Philippine vocal music is as varied as the numerous islands that comprise its archipelago. Though traditional folk songs are a rich confluence of the country’s colonial and indigenous past, it remains distinct from its various influences. Those featured in this album cover several provinces across the country’s major regions (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao), each detailing rural experiences that capture not only pastoral imagery but the Filipino traits of love, community, the penchant for humor and play.
After several periods of powerful colonization, a movement against western musical traditions began to grow in the early 20th century. Composers pursued the restoration or re-creation of a musical identity that was truly Filipino, much of which was greatly based on themes and rhythms established by traditional folk music. The Philippine Art Song around such a time was born. Slow and sentimental, these art songs not only aimed to glorify the talents of local composers and lyricists, it actually celebrated the achievement of a unique Filipino musical identity. Such musical nationalism eventually carried on decades later with popular songs that catered to a wider audience, infiltrating various media like TV, film, and radio.
This album features an array of some of the Philippines’ premiere composers and arrangers to tackle setting the folksongs and art songs for solo recital. These include Ed Nepomuceno, John August Pamintuan, Nilo Alcala, Joy T. Nilo, Priscilla Magdamo and Nhick Ramiro Pacis