Rondalla Club of Los Angeles
The rondalla string ensemble was introduced in the Philippines through Spain’s 350 year colonial rule of the islands. Consisting of guitar, 4-string bajo de uñas, 14-string bandurria, 14-string laud, and the original Pilipino-created instrument, the 14-string octavina, the rondalla has become an integral part of Pilipino cultural life.
The Rondalla Club of Los Angeles (RCLA) was formed in 1991 in Los Angeles through the efforts of the late Nitoy Gonzales, former Rondalla maestro of the famed Bayanihan Dance Company from the Philippines; Leonilo “Boy” Angos; and Tagumpay “Pi” M. deLeon. RCLA is widely recognized as one of the leading rondallas in the United States. It has been a familiar fixture in the Los Angeles Pilipino community, performing in celebrations like fiestas, weddings, and other civic and social events. Combined, RCLA’s four core members have over 140 years years of exceptional rondalla playing experience between them, having toured, performed, and educated extensively.
In 2012, RCLA received a grant from ACTA’s Living Cultures Grants Program to support Kuwerdas Amerika (Strings in America), a project to sustain, strengthen, and develop the Pilipino rondalla musical traditional in California and throughout the United States. Through this project the creation and conservation of instruments will be undertaken. An online building blog will be published for the community and for disseminating knowledge to the field. Traditional artist and Pilipino-American luthier Ray Varona will be advisor to the project.