.

The Story of RJ Sin


Born and raised in Oakland, California. Ratha Jim Sin better known by his stage name RJ Sin, started writing poems at the age of 15. later venting them onto beats and generating into songs. RJ always had the passion for music; his father is a musician and is part of a band name “Ankor Wat Band.” one of the more popular and well known band in the bay area. Though RJ does not play any instruments he picked up the biggest tool that his father could’ve past down. The art of singing, rapping, in both Khmer, and English. He has performed at various community events, open mics, and college campuses. Through his music, RJ hopes to inspire and up lift people regardless of their race and age. By addressing the life struggles of Cambodian Americans, social problems, and problems within the community. He uses this as a story to tell the world, how things are on his side of the “planet.” By blending old school Khmer music mix with modern day music, his lyrics speaks volumes in both Khmer and English.


Press Contact: [email protected]/[email protected]
Booking Agent: Vannary Diep.

Talented Trio of Universal Speakers

Vice | Versa | Versatile

Universal Speakers, 3 females hailing out of Long Beach, CA, with the sounds of reggae, hip hop and R&B extracting from their souls. With the support and love that they get from their fans, these ladies push forward the positive vibes of music. Having performed at various places such as festivals, night clubs, bars, and lounges, for the pass few years they have built themselves a solid fan base. Using their own creative motto of “you can find US between the mic (mUSic)” has set them to establish their own sounds and styles.

Trio forges bond of music as Universal Speakers

By Greg Mellen, Staff Writer


From left, Sarah Yem-Groveunder, Sokvy Ngong, and Lisa Mony use water bottles in place of microphones during practice as they often do when they don’t want to drag out all the equipment, in Sarah’s Long Beach home. (Steven Georges / Staff Photographer)

LONG BEACH – They flop out on a couch, tell stories and finish each other’s sentences.

They work on dance routines and sing with water bottles as makeshift microphones in a bedroom converted into a rehearsal studio.

They pull beats off the computer and write their own lyrics, creating a sound that is a kind of a mix of pop, reggae and hip-hop.

Initially they bristled a bit at the pop designation, but have come to embrace it – mostly.

In short, Sarah Yem-Groveunder, Sokvy Ngong and Lisa Mony could be any trio of Long Beach teenagers or early twentysomethings with starry-eyed fantasies of stardom.

So it’s a bit of a shock when you learn two of them are 29, one recently married, and the other is 28.

On this night, all have come from their full-time jobs to Yem-Groveunder’s apartment to rehearse, as they have done regularly in the 13 (13!) years they have been singing together as Universal Speakers.

But it’s not just about romantic dreams of stardom for the three. Their passion for music is enduring and they are driven to succeed. The trio just released a third album, “Universal Love,” and plan a formal release party in September.

They still get in as many gigs as they can, mostly embracing the pop image. It fits their youthful appearance – all three could still pass as high schoolers, and many of their songs are about those timeless teen themes of love and angst.

Also, Yem-Groveunder says their fan base is mostly in the young set.

The new album has more of a reggae feel, in part because, Yem-Groveunder jokes, “When you’re old in reggae, it’s cool. If you’re an old rapper, they look at you weird.”

“When we tell (fans) we’ve played together over 10 years they say, `You’re old,”‘ Ngong jokes.

High school union

The daughters of Cambodian (Yem-Groveunder) Lao (Ngong) and Thai (Mony) parents, the trio got together as a singing group soon after Yem-Groveunder’s 16th birthday party. Yem-Groveunder had wanted to form a band.

Problem was, she says, although she enjoyed writing songs, her singing voice was lacking.

“I’d tell them I want it to sound like this, and they’d laugh,” Yem-Groveunder says. “They still do.”

She surreptitiously used a karaoke machine at her birthday party to scout talent and recruit her friends into the group. They’ve been together ever since.

The three started practicing and playing music together after school almost nightly. But if you would like to train your voice like they did, visit superior singing method by aaron anastasi here.

While Cambodians, Thai and Lao have been known to feud in Southeast Asia, the blending for the three girls, all daughters of refugees, has been seamless.

