The word “Harana” is a Tagalog word that connotes a traditional form of courtship in which a man woos a woman’s affection by singing love songs. Music is our way of expressing our emotions as individual and even as a nation. Even revolutions and rallies have their own theme songs.
I remember clearly, around 20 years ago when I was able to watch Honorata “Atang” Dela Rama’s speech when she was proclaimed as a National for Music. She mentioned that we Filipinos are a musical race; you’ll hear farmers sing as they plant rice, a man hums a tune as he harvests his lansones, even the wives at home sings while preparing a meal. Very true. Even foreign artists and celebrities like Ellen and Patti Austin believe that we have the best singers because of our love of ballads and lyrics.
Ang Bagong Harana by the Philippine Opera Company showcases our musical roots and our musical journey.
The introduction started with a medley of favorite children’s songs that bring back the age of innocence. Songs that from anonymous composers, only passed on from generations to generation – “Penpen De Sarapen, Tilibum, Sitsiritsit, Si Filimon, Lubi-lubi and Leron-leron Sinta.
Followed by the ethnic songs that our ancestors chant. It includes the Cordillera and Maranao chants. Also added into the act was classic songs by Joey Ayala and Grace Nono. I was amazed at how the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group managed to move and dance like our ancestors. It looks so real.
Then we experienced the music of the traditional folk songs like Bahay Kubo, Magtanim ay di Biro, Dandansoy, Daagang Pilipina, Pipit, Pamulinawaen among others. These music represents the early years of the spanish occupation. Town fiestas and gathering were a charming evocation of the rural spirit.
The musical journey didn’t end there, Ang Bagong Harana also covers the revolutionary era during the Spanish, American and Japanese occupation. Songs during the vaudeville era like Waray-waray, Kalesa and others.
Ang Bagong Harana also paid tribute to Filipino Contemporary Music with songs by George Canseco, Willy Cruz and Ryan Cayabyab. Songs that probably led to my parent’s marriage, like Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, Sana’y Wala ng Wakas, Pangarap na Bituin, Ngayon at Kailanman and others.
I found myself singing every lyrics that I know humming every tune that I love. It ignited my the Filipino in me, the Filipino that was raised and nurtured through music. Ang Bagong Harana is must see, a tribute to a musical race.
Ang Bagong Harana will have a limited run on October 18 and 19 at 8PM and October 20 at 3:30PM at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati