Normally, I’m the first person who tries to make fun of somebody doing something worthwhile and as much as I’d like to mock up-and-coming Kansas City musician Barclay Martin for his recent musical outreach efforts, I actually think what he did was kind of cool.
In many parts of the the Philippines, desperate poverty and terrorism are part of daily life. The upcoming documentary, Zamboanga follows Martin’s journey through the southern region of the Philippines as he meets with the locals and puts on a concert that incorporates some of the native sounds into his music.
In addition to the intrinsic value of sharing music and culture, the movie was produced in order to showcase “the capability, dedication and joyful resilience of people impacted by poverty and war in the Philippines.” The movie was produced by The Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. However, from the quick clips and promos that I’ve seen online, it doesn’t seem like it’s the average missionary trip set to trendy music. There appears to be a genuine effort to get to know the people in the region and learn their story. In a recent chat with Martin, I noticed he kinda looks like Jesus Christ nowadays, but seems way more humble regarding his recent efforts.
“I was lucky to be a part of it, it’s probably the most important thing I have done or will do,” Martin said. “Meeting with so many people from the Philippines I felt lucky to experience their music and culture first hand. The opportunity to learn so much was amazing.”
Equally amazing is the concert that serves as the highlight of the documentary. Martin and other members of the production team were astounded that a jungle clearing was set up for the event and people from the far corners of the South Philippines made their way to the show. Martin said that the area was so remote, it’s probably all grown over now, but the clearing and concert spoke to the ethereal nature of culture in the Philippines, a country caught in the grips of violent conflict and poverty.
Kansas City residents will have a chance to check out Martin’s efforts soon. The Barclay Martin Ensemble will perform songs from the “Zamboanga: Poverty, War, Music” CD early next month at Johnson County Community College in Yardley Hall on Sunday November 8 at 5 PM. It’s an all ages show and will include special appearances by the choir and dance group from the Filipino Cultural Center of the Filipino Association of Greater Kansas City. The show is free but I have a feeling it’ll be pretty packed given the enthusiasm with which Martin has been talking it up around town and the fact that it’s a unique kind of project coming back to the Kansas City Area.