This would be another photo-narrative that would detail our actual presentation last November 26, 2010 in Brisbane (University of Queensland). As an academic, I thought that the Narrative Inquiry in Music Education (Narrative Soundings) conference would be the perfect venue to share our research with Mr. Noel Cabangon primarily because (1) we conducted a narrative analysis of the lyric-text of his music and (2) we have done a narrative life history interview that looked into his developmental trajectories as an artist and his motivations and engagements as he creates his music.
I have personally been listening to Noel’s music for the past ten years, thus one can safely claim that I have had “musical immersion” for the longest time – and doing this research makes perfect sense, since I am not really an outsider looking in so to speak. I still remember quite vividly those smoky, smog-filled, tightly-packed Wednesday evenings in 70s bistro. Thus, I was witness to Noel’s pathways as an artist and am aware firsthand of how meaningfully he connected with his audience.
A collaborative analysis with Noel of his music shows that his songs reveal themes such as (1) valuing of human rights (2) raising awareness of environmental issues and concerns (3) diaspora of Filipino talents (4) day to day experiences and struggles encountered by the ordinary Filipino citizen and (5) solidarity and sense of community and (6) an agentic call for social change and a cry of empowerment to bring about the nation’s progress.
It has also been exciting to document his motivation in creating the music that he does, his “flow” experiences as he engages with his art form and his personal philosophy as a musician and a singer-songwriter. We are also excited to put forward a different kind of talent development model that may be more attuned with the sociocultural realities of artists who are coming from a developing country.
As academic collaborators of Noel in this wonderful project, we hope that we were able to capture his experiences in its multibodied form and that we were able to represent his voice fully in our narratives. Noel’s unassuming, self-effacing, and grounded nature is a testament to his creation of music that radiates from somewhere true, genuine and not contrived in the least. It was such a privilege and simply a joy to have worked with Noel. I am truly looking forward to our academic/musical collaboration in Berlin for the 6th International Arts Conference in May 2011. I know that May will be here before I know it. In the meantime, here are more pictures from our presentation.