of the Earth
who go to see Grace Nono sing are pilgrims. Like the singer herself,
they are touched by the rhythms of the earth. Grace's voice is raw
and deep, tangible, rooted in the earth like the lush green bamboo
in one of her songs. Her voice reaches skywards and bends with the
wind, swaying back to give shade to the seeker and the traveller,
to the mother with her child.
music combines indigenous folk instruments and melodies with a driving
percussive beat and complex, unpredicatable arrangements.
and rhythm; harmony, passion and innovation run like a river through
her songs. Delicate lines and primeval choruses blend, creating a
work of beauty.
work has been called alternative music. It is ironic that art so close
to the basics should be called alternative, but this is not about
labels. The sound stands for itself, for the Grace Nono her followers
know: focused, passionate, sensitive and emotional, strong and supple.
is committed to her heritage, and to issues as wide as ancestral land
rights and as singular and basic as a mother's love for her child.
and other songs take Filipino music much further down the road to
self-awareness, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of cross-cultural
is no voice in the Philippines quite like Grace's. It is one of the
few voices that seeks tradition and keeps it alive while expressing
it in a modern framework.