Fil-Am rock band Dakila returns to LA after 40 years


LOS ANGELES—Dakila, the legendary but short-lived band that both delighted and mystified audiences with their unique Filipino Latin Rock sound, will return to Los Angeles for the first time in four decades.

The crossover pioneers will perform exclusively at the 22nd annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture, September 7-8 at Pt. Fermin Park, 807 Paseo del Mar, San Pedro, California.

“A generation of Filipino Americans mention Dakila with fond reverence,” said Jilly Canizares, FilAm ARTS executive director. “(FPAC) is beyond proud to present them after 40 years, and now other generations can see and hear for themselves why they were so popular in their era.”

Formed in 1971, the San Francisco-based group uniquely fused rock, funk, soul and Latin to a historic, major label-signing and album release on Epic/Columbia (now, Sony Entertainment) Records—among firsts for an Asian American/Filipino American group.

Originally comprised of David Bustamante (guitar/vocals); Rome Bustamante (organ/vocals); Bert Ancheta (guitar/vocals); Fred Ancheta (bass); Frank Magtoto (drums); Michael Gopaul (timbales/vocals) and Carlos Badia (congas), Dakila (Tagalog for “great” or noble”) is perhaps best remembered for its 1972 album S/T.


Popular attraction


The band was a popular attraction at various musical festivals and concerts, touring the nation with the likes of Malo and Buddy Miles and opening for Cal Tjader, Jose Feliciano and Cheech and Chong among many acts.

The band was invited to perform at various California universities and colleges at the onset of the formation of Filipino American campus clubs and organizations.

Recently re-forming after four decades, the band is being rediscovered by old fans and discovered by new ones.

“The last time (the band) played in LA was 1973, and we co-billed with Johnny Nash (“I Can See Clearly Now”) at the Whiskey A-Go-Go on Sunset,” recalls original member David Bustamante. “To say we’re excited at coming back is an understatement. We’re very excited.”

Balisong contest

In addition, FPAC 22 will also see the debut of the “Best Balisong in the West,” a unique competition highlighting the uniquely Filipino bladed weapon, the balisong.

According to filmmaker/editor Paul Factora, the event’s organizer, balisong flipping is a popular subculture among martial artists around the world, gaining popularity via exhibition videos on YouTube.

The competition will present unique, high-level and crowd-pleasing displays of what many consider to be among the deadliest of bladed weaponry.

Both events take place as part of FPAC 22, which also features comedian Rex Navarrete, the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) and continuous entertainment on two stages over the course of two days.

Books, author signings, arts and crafts and a large array of traditional and contemporary food, music and artistry ensure that there is something for the entire family to enjoy.
FPAC is the largest and longest-running, Filipino American community tradition in Southern California, presenting over 500 artists and culture bearers from across the nation every year.

FPAC 22 is produced by FilAm ARTS, the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts & Culture, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and sponsored by the City of Los Angeles, LA County Arts Commission, California Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, California Community Foundation, Toyota, The Getty Foundation, LA-18, Mavshack, The Asian Journal, Weekend Balita,, Oishi Media, The Philippine Department of Tourism, Western Union, The James Irvine Foundation, and LEAP, Inc.

For more information or questions, please visit, or call the festival offices at (213) 380-FPAC (3722).

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  • walaywalay


    Dakila was a (LOCAL) San Francisco band composed >>mostly (NOT ALL) of Filipino-Americans. NEXT YOU WILL CALL THE BLACK EYED PEAS A ”FIL-AM” BAND!
    They began their career as an early Santana “cover band” called Soul
    Sacrifice. One of the original members was conga player Raul Rekow, who
    went on to perform and record with Malo and Sapo before spending much of
    the past 31 years in Santana (Raul had already left the band before
    this LP was recorded).

    Michael Gopaul who played the timbales had a stroke and will not be with the band they escaped the RP in 1972 copied Carlos Santana music made 1 album and you call them ”LEGENDS”? give BLUES MAGOO a break–not 1 song off that album broke the top 100 on the 1972 billboard charts–LEGENDS?

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