To quote my mentor, Harry Thomas ’78, “set no barriers to what you can learn.” This has certainly been a grand experience. I’d like to thank my family, friends, teachers, mentors, and everyone who helped me on my journey of musical and cultural understanding. And with everyone I mean everyone, I have learned so much from everyone from security guards, to cab drivers, to the nice woman who xeroxed copies of scholarly articles and music for me.
In the Philippines, I have found musicians who have created a school of thought dedicated to preserving the notions of Filipino traditions strewn all across the whole country, opening a gateway into the soul of how Filipinos feel and operate, a notion of transcendence of the routine and the ritual. They have dedicated their work to outlining not only what type of music Filipinos play but also why they play it. I am still surprised with what I have found during my stay. The collective response on the state of Filipino music prior to my research was “Asian mixed with Spanish music.” But I have learned the Philippines ought to be examined beyond labels of having mixed Spanish and Asian heritage or a densely populated country in Southeast Asia. The same musical has been played in these islands for the past four thousand years and what has come and gone in between has created a cumulative experience anchored in tradition and each generation adding their own respective stories to the fold. What I have discovered is far more complicated then that and that has made this trip all the more worth while.
Maraming Salamt! (Thank you very much)
Paul Fontelo '13