Rondalla Club of Los Angeles (RCLA) was formed in 1991 in Los Angeles through the concerted efforts of the late Nitoy Gonzales, former Maestro of the famed Bayanihan Dance Company from the Philippines, Leonilo “Boy” Angos—also a former member of Bayanihan, son of Nitoy Gonzales—and Tagumpay “Pi” M. de Leon, son of the late Philippine composer and national artist, Felipe Padilla de Leon. In partnership with longtime member Patrick Tanega, RCLA was established as a non-profit organization in 2008, strengthening its role as a resource to the community.
The rondalla string ensemble was introduced in the Philippines through Spain’s 350-year colonial rule of the islands. Consisting of guitar, 4-string bajo de uñas, 14-string bandurria, 14-string laud, and the original Pilipino-created instrument, the 14-string octavina, the rondalla has become an integral part of Pilipino cultural life.
In 2012, RCLA received a Living Cultures Grant from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) in support of Kwerdas Amerika, an instrument-building project organized by the US-born members of the ensemble to develop, strengthen and sustain the Pilipino-American rondalla tradition in California and throughout the United States.
Through progressive studies and an applied historical perspective, RCLA continues to be the face of rondalla music in Southern California, performing at countless festivals and cultural events as well as various social and civic functions. Characterized by a signature, highly-improvised style, each RCLA performance is a unique musical conversation.