Photo from Bambooman.com
The “Pangkat Kawayan” (literally ‘Bamboo Band’) otherwise known as the “Singing Bamboo of the Philippines ” is a unique orchestra that draws music from unconventional bamboo instruments. This orchestra is composed of musically – talented students from the elementary schools of Quezon City and Manila whose ages range from 8 to 19 years.
The orchestra is managed by Victor O. Toledo, conductor and musical Director. The same group has led the orchestra through the years since September 6, 1966 when it was founded.
The group’s musical instruments, numbering more than a hundred, are made of six genera of the versatile bamboo in various sizes, shapes and designs. Included are the bamboo tube or “bumbong,” the bamboo marimba or” “talungating,” the bamboo piano or “tipangklung,” the bamboo flute or “tulali,” the bamboo knockers or “kalatok,” and the bamboo musiscal rattles, the Philippine “angklung”. Completing the bamboo assortments are the drums, cymbals gong and triangle.
The forte of this bamboo band is native Philippine songs, mostly folksongs from different regions of the country. However, the group’s repertoire also includes folk melodies from other countries, modern and popular music and some light classics. (Source: Bambooman.com)
Mabuhay ang Pangkat Kawayan!
The rondalla is performed on ensembles comprising mandolin instruments of various sizes called bandurria, which are composed on the Iberian tradition. The Philippine rondalla, which is of Spanish origin, also employ other instruments such as guitars.
The rondalla is an ensemble of stringed instruments played with the plectrum or pick and generally known as plectrum instruments. It originated in medieval Spain, especially in Aragon, Murcia, and Valencia. The tradition was later taken to Spanish America and elsewhere.
The word rondalla is from the Spanish ronda, meaning “serenade.” One of the famous rondallas in the Philippines is Pangya Philippine Normal University Rondalla and Angklung Ensemble (Source: Wikipedia)
Mabuhay ang Philippine rondalla!
CD jacket of a Kundiman collection
The kundiman is a lyrical love song made popular in the Philippine Islands, which dates back to the Spanish period.
Composed in the Mexican-Spanish tradition, kundiman music is characterized by a minor key at the beginning and shifts to a major key in the second half. Its lyrics depict a romantic theme, usually portraying love, passion, or sadness.
In other styles of the harana or kundiman tradition, the music is based on a love story. Almost all traditional Philippine love songs in this genre are portrayed with poetic emotion.
Long live the Kundiman!
Sample a kundiman performance here by Pilita Corrales, Kapantay Ang Langit :
Bayan Ko (My Country) is one of the most recognizable patriotic songs in the Philippines that, because of its popularity, is sometimes assumed to be a folk song and the unofficial national anthem of the Philippines. It was originally written as a poem by José Corazón de Jesús in 1929, and set to music by Constancio de Guzman.
Written as a protest song during the American occupation of the Philippines, it is often sung in protest rallies and demonstrations throughout Philippine history, notably during the funeral of Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr. and the ensuing People Power Revolution of 1986 where Freddie Aguilar led the crowd to sing the song’s chorus.
Due to the song being used against the Marcos dictatorship, the Martial Law era saw the banning of most public performances of the piece; anyone who dared to sing or play it in public was deemed a dissident and could potentially have been incarcerated.
The song has also been re-arranged and recorded by different composers and singers, notably by Lucio San Pedro (National Artist for music) and Freddie Aguilar. Aguilar’s cover is one of the most famous renditions of the song; an often overlooked detail is that the instrumental section of this version is actually another Filipino patriotic hymn: Pilipinas Kong Mahal. (From: Wikipedia)
Long live Philippine music!
Link to Freddie Aguilar’s version at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtLWCY8O0us&feature=related