Voicing The Ancestral Sacred: Grace Nono and Ensemble


Grace Nono, Charles Wandag, Bo Razon, and Faisal Monal, will give voice to Philippine oral traditional chants with sacred themes that were taught to them directly by elders in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. They will perform these chants at a time when these are not taught in most schools, when these are almost not heard over the radio and television, and when there is very little support for communities--themselves burdened with serious threats to their ancestral domains, militarization, mining, and cultural disparagement--to transmit them to the new generations. For Grace and her ensemble, singing these chants is their contribution to the collective prayer for peace and the survivance of indigenous lands, cultures and peoples of the Philippines.

The Philippine islands—home to hundreds of ethnolinguistic groups and subgroups with cultural links to other Southeast Asian peoples—have ancestral sonic landscapes that emanate from the continual acts of relations, exchange, conflict, negotiation, and celebration, between humans, ancestral spirits, earth deities, animals, birds, winds, rivers, and other elements of creation. These sonic worlds have become increasingly muted over the last six hundred years. With the coming of new sonic economies introduced by Islam in the 14th century; Spanish Catholicism in the 16th century; and American Protestantism, rapid industrialization, and contemporary globalization in the 20th century, came the gradual receding of these ancestral sounds and voices—even in their hybrid forms—to underground spaces.

Today, a growing number of younger generation Filipinos and Filipino descendants in the Philippine diaspora are revisiting and reconfiguring fragments of these ancestral sonic landscapes. They are also reclaiming the sacredness of these sounds and voices as points of communion between spirits and humans, ancestors and offspring, and between peoples from different ancestries.

Makinig. Pamati. Listen.

Audio: "Buntag Na" by Voicing the Ancestral Sacred (2 min., 27 sec.)


In conjunction with the exhibition Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms, on view September 11, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

Can't make it to the program? Tune in at AsiaSociety.org/Live on Friday, October 30 at 8:00 pm New York time for a free video webcast.

Event Details

Fri 30 Oct 2015
8 - 9:30 p.m.

725 Park Avenue, New York, NY

Buy Tickets
$22 members; $26 students/seniors; $30 nonmembers.
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