Kate Ceberano’s touch of magic at Adelaide’s Cabaret Fest

This year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival oozes with oomph and sense of ‘the adventurous, exotic and the divine’. The magic is superbly and subtly laced with the finest in music, of which stands out a Filipino touch.

Top billed as its feature is world famous Miss Lea Salonga. Behind the marvelous run of events is vivacious Kate Ceberano, the festival’s artistic director, and herself – one of Australia’s toast of celebrity in the art and music industry.

The ‘star’ of the Filipino as a presence to reckon with in the global arena of entertainment has come a long way. While Manny Pacquaio in sports continues to make waves in the world of boxing, Jessica Sanchez from the American Idol fame has audiences around the world enrapt with her divine singing. In Australia, it rekindles an old magic – that of Pilita Corrales, the first female recording artist in Australia (late 1950s-60s, Melbourne), who herself is Filipino.

It also reaffirms pizzazz and vitality in Pinoy musicality – a Pinoy source of pride. To many Filipino art and music aficionados, it is not surprising at all that in the arts as well as other areas of entertainment, there seems to be always, somehow, a traceable name to a Filipino presence with a strong foothold of influence in the standard of performance and quality of music.

With ‘Pinoy talent’ as the anchor for the innate cultural pride that always fires up curious excitement to search for more of them, Kate Ceberano was then sought for a number of questions.

In a letter interview with Kate facilitated by Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s Publicity Executive Alex Schulz, Kate talked about the cabaret festival and spoke highly of her Filipino connection.

Norma Hennessy: “As the Artistic Director of the Adelaide cabaret Festival, what have you observed so far as the difference this year’s festival had with those of the previous years? What is this year’s motivating theme for you?”

Kate Ceberano: “I started by defining the word ‘Cabaret’. The dictionary simply states, ‘Entertainment provided with food and beverages’… Of course this is the simplest definition, but it allowed me to imagine outside of the box re: content.

From there I travelled to the turn of the century to the Moulin Rouge, through Germany and the Weimar era, I looked into the history of cabaret in New York during the 20s 30s and even earlier to the goldmines of Victoria to the world of Lola Montez.
I imagined the kind of artists that surrounded these environment, painters, poets, singers, dancers and started curating from there. Starting with the aesthetic hence, David Bromley.”

N.H.: “How do you gauge Adelaide audiences and the local music aficionados in terms of what you observed as their ‘mind set’ as spectators and lovers of art and music, in comparison with other audiences in Australia and other places?”

Kate Ceberano: “So far I can sense Adelaide has a certain commitment to the arts that appears to be distilled in this town. It does seem to be owned by the Festival fever and it is an exciting place to be a part of.”

N.H. : “Lea Salonga made reference to you being a Filipino during her performance. Was being part Filipino also factor why you brought Lea Salonga – a Filipina, as ‘toast’ of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival this year? Do you have artist-to-artist relationships established with other Filipino international music artists, Broadway or international film industry personas? If so, who with and please comment.”

Kate Ceberano: “It was such a tremendous honor and delight to host Lea. I’m delighted that she is Filipino, very proud of that fact, She is also clearly the greatest star in her genre! And the crowds went bonkers for her gracious beauty.
As a person so unaffected, natural and authentic. What’s not to love about that!!!!! I have another friend David Pomeranz, who is not Filipino but is a big star over there. I look forward to hosting him here one year too.”

N.H.: “Heard that you have a musician (guitarist) brother who is performing at this festival. What is his repertoire and the schedule of his show/s? And are there others in your family who are big into music and musical performances, too?”

Kate Ceberano: “My brother is performing in his own duo, a French bassist and DJ and they are performing most nights in the backstage club.

He is also performing in the Ziggy band with a cast of other great performers, Steve Balbi, Jeff Duff and Brydon Stace. A great show and a great form of contemporary cabaret.”

N.H.: “You’re in the international circuit of artists – do you have plans of performing in the Philippines as well? If so, when and where? Or if not, will you be in any production (concert, Broadway, etc) anytime soon elsewhere apart from Australia?”

Kate Ceberano: “As yet I have no plans to be performing in the Pines ( although I would LOVE to). I will be performing with the AuzOpera in their production of South Pacific, which is pretty exciting.”

N.H.: “Will you continue to be Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s Artistic Director in the future?”

Kate Ceberano: “Yes, I will have this post for as long as they’ll have me… I simply love giving great artists gigs and delivering great artists to audiences who I know will love. A very satisfying gig.”

N.H.: “You are partly Filipino/American by descent. Filipinos all around Australia and elsewhere take pride about that in you as they do of your talent and the status you have achieved. Can you coin a phrase or two in response or as a reaction to that, please?”

Kate Ceberano: “I love being part of a culture that is romantic, passionate, musical, expressive and talented!!!!! Filipinos are all of the above and the best parts of me and I love spreading the word as far and wide as I can.”

***Kate’s photos: Courtesy of Adelaide Cabaret Festival – Marketing and Corporate Relations Department

The writer with Kate Ceberano and Lea Salonga  // Photo: Lorenz Mendoza
The writer with Kate Ceberano and Lea Salonga // Photo: Lorenz Mendoza

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4 Responses to "Kate Ceberano’s touch of magic at Adelaide’s Cabaret Fest"

  1. Romy Cayabyab
    Romy Cayabyab   June 28, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for sharing another beautiful story, Norma.

    • Norma Hennessy   June 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      It’s always a pleasure to be able to share beautiful discoveries, Romy.

  2. Lutgarda Espiritu-Pendleton   June 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I am so proud of kate ceberano for accepting her roots and heritage. I found out Ms Kate Ceberano was borne and bred in Melbourne, Australia from a British-Australian mother and Hawaiian – borne Filipino father. It shows in her heritage that music is in her blood. Cheers and mabuhay ka, Ms Kate Ceberano. Good onya.


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