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Joseph Legaspi

Songs From Home: Art Songs and Folk Songs from the Philippines

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Entrepreneur of the Week

Joseph Legaspi is a doctoral student in voice at the Jacobs School of Music, and is the owner and president of Mariqueño Music, LLC.  The company is committed to promoting artists and music from the Philippines through recording and publishing music.  The record label’s first venture is an album called Songs From Home: Art Songs and Folk Songs from the Philippines, which will be formally launched on October 8, 2011 at 7pm, at St. Paul Catholic Center.

Songs From Home: Art Songs and Folk Songs from the Philippines

 Philippine vocal music is as varied as the numerous islands that comprise its archipelago. Though traditional folk songs are a rich confluence of the country’s colonial and indigenous past, it remains distinct from its various influences. Those featured in this album cover several provinces across the country’s major regions (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao), each detailing rural experiences that capture not only pastoral imagery but the Filipino traits of love, community, the penchant for humor and play.

After several periods of powerful colonization, a movement against western musical traditions began to grow in the early 20th century. Composers pursued the restoration or re-creation of a musical identity that was truly Filipino, much of which was greatly based on themes and rhythms established by traditional folk music. