Dari Akar ke Mekar: Studying Filipino Traditional Music Cultures and Its Inspiration Towards Filipino Contemporary Composer

Gardika Gigih (Indonesia)

2024, UP Center for Ethnomusicology – The Philippines


During the DeCoSEAS Visiting Fellowship at the UP Center for Ethnomusicology, I first want to study the archives of Filipino traditional music cultures, from the “Jose Maceda Collection,” including the field recording and field notes, “Ramon Santos Collection,” audio, video collections, instrumentarium, and many more. 

Drawing from these points, I want to study how Filipino traditional music cultures inspired Filipino contemporary composers to find and shape their identities and voices in the contemporary art world. I will start this research by studying the works and thoughts of Jose Maceda and Ramon Santos, then the younger generation like Jonas Baes, LaVerne David C. de la Peña, Josefino Chino Toledo, and the composers in my generation. 

This study will be approached in several ways, including score studies – analysis, recording studies, learning archival and supporting references regarding the compositions, and also a crucial process: discussions with composers themselves during my stay in the Philippines. During these discussions and interviews, I want to know more about the composers’ thoughts on their creative process, inspirations and ideas from Filipino cultures and vice versa, and the meaning of being a Filipino composer in the contemporary art world and cultural discourses. 

Hopefully, this study can be shared and published later in the form of text (book) and audio-visual (documentary), and sharing sessions both online and offline with Indonesian, Southeast Asian, and composers from around the globe, ethnomusicologists, lecturers, and the general public who have an interest in this topic – to inspire each other in diversities.