The only people to whom their nationalities are an issue are elders.

When the group was to play at the Cambodian New Year festivities at El Dorado Park this year, Yem-Groveunder says a member of the Cambodian Coordinating Council suggested they not mention their differing heritages.

“He said, `We’re not getting along with the Thai right now,”‘ she recalls, referring to an ongoing border dispute between the two countries. The trio say their differing heritages should be celebrated, not withheld.

When asked if their parents had any misgivings about the union, Yem-Groveunder gave an emphatic “No.”

“They were just happy we stayed at home together,” she jokes.

Blended styles

From left, Lisa Mony, Sokvy Ngong, and Sarah Yem-Groveunder. Their music, a blend of reggae, rap and hip-hop, has recently been released locally and the three continue to work to make their way in the music world. (Steven Georges / Staff Photographer)

The three bring different sensibilities to the group. Ngong was a fan of Missy Elliott and Long Beach’s own Snoop Dogg.

“Snoop Dogg taught me how to rap,” says Ngong, who says she would play his music, imitate it until she had it down pat, “then I’d put in my own words.”

Mony, who was influenced by Mos Def and Yem-Groveunder takes influences from Bone Thugs ‘n’ Harmony.

Individually, Ngong, Yem-Groveunder and Mony go by the handles of Vice, Versa and Versatile, respectively.

The trio first hit the stage when Cambodian rapper PraCh Ly introduced them at an event he hosted at New Paradise restaurant in Long Beach.

Yem-Groveunder said the girls were intimidated until they heard one of the other acts and realized they were better.

Up until then, Ngong says, “everything was just for fun, we (sang) it for friends. PraCh said `You should do it (professionally), We said, `OK.”‘

The group’s first album was “No Hard Feelings,” officially released in 2004, followed by “Joint Project” in 2005.

They still have to pay for the production of CDs, then sell and market the discs themselves at shows, fairs and events. Their music is also available online on their Web sites: and They can also be found on CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes and Rhapsody. And the group has posted videos on youtube.

Yem-Groveunder and Ngong also have clothing line called Raga Muffins.

Yem-Groveunder recently married musician Scotty Groveunder, who performs on some cuts with the group and co-wrote several songs under his performing name “Dub Passenjah.”

When not singing, all three women work full time: Yem-Groveunder is a marketing coordinator for trade shows; Ngong is a registered dental assistant; and Mony works in international purchasing.

But when they get together, the years, the jobs, the struggles melt away and, water bottles in hand, they are forever young, lost in the infectious beat of their music.

The Healing Fields of Long Beach’s Cambodia Town

mujestic-ocweeklyThe next generation of the city’s Cambodian-American
community steps up to help its elders—and itself.

By MICHELLE WOO Thursday, Nov 29 2012

PraCh Ly drives his black Mercedes SUV down Anaheim Street in Long Beach on a warm Thursday afternoon, passing clusters of storefronts with barred windows and squiggly Khmer script. He gazes at the familiar businesses—fabric shops selling jewel-toned sarongs, DVD stores plastered with posters promoting the latest Cambodian titles, and restaurants serving up plates of fresh lok lak beef salad and bowls of mango sticky-rice pudding.

“Over there is where you go after coming back from the clubs,” he says, pointing to the nondescript bakery-turned-nightspot Bamboo Island. “You can sing karaoke until, like, 3 a.m.”

This is Cambodia Town, the heart of Southern California’s Cambodian community, the largest such enclave in the United States, and one of the largest on Earth. And the 33-year-old Ly (he goes by praCh; the spelling is his own) is perhaps its most famous ambassador, a rapper who became an accidental superstar in a country he only knew about through library books and fragmented family tales.

“Just like any other community, we’ve had our struggles,” Ly says. As he turns the steering wheel, he reveals the tattoo on his wrist: an image of the Angkor Wat temple beside a tank. “When people got here, they were literally fresh off the war and mentally all screwed-up. We’ve had to rebuild a sense of trust.” ( READ FULL STORY )