Grace Nono

Rhythms of the Earth

Those 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.

Grace's music combines indigenous folk instruments and melodies with a driving percussive beat and complex, unpredicatable arrangements.

Sensitivity and rhythm; harmony, passion and innovation run like a river through her songs. Delicate lines and primeval choruses blend, creating a work of beauty.

Breaking Barriers

Grace's 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.

Grace 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.

These and other songs take Filipino music much further down the road to self-awareness, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of cross-cultural fusion.

There 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.

by Nirmal Ghosh
1995

 



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