Jungle Boys

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The Jungle Boys is an makeshift band of percussionists from across the Philippines. Their rehearsal space is the beach. Reporter Philip Martin brings us this audio postcard.

KATY CLARK: We close today's program on a beach in the Philippines. A makeshift group of percussionists practice there. These drummers are known locally as The Jungle Boys. This audio postcard comes to us from reporter Phillip Martin.

PHILLIP MARTIN: I'm at a popular spot on the beach between a rock cliff and the sea. It's filled with Filipinos, Australians, Japanese, Chinese, Americans and visitors from everywhere it seems. All dancing barefeet in the sand with sound of drums. The Jungle Boys are a loose band of percussionists from across the Philippines.

BUGS ABONAN: They're in different parts of the Philippines. Like someone from Visayas, someone from Luzon, someone from Mindanao.

MARTIN: And this is where they all met, says [PH] Bugs Abonan, one of the members of the band.

ABONAN: We're [INDISCERNABLE] and then we fall in love, we stay. We know how to play music and then we jam. No background. As long as you know how to play instruments then [SOUNDS LIKE] we'll take it.

MARTIN: Bugs has been in Boracay since 1996. He says drums, any kind of drums, are what holds the group together.

ABONAN: Drums. Like indigenous instruments. [INDISCERNIBLE] you find on the beach, [SOUNDS LIKE] shells, [INDISCERNIBLE] you can use it to make music, no?

MARTIN: What kind of drums are we looking at here?

ABONAN: African drums.

MARTIN: So you've African drums and you got what else?

ABONAN: [SOUNDS LIKE] Djembe drums from our native Philippine culture. Whatever, as long as it sounds good, it's okay.

MARTIN: One local bartender describes The Jungle Boys as a loose collection of surfers, poets and bohemians. And at any given time their ranks swell with newcomers.

ABONAN: Yeah, and do this and then they stay here and then be part of our group also. Family. Maybe staying for six months and you been with us every single day jamming. Oh, it's like part of the group. German, Australian, American, different kinds of members.

MARTIN: As long as they can play the drums?


MARTIN: The Jungle Boys seem content to make music and little else on this south Asian island. Have you thought about recording a CD?

ABONAN: We don't have yet cause everybody's having fun. We know we can do that if we do it seriously, but we don't have to spend time such things, cause we're happy every moment already.

MARTIN: For The World, I'm Phillip Martin, Boracay, the Philippines.

CLARK: And so, we'll end today's program on the beach. Don't forget the sunscreen. From the Nan and Bill Harris studios at WGBH in Boston, I'm Katy Clark. We're back tomorrow.