Conferences and Events

Semantics and Soul in Pinoy Music Presentation – 3rd International Music Conference

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.

Preparing for our presentation.. it's show time.

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.

Our Musician's Hands that Paint Music in Red, Blue and Yellow

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.

Prof. Tuting Hernandez' part on the semantic narrative of Noel's lyric-text
Before I went "on-stage" for my part on creativity, flow, and talent development
Noel's first song was Kayod Kabayo, Kayod Barya (Work Like a Horse, Work for Coins) - for the narrative theme "Daily Struggles of Ordinary Filipino Citizens"
Second song was "Tungo sa Pagbabago" (Towards Change) for the narrative theme Agentic Call for Social Change
Another song was Ilocano Reggae (Panawenen) for the narrative theme Solidarity (that song came before this one here on the photo)
Final Song is "Oyayi sa Mundo" - Lullaby to the World for the narrative theme Awareness of Environmental Issues and Concerns
My attempts to capture Noel’s artistry
We are truly privileged to have one of the most easygoing (and highly talented) artists to work with in the Philippines. Brings us so much pride.

Here is a short video clip of his song “Tungo sa Pagbabago.” I apologize though for not stabilizing the camera (my hands were shaking) and there were occasions when Noel was not really in the center of the frame – must really stick to reading and writing and not video-recording. Hahaa. At any rate, enjoy Noel’s music.

Lyrics to Tungo sa Pagbabago (Towards Change)
Lumingon sa ‘yong paligid     Look around you
Buksan ang mata’t isip           open your eyes and your mind
At iyong makikita                    and you will see
Kay daming batang lansangan  street children abound
Bahay na nagsisiksikan   Slum dwellings filled with people
Di tiyak ang kinabukasan   The future is uncertain
Bakit mayayaman lang   Why is it that only the rich
Ang lalong yumayaman   becomes richer
At ang karamihan   and everybody else
Labis ang kahirapan   is poverty-stricken?
Dapat na tayong lumaya sa kawalan   We should be free from this abyss
Iwaksi ang katiwalian   fight injustice
Tuloy pa rin ang laban   our struggle continues
Tayo’y kumilos na!  It is time to take action
Tungo sa pagbabago  Towards change
Para sa pagbabago  for change
Ngayon na, ngayon na!  Now is the time!
Tungo sa pagbabago  Towards change
Para sa pagbabago  for change
Bayan ko, ngayon na!  My country, now is the time!
Ang pagbabagong nais mo sa ‘ting bayan  the changes you wish for our country
Sa sarili ay dapat nang simulan   should start from within you
Dapat ipakita na kaya nating mabuhay   we should show that we can live
Ng marangal, matapat, mapagmahal at mahusay
with honor, truth, excellence and love for others
Kaya’t kumilos na!  Now is the time to move
Ang bawat bata’y dapat nasa eskwela   Every child should be in school
Nang kinabukasan ay mayrong pag-asa   to ensure our future
Trabaho at bahay sa bawat Pilipino   employment and shelter for every Filipino
Nang paglikas ay unti-unting mahinto   to lessen migration to other countries
Yaman ng bayan ay dapat pakinabangan   everybody and not just a few should
Ng buong bayan at di lang na iilan   benefit from our nature’s resources
Dagat, bundok, gubat, ilog at kapatagan   take care of  the seas, mountains,
Gawing ligtas at dapat pangalagaan   forests, rivers and plains and preserve their bounty
Ang hustisya ay dapat mamayani   justice should apply equally
Mayaman ka man o mahirap na uri   to the rich and the poor
Utang ng bayan na baya’y di nakinabang
foreign debt that was stolen and not used for   the country’s benefit
Dapat nang putulin at hwag nang bayaran   should be repudiated
Karapatan ay dapat nating igalang   we should respect human rights
Karahasan ay hwag pahintulutan   violence should never be allowed
Digmaan ay dapat nang malunasan   and conflicts should be resolved
Kaunlaran, kapayapaan, pagkakaisa   for progress, peace, solidarity
At wastong pamamahala ng pamahalaan   and good governance
Tayo’y kumilos na!  It is time to make a change!
Tungo sa pagbabago  Towards change
Para sa pagbabago  for change
Ngayon na, ngayon na!  Now is the time!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “Semantics and Soul in Pinoy Music Presentation – 3rd International Music Conference

  1. Pingback: AFCC 2012 Update 2: Snippets from the Parents Forum, Celebrating Singapore’s Stars, and an Evening with Noel Cabangon and Candy Gourlay «

  2. Pingback: [Photo Journal/ A-Z Photo Challenge] Q is for Queensland |

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