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Namamasko Po

Due to unforeseen circumstances this event has been CANCELLED.

Kuya James launched his debut album ISA at the incredible Pinoy Street Party during Darwin Festival, featuring some of the brightest young stars from the local Filipino community.

This month, he’s back with the Settle Down Sessions, Christmas party edition – and he’s bringing his friends Emcille, PHL the Beat, Point of Presence and more, with him. We caught up with him for a yarn.

What made you want to throw a Christmas party?
Well, it’s not really on brand for me – I call Christmas ‘Exmas’ [laughs]. In saying that, what I realised is that no one can go home this year. Christmas in the Philippines is huge, it actually starts in September. It’s so big, that when you walk the streets of Manila, there are lights and decorations everywhere. It’s full on.

I thought it would be a nice thing to do for the Filipino community, to put on a Christmas concert and showcase local Filipino talent. We spoke to DEC about the Settle Down Sessions, so throwing a Christmas party made sense. It’s all about celebrating community and storytelling, and Filipinos can share with everyone what Christmas is for them. I think it’ll be a real feel good event because of that.

Your dad, or Tatay, is your poster boy. Tell us about that…
Basically I thought to myself, “what would be a cool poster?”. I wanted it to be Christmassy, but I didn’t want to be on it myself. I thought that my Dad looked a bit like an old, wise, Asian, Miyagi-looking Santa…

Brad Firebrace, who runs Barunga, found this Bah Humbug hat in the [Skinnyfish] office, so we put it on Dad and turned it around so you couldn’t see the writing and took a photo. Then Caiti [Baker] designed the poster.

I think he loves it? I sent him a photo of it on the screen at DEC, and he just said, “What is going on?” [laughs]. He sort of trusts me but he knows I tease him a bit. He can be a serious man but he’s got a great sense of humour, a bit tongue in cheek. He’s also a preacher so a lot of people were asking if it was a Christian event, so it’s been a bit funny explaining that one.

Pinoy Street Party was a hoot and a half, and this performance looks to feature much of the talent from the night – is this all-in community collab something we can expect to see more of?
Yeah I think so. I definitely think, since Pinoy Street Party, community members are starting to feel seen, like the word’s gotten around. PHL the Beat’s been booked for a few gigs since then. It’s kind of like saying, “hey Darwin, do you know this is in your town?”

I think of how the parents of those young kids – who have come from nothing – will feel to see their child on stage, under lights at The Playhouse. I think of my own father’s journey and what he might feel when he sees me perform, how different my experience has been than his. My community deserves a place in the Darwin arts scene and the people of Darwin deserve to experience it.

Due to unforeseen circumstances this event has been CANCELLED. 

Settle Down Sessions: Kuya James presents “Namamasko Po”
WHEN THU 17 DEC | 7.30-9.30PM
COST $35

Photo: Jett Street
Poster: Caiti Baker

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