Grace Nono to Perform Sacred Songs in Sept 22 Festival
by The FilAm, A magazine for Filipino Americans in New York
September 14, 2012

Songs for the Beloved, an intimate concert that features Philippine oral traditional songs with sacred themes, will be performed by Grace Nono, together with fellow Filipino artists Charles Wandag and Bo Razon. This event will take place at the Renee Weiler Concert Hall of the Greenwich House Music School at 46 Barrow Street, on September 22, at 8 p.m., as part of the Locating the Sacred Festival.

Originally from the island of Mindanao, Grace has been studying the performance of oral traditional chants from oralists, ritualists, and healers from different parts of the Philippines for over 15 years. She has been performing this repertoire to audiences with her intertribal and interfaith touring group led by her long-time musical collaborator/director Bob Aves. Grace has also written two books related to Philippine oral traditions, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in ethnomusicology at the New York University.

Photo by Isa Lorenzo

U.S.-based Philippine musicians Charles Wandag and Bo Razon have toured with her in Europe and Asia. Razon, a multi-instrumentalist and multi-media director will be performing the ‘laud,’ a long-necked guitar from the rondalla ensemble, the ‘tugtugan,’ Tagalog skin drum from Batanes, among other instruments. Wandag, also a multi-instrumentalist, an instrument maker and visual artist, originally from the Cordillera region, will be performing Kalinga chants and instruments like the ‘tongatong’ or stamping tubes, the ‘gangsa’ Cordillera gongs, as well as his versions of Philippine boat lutes. The Songs for the Beloved concert is made possible in part, thanks to the support of Ms. Josie Natori.

“We, performing artists from the Philippines, are proud to contribute our songs to this festival; songs that evoke the feeling of lands, histories, spirits, many of them muted, marginalized, yet never silenced, always carrying the sonic memory of relations that continue to be the wellsprings of our present lives,” said Grace.

The Locating the Sacred Festival is a 25-event, 12-day festival that takes place in all five New York boroughs from September 12 to 23. It is a collaboration between artists of all disciplines with traditionally and non-traditionally sacred spaces all across the city, exploring together the meaning of the word “sacred” and its relevance in their communities. The festival opens on September 12 at the Church of the Ascension in Greenwich Village. The festival is coordinated by the Asian American Arts Alliance, a non-profit organization that for 30 years has supported individual artists and small arts groups in New York.

“This amazing festival showcases the diversity and talent of the Asian American community, which now makes up more than 1 million people in New York, or 13 percent of the population,” said Andrea Louie, executive director of the Alliance. “The festival aims to promote artists as agents of change, demonstrating the power of art and culture to unleash imagination, break down barriers, and connect communities together for the greater good.”

Photo by Megan Wandag

For additional information, visit Locating the Sacred or the Asian American Arts Alliance.

Photo by Judy Razon

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