On Saturday, February 26th at 7:30 pm, soprano Leslie Damaso will perform at Collins Recital Hall on the UW-Madison campus together with the genre-busting combo Mr. Chair and violinist Sahada Buckley. Titled “Sirena,” the program will weave together Filipino myths and legends about mermaids with jazz-inflected arrangements of kundiman, Tagalog-language art songs of love and freedom. The sounds of kulintang gongs, which Damaso learned to play through virtual lessons during the COVID lockdown, will add their own distinctive resonance to the music, and the multimedia performance will include projections of baybayin, calligraphy in the indigenous Tagalog alphabet. “Sirena” forms part of the inaugural Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Festival of the UW-Madison chapter of the Music Teachers’ National Association. Damaso and Mr. Chair’s bassist Mr. Chair joined Peter Haney in a prerecorded interview for WORT’s Back Porch Serenade to discuss the project. Curious about what jazz-inflected kundiman might sound like? Check out Mr. Chair’s YouTube channel for a recent video shot in Mineral Point.