“The Future is Intersectional” – Interview with Filipina-Canadian Artist Han Han

Han Han

Photo by Patrick Estebar, Styling by Jodinand Aguillon, hair/make-up by Charm Torres

This Sunday, Stern Grove Festival is presenting the U.S. debut of Filipina-Canadian artist, Han Han, who is opening for Anoushka Shankar, Land of Gold. We caught up with her to talk about her background, influences and creative process and as she prepares a new work commissioned by Stern Grove Festival for her performance on July 15, 2018.

How would you describe your music?

It is generally hip-hop but can also be considered world music (whatever world music means!). The words are written in two main Filipino languages, Tagalog and Cebuano, with a hint of English. The music itself is contemporary and urban with integration of traditional Filipino instrument sounds blending together smoothly. You can hear gongs, kubing and bamboo kulintang sounds if you keenly listen to the songs. The music is a reflection of our identity as Filipinos. We are “mixed-mixed”, in general, like a Halo-Halo Filipino dessert where you mix different fruits and other ingredients resulting in a sweet tasty blend that melts in your mouth.

How does being a Filipina-Canadian woman influence the music that you make?

Becoming an immigrant definitely influenced and encouraged me to start writing poetry which I later translated into music. My experiences as an immigrant, as a woman, and as a child of a single mother who was a Live-In-Caregiver in Canada and an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) were the inspirations to the songs in my first self-titled album, Han Han. Some songs were my social commentary to my culture and my culture’s mentality. Some are personal songs with words that I would like to tell myself.

Having experienced being deprofessionalized as a first generation immigrant, discriminated (even within my own community) and being a child of OFW parents, I became this poster child of young Filipino immigrants. I have accepted it. Writing in my own mother tongues is what I consider my own resistance against assimilation. Language and culture are intertwined. I certainly do not want to lose that connection between where I was born and where I am living right now. Lucky enough, Canada which prides itself on diversity, and living in Toronto, which is a very multicultural city, give me courage to do what I do. I am also lucky to have found a group of amazing, talented and creative individuals who are also seeking to connect with their roots through the arts. Most of them are second generation Filipino-Canadians. And perhaps, through my performances and music, I can show that when first- and second-generation immigrants unite, they can make magic. I was given the platform and opportunity so I took it with both hands and brought my community with me.

Han Han

Photo by Yasmin Samray

What can people expect to see for this performance at Stern Grove Festival?

Magic! There is always this shock factor from people who see us for the first time. This is my official performance as Han Han in the United States. We have been rehearsing and honing our set to give them the best possible show we can give. I will be performing with members from my Toronto art family collaborators, DATU and HATAW. Aside from music, there will be a lot of dancing, choreographed mainly by Fly Lady Di. All I want the audience to take from our performance is respect for our culture and community as Filipinos, both in the diaspora and in the Philippines. I hope they will also feel empowered and inspired because those are really the goals of our shows. We are just proud echoes of our ancestors. Lastly, I hope they enjoy it!

Stern Grove Festival has asked you to commission a new song with local dancers. Tell us about the piece and your collaborators.

I wrote a new song called “Take A Muna” in collaboration with a female Filipina-American DJ and producer, Gingee, who happens to be from Los Angeles. I met her last year and it just seems fitting to feature local California artists in both the music and performance. Jae Teosico (Barangay Dance company) and Stephanie Herrera (Kariktan Dance Company), who are both Filipino folk dancers from San Francisco will be dancing with me and my Toronto crew for the piece. So it will be a Toronto x Los Angeles x San Francisco collaboration. I don’t think that has happened before so it will be a first for us and for our communities to unite in one performance piece.

Listen to a preview of “Take a Muna”:

California is home to the largest Filipino community outside of the Philippines. It is only right to feature local California artists. I’m glad they all agreed to this performance. I strongly believe in collaboration because it empowers communities. My hope is we can manifest that strength in our show.

The song is about remembering to take a break from all the chaos in life. Filipinos are one of the most hardworking and kindest people on earth. Some of them work double jobs just to make ends meet and because they feel responsible to do so. I have experienced it myself when I was new in Canada. I take pride in those Filipino virtues. But sometimes, Filipinos need to be reminded that they deserve to take a rest too and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Life is too short. The song is written both in Tagalog and Cebuano with a “Tag-Lish” play of words from the Filipino phrase “teka muna”, which means “wait a minute or in a while”. In addition, Jae and Stephanie will be dancing to my song SIGE in the first part of the show. I wanted to give them the spotlight in their own locality. I’m excited to see what they will do. I rarely perform this song and this will also be the first time that I am performing it with dancers.

Tell us a bit about your creative process.

My creative process is not linear at all. Sometimes it starts with words then music, sometimes it is the beat that moves me to write. My inspiration is mostly drawn from my own experiences. For the most part, it’s all catharsis and introspection. I also like criticizing my own culture, sometimes with humor and sarcasm. Literature is also a source of inspiration for me. For example, the lyrics to World Gong Crazy has a lot of references to Jose Rizal’s and Lualhati Bautista’s novels. I wrote the song KaNaDyan in Balagtasan format to symbolize the tension between the dual identities of being Filipino immigrant to a foreign land (Balagtasan is a Filipino debate in poetic verses). So it all really depends on what I want to write about. The hardest part about creating something new is deciding if it is good enough to be heard by people or not. It’s scary. I’m a little insecure about my writing so I have to have a second or third ear to listen to it first as reassurance. I’m blessed to have Alexander Junior, my mentor and producer, be that ear. I trust his judgment.

What are you looking forward to for this performance?

It is one of our biggest shows yet, let alone outside the comfort of home in Toronto, Canada. I’m excited to see what San Francisco audiences are like. Also, I would like to see Filipinos in the crowd in as much as I want to see a very diverse audience. I think it is through music and the arts, in general, that we can bridge differences between cultures. The future is intersectional so I’m looking forward to the intersection of colors.

Han Han opens the concert on July 15 at 2 p.m. with Anoushka Shankar Land of Gold at Stern Grove Festival.

Meet Your Office Yoga Instructor: Cindy Raspiller

Cindy RaspillerJoin Office Yoga for a fun yoga flow this Sunday, from 12 – 1:00 p.m. in the West Meadow. Explore new movements with Cindy Raspiller, certified Office Yoga instructor before performances by Mexican Institute of Sound and Ginkgoa.

Cindy has been teaching for many years throughout the Bay Area. Learn more about Cindy and what you can expect on Sunday below:

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you start teaching yoga?

I started teaching yoga because I wanted to help others experience this wonderful practice. I pretty much started from zero (I couldn’t touch my toes for most of my life and have never been an athletic person) and found strength, flexibility, and a confidence in my body that I had no idea was there. Giving my students the tools to find their inner strength and feel comfortable in their own bodies brings me immeasurable joy.

2) What can Stern Grove Yogis expect from your class on Sunday?

Be prepared to have fun and move in creative ways! I incorporate unique transitions between poses into my yoga classes so that students can explore new movements and ranges of motion. It’s not all serious—I like to make my classes easy-going, fun, and maybe a little bit silly.

3) What do you love about teaching Office Yoga?

I love Office Yoga because it’s an opportunity to teach and reach students who really need functional movement—office workers! Sitting all day wreaks havoc on your body, and taking a break to move your body and calm your mind makes you feel soooo good—inside and out.

4) What’s your most memorable teaching moment?

I taught a class for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy at Land’s End—it was early morning, we were right on the ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge was in the background, the sea was full of boats and whales and seals, and my students were just in the zone. It was such an amazing moment—practicing in the great outdoors with great people just reminds you that we are all connected and everything is beautiful.

5) What pose do you love most right now and why?

The humble forward fold. Forward fold while standing. While sitting. While laying on my back. It’s about so much more than just your hamstrings—you can find length in your spine, stretch your shoulders, your hips. Give it a try. Stand up, fold in half, and hang out for a bit. Take your hands behind your head, or grab opposite elbows, or bring your palms under your feet. See where you can find length and ease. Ahhhhhh….

6) What can people find you doing when you’re not teaching yoga?

By day I work as a graphic and web designer—I have wonderful clients all over the Bay Area and the US. When I’m not yoga-ing I love to hike, read and cook, and I am a connoisseur of craft beer.

Classes are kid friendly and all levels. Spare mats provided by Office Yoga and Lululemon. See you in the West Meadow, Stern Grove Yogis!

Meet Your Office Yoga Instructor: Raquel Seeley

Office Yoga is hosting another yoga class this Sunday, July 1 from 12-1PM in the West Meadow. Raquel Seeley, certified Office Yoga instructor, will be leading a fun and playful flow before performances by M. Ward and Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Yoga has been such a great source of connection for Raquel. Listen more on what she has to share with you!

Classes are beginner and kids friendly. Spare mats provided by Office Yoga and Lululemon. See you in the West Meadow this Sunday, July 1!
Read more about Raquel here.

Festival Fashion with Macy’s and Girl and the Bay Blogger Mandana Ansari

Macy'sJoin us at the Impulse Department at Macy’s Union Square on Thursday, June 21 for a shopping party and check out the latest in festival fashion with local blogger Mandana Ansari of Girl and the Bay. Enjoy sips and sweets plus great gift-with-purchase treats!

While you’re there, enter for a chance to win* reserved picnic table seats and parking for you and five of your friends at Stern Grove Festival’s July 1st concert featuring M. Ward and Thao and the Get Down Stay Down.

RSVP: macyssterngrovefestival.eventbrite.com

*No purchase necessary to enter. See store for complete details.

Announcing the Food Truck Line Up for the Summer

Calling all Festival Foodies!

This summer, Stern Grove Festival is rolling in local food trucks every Sunday to round out your picnic in the Grove.

Phat Thai

From samosas to sundaes, falafel to chicken and waffles, tacos to Thai, there’s something to tempt your palate. Stop by the West Meadow at every concert for an array of tasty treats!

You can also visit Tante’s in the Esplanade for classic festival fare like garlic fries, burgers, chicken skewers, and more.

 

Here’s the food truck line-up for this summer:

June 17, 2018
Curry Up Now, The Waffle Roost, Frozen Kuhsterd

June 24, 2018
Little Green Cyclo, Caribbean Spices, Cochinita, Frozen Kuhsterd

July 1, 2018
Sajj Mediterranean, El Porteño, Humphry Slocombe

July 8, 2018
Phat Thai, Cochinita, Frozen Kuhsterd

July 15, 2018
The Waffle Roost, Curry Up NowTaqueria Angelica’s

July 22, 2018
Sajj Mediterranean, El Porteño

July 29, 2018
Curry Up Now, J-Shack, Frozen Kuhsterd

August 5, 2018
Caribbean Spices, El Porteño, Humphry Slocombe

August 12, 2018
Curry Up Now, J-Shack, Cochinita

August 19, 2018
Phat Thai, The Chairman, Humphry Slocombe

Food trucks are subject to change.

New This Summer – Free Yoga Classes at the Grove

Yoga at the Grove
Every Sunday at Stern Grove Festival

This summer, Stern Grove Festival is excited to announce a new series of free on-site yoga classes, provided by local business Office Yoga.

Office Yoga Building off the Festival’s belief that the arts help strengthen our community, Office Yoga will provide a fun, active opportunity for people to connect with each other, nature, and themselves. Yoga classes in the natural beauty of the Grove are a perfect way to strengthen minds, bodies, and our community. And, as with all of the Festival’s programs, the classes are completely admission-free to the public.

Initially, Festival Executive Director Bob Fiedler approached Office Yoga to develop a plan for Festival staff to help ease stress in the whirlwind of activity leading up to the season. When Maryam Sharifzadeh, CEO of Office Yoga, met with Bob to develop a plan for the staff, they also saw an opportunity to provide free yoga classes for Stern Grove Festival attendees.

Maryam says, “I believe in Stern Grove Festival’s mission of providing affordable events for residents and visitors of San Francisco while also maintaining the cultural reputation of this city. I’m humbled to be collaborating with such a historic event and enhancing the on-site experience through yoga.”

Festival staff have benefited already from Maryam’s stress-relieving classes in our office. We’re excited to collaborate with Maryam and the entire Office Yoga team to share yoga with Festival audiences this summer.

ABOUT YOGA AT STERN GROVE FESTIVAL

When are the classes?

Yoga classes will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. before each Sunday concert, June 17 – August 19, 2018.

Where are the classes?

The West Meadow at Stern Grove Festival.

Who teaches the classes?

Classes will be taught by certified Office Yoga Instructors and other reputable teachers in the Bay Area:

June 17: Brandi Zorzy

June 24: Michelle McManus

July 1: Raquel Seeley

July 8: Cindy Raspillar

July 15: Neil Wadhawan

July 22: Chelseah Healey & Ege Sanli

July 29: Martin Scott & Ege Sanli

August 5: Betsy Peterson

August 12: Charlotte Birkett

August 19: Maryam Sharifzadeh

 

Who can participate?

  • Anyone! No prior experience is necessary and all levels and ages are welcome.

What do I need to bring?

  • Please bring your own yoga mat if you can. A limited number of yoga mats will be provided.
  • Comfortable clothes and water.

 

 

 

Local Food Trucks at Stern Grove Festival’s 80th Season

A big part of Stern Grove Festival’s mission is to provide a space for local artists to showcase their talents. In a city with cuisine this diverse and impressive, San Francisco knows that art isn’t limited to the stage—it can often be found on our plates.

Back by popular demand, the Festival is partnering up with local food trucks throughout the season to bring you great local cuisine. Each concert Sunday from July 2 to August 27, visit the West Meadow to peruse the offerings from some of the Bay Area’s favorite trucks. We’ll also have classic Festival favorites from our longtime local partner, Tante’s, in the Esplanade (knishes and garlic fries, anyone?). Read on below to learn a bit about the food trucks, and check out some of our favorite items!


El Sur

July 2, July 30, and Aug 27
Handmade, locally sourced empanadas by Marianne Despres, a classically trained chef with roots in Argentina and France. When you're there (obviously ordering the empanadas, see below) be sure to admire the craftsmanship of their truck, a fully restored vintage 1970 Citroen H-Van that is the first of its kind in the SF Bay Area.

Our pick? As nothing pairs quite as well as music festivals and handheld food, we're obviously fans of the empanadas. Particularly, the Traditional: hand-cut Five Dot Ranch Beef, Onion, Oregano, Pimentón, Olive, Egg.



Empanadas in Menlo Park tonight! Find us @thewillowsmarket from 5-8 pm! #elsursf #empanadasargentinas


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The van looking good at Fort Mason A post shared by El Sur (@elsursf) on



Frozen Kuhsterd
July 2, Aug 6, Aug 20
West Coast Style frozen custard is Frozen Kuhsterd's "scoop-able experiment in indulgence." They partner with the best artisan purveyors to create magical desserts by taking frozen custard and adding fun, joy, and mischief.

With flavors like white coffee, spiced caramel apple, maple butter, and dozens more, it's honestly hard to go wrong. Frozen Kuhsterd also switches up their specialty offerings pretty often. Specifically, this Cornbread Sundae with a cornbread muffin and topped with whipped maple Butter and burnt caramel caught out eye:


Sajj Mediterranean
July 23, Aug 13
Mobile Mediterranean food brought to you! Nothing will warm you up on a cool Stern Grove morning quite like a shawarma wrap or falafel bowl (see below).

National Falalel Day is Monday, June 12th! Come celebrate with us and receive a free Falalel order with any meal purchase.

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Curry Up Now
July 9, Aug 20
Curry Up Now is taking traditional Indian cuisine and flipping the script by presenting the flavors in more approachable ways. Think deconstructed samosas, Indian-inspired poutine, and this tikka masala burrito:

#myhappyplace 🙏🏼

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The longest day of the year means you get to eat four meals, right? #firstdayofsummer #summersolstice #sexyfries

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Slider Shack
July 16, Aug 13
Slider Shack specializes in delicious sliders and other healthy Californian classics, with a Hawaiian twist. Outside of the intensely delicious flavors and high-quality ingredients, the best part about Slider Shack is the fact that you can hold two of these delicious babies in your hands at all times.

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Humphrey Slocombe
July 16
Whether it's 70 degrees without a breeze or Karl the Fog decides to hang, it's always #icecreamweather in San Francisco, and the amazing creators behind Humphry Slocombe know this. From their insane icy offerings to their more tame treats like this mango and strawberry margarita duo, there is surely a flavor out there for everyone.

Let's still hope for that sun... though.


Rocko's Ice Cream Tacos
July 23
OMG. Ice cream tacos? Made with local and organic ingredients? DIPPED IN CHOCOLATE? We're in. To top it off, Rocko's Ice Cream Tacos' business practices are a product of their core beliefs: that they should produce sustainable products while building strong relationships within the community. We're definitely in.

Look at all that delish! Available tonight at Off the Grid Haight market til 9p!

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Hey SF peeps! Did you miss us at Outside Lands? No worries. Make good tonight at Spark food truck park! #tacotuesday #🍦🌮

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Mattersons Jamaican Cuisine AKA Scotch Bonnet Food Truck
Aug 6
There's a special place in our belly for comfort food like jerk pork and fried plantain (see below). The Scotch Bonnet Food Truck serves up daily specials to ensure its followers get a wide range of popular, traditional, and exclusive Jamaican cuisine.

The term 'scotch bonnet' refers to the bonney pepper, a super-hot chili pepper that is found mainly in the Caribbean islands and is commonly used in jerk dishes. With a heat rating of 100,000–350,000 Scoville units, we can only imagine their offerings will warm you up on a chilly day.

Jerk Pork! SF LUNCH @ 25 Montgomery St. 12:30p-2:30p. AND @offthegridsf El Cerrito 5p-8p #jerkpork

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Chairman
Aug 6, Aug 27
An SF favorite, The Chairman food truck is the mobile alternative to Chef Hiroo Nagahara's popular brick and mortar spot by the same name. Nagahara was formerly restaurateur Charlie Trotter's executive chef at Bar Charlie in Las Vegas and partnered with food truck rental agency Mobi Munch to bring his food to the masses.

The food truck specifically offers Chinese bao, a steamed bun that can be filled with seemingly anything. Check below for their latest addition to the bao menu.


Johnny Doughnuts
Aug 27
Johnny Doughnuts' artisan doughnuts are handcrafted with the finest organic cool milled wheat flour and ingredients from locally sourced vendors. They produce a wide range of delicious things, from fritters, to raised doughnuts (light and fluffy), to crodoughs (croissant + doughnut), and more.

They love making doughnuts as much as we love eating them. A match made in heaven.

Get your jam on this Tuesday 💃🏽🎶🍩🍓

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Welcome New Executive Director Bob Fiedler

Much of Stern Grove Festival’s longevity can be attributed to one thing: heart. The heart of its founder, who shared her vision for access to the arts for all. The heart of its audiences and patrons, who have fueled the Festival with applause and donations for eight decades. The heart of its volunteers, who make a gift of their time and hard work. The heart of its dedicated staff and Board of Directors, who are committed to the organization’s success. And last, but not least, the heart of a leader.

Stern Grove Festival is excited to welcome (just in time for its 80th Season!) the organization’s new leader, Executive Director Bob Fiedler.

Read on to learn more about Bob and join us this summer to welcome him to the Grove!


SGFA: What makes a great leader?

BF: I think a leader is someone who can inspire groups of people around a mission – and that’s easier to do when you’re working with a tremendous mission like that of Stern Grove Festival. I think that if you burn with passion on the inside, hopefully you can get others to also come along for the ride and become advocates for the organization. Other important traits are being a great listener, being empathetic, and having strong emotional intelligence in order to care deeply about people and the organization that he or she is serving.

How do you think you will have the greatest impact on the organization?

I think first and foremost my passion for music will have a great impact on my time here. Music is an extremely important part of my life—it’s borderline sacred. It’s been hugely important to me in many, many moments of my life and has brought me some of my happiest times, as well as helped me through many difficult periods.

In addition, I think my overall non-profit experience will be a benefit. I’ve been around the block a little bit now, having run two different arts-based non-profit organizations and having over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. I think that all of those experiences have shaped me and given me exposure to lots of different situations that hopefully will serve me here.

What are you most looking forward to in your new position?

I feel extremely honored to have found myself in this position. In the last few days I’ve visited Stern Grove and have found myself pinching my arm, wondering how I got so lucky to be entrusted to work in such a magical place that is an important San Francisco cultural institution. Everything about the Festival—the music, the space, the tradition—it’s all of those things that I’ve been entrusted to take care of and shepherd into its next phase of existence…and I couldn’t be more excited and honored to do so.

I’ve been to a lot of concert venues around the country and I think the Grove is one of the most gorgeous settings in which you could listen to music. It’s that beauty—and the community—that make Stern Grove Festival such a special experience. I think there’s something wonderful about art and musical performance, in that it brings people together. It bridges cultural gaps, it bridges generational gaps, it’s the universal language, and it’s a very unifying thing. I am just so geeked that I get to be a part of this.

As a recent transplant, what do you like most about living in the Bay Area?

The Bay Area…what a special and unique place this is. Having traveled to over 30 countries, I’ve been to a lot of the major cities around the world. There’s no other place that quite combines such a desirable climate with this level of physical gorgeousness (the mountains, the redwood, palm and eucalyptus trees, the ocean, and the bridges) and with great people.

California is a pretty progressive place, but I think that San Francisco is the epicenter of that. There is a lot of amazing innovation and thinking that goes on here, and I couldn’t be happier to be here.

And last but not least, what concert are you most looking forward to this summer?

Well, I’m looking forward to all of the concerts for different reasons. But from a purely musical standpoint I think I’m most looking forward to our second concert of the season, July 2 with Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers and Fantastic Negrito. I love that they’re both local artists, and both have really great reputations within the music world. I’m also really excited for The Big Picnic on June 25th with Kool & the Gang, because it’s going to be a big shindig and a very well-attended show. That being said, I am truly looking forward to each and every show.


About Bob Fiedler

Bob brings over 20 years experience in the nonprofit sector, 13 at the executive level for two different arts performance/educational organizations. Most recently he served as the Executive Director of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP), a nonprofit performing and educational arts organization that presents dance performances and dance festivals, runs the American Rhythm Center dance school, and provides weekly dance education to public school students.

Previously, Bob was the Executive Director of The People’s Music School (TPMS), a prestigious community music school that provides ongoing music lessons for thousands of young people completely free of charge. TPMS also provides free concerts to the public, featuring nationally recognized artists and was on the forefront of bringing the innovative “El Sistema” music education methodology to the United States. While at TPMS, Mr. Fiedler worked very closely with the Ravinia Festival to bring hundreds of children to their summer concerts and help TPMS build orchestral programs in public schools. Prior to his tenure at TPMS, Mr. Fiedler was Development Director for REST, a community-based homeless services agency in Chicago. He began his nonprofit career with the Chicago Muscular Dystrophy Association, serving first as a District Director and then moving up to Regional Coordinator.

SGF News :: The Doobie Brothers Headline at The Big Picnic on June 14

The Doobie Brothers and The California Honeydrops

We’re excited to announce that rock legends The Doobie Brothers will perform at The Big Picnic opening day celebration at Stern Grove Festival on June 14, 2015. Local blues group The California Honeydrops will open the show.

Click here for more information about The Big Picnic.

Ben L’Oncle Soul returns to Stern Grove Festival this Sunday, Aug 10, as a guest of Monophonics

Some of you may remember the stellar performance by Ben L’Oncle Soul during Stern Grove Festival’s 74th Season. If you missed it, check out the video here for a glimpse of this French soul star.

We’re excited that Ben will return to Stern Grove Festival as a guest of our local friends, Monophonics on Sunday, August 10. Monophonics is just back from a European tour with Ben and we’re thrilled to welcome them home with this show! Monophonics will hit the stage at 2 p.m., followed by the legendary Darlene Love. Don’t miss it!