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Sound and vision with Sansó x Rega

By SCOTT GARCEAU, The Philippine STAR Published Oct 16, 2023 5:00 am

Did you know Filipino artist Junenal Sansó loved Aida? It was his favorite opera, says Fundacion Sansó director Ricky Francisco.

“Mr. Sansó loved music a lot. When he was here, during the time that he was still allowed with a doctor to stay with us, he listened to opera on YouTube. We didn’t have good speakers then, but he really likes music.”

The Presidential Medal of Merit Awardee would have loved hearing the famous opera over the new limited-edition Sansó x Rega, set up for a launch at Fundacion Sansó. Only 150 models were made by the UK manufacturer, bearing a print of Sansó’s sunny “Impact of Creation.”

The Sansó x Rega Limited-Edition Turntable System—a collaboration between Fundacion Sansó and world-class UK-based hi-fi brand Rega

Standing in Fundacion Sansó, with friends, artists, media and vinyl enthusiasts for the release of this special turntable, it’s Art Pepper blowing saxophone curlicues over a Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones rhythm section. But somehow it goes perfectly with this yellow-palette late work by Sansó. The artist retired to Manila in the 2000s and began rendering several lithographs from his Breton Series into paintings—reducing the palette to oranges, yellows and azure tones that are less moody than the earlier works.

Rega has been making award-winning turntables for over 50 years, and the pairing with a licensed work by Sansó makes perfect sense — sound and vision, with cool bop lines whirling through the air. After their successful collab with National Artist BenCab, Rega also dabbled with other musician tie-ups—including Eraserheads and Queen, we hear.

Art Pepper pairs with Juvenal Sanso pretty well, it turns out.

It’s for a very good cause. Fundacion Sansó hopes to raise P1.1 million from sales of the limited-edition Regas to help fund UP art scholars, a mission they’ve now institutionalized after giving grants to over 30 Fine Arts students from Bulacan State University, the Far Eastern University and the University of the Philippines. Earlier this year, Fundacion Sansó donated proceeds from its Masters Giclées to the Leo Abaya Thesis Grant of UPCFA.

It’s one of the most striking and friendly and happy works—it brings joy instantly when you see it.

Sansó was himself a UP Fine Arts grad, and made it part of his mission to give back to help art students achieve their dreams, even privately giving scholarships to promising students.

Picking “Impact of Creation” was easy, says Francisco. “It’s one of the most striking and friendly and happy works—it brings joy instantly when you see it.”

The sala of Fundacion Sanso with another Breton Series work in background

And “Impact of Creation” was one of the first images to be used by the Fundacion on plates and other memorabilia to help raise funds for scholarships. “It was very well received then, we thought making it into this turntable was a natural progression.”

Tying up with Rega was a no-brainer as well: “Some of our board members have been listeners, they have Rega turntables, so if they vouch for it, it must be good.”

Fundacion Sansó director Ricky Francisco

The limited-edition Regas are priced at P65,000, but you can get the whole system—including amplifier and speakers—for P126,000. “If we sell just the turntables, we’ll raise P1 million, so I think we’ll be safe. We’ll be able to support some scholars through their entire four years.”

Halfway into the evening, they’d already sold half the units.

For the Sansó x Rega launch, the museum walls were remade as music lounges lined with beautiful Sansó Breton House paintings from a private collection, and chill-and-listen stations set up by luxe German furniture brand KARE. Vinyl Lab Records added musical touches.

Rega Philippines’ Stephaenie Gan

During the program, Rega Philippines’ Stephaenie Gan talked about the history of the UK brand and demonstrated the dynamic sound quality of the Sansó x Rega Turntable. “Our products are completely handmade in the UK, we make sure our quality is the best. Our founder really believed no marketing can sell the turntables. So we don’t rely on marketing; when people hear the Rega quality, they buy it.” She says they were able to produce the special-edition Sansó x Regas in six months. Gan then demonstrated by dropping a needle on Art Pepper, before switching over to Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift, as the party continued with special cocktails supplied by Rémy Cointreau country lead Myke Soon (the Cointreau Fizz with Cointreau and Early Grey Tea; San-Rémy with St.-Rémy Brandy, XO and cold brew; and Black Storm with Mount Gay Rum and ginger ale).

Sound and vision—and a toast to a cool collaboration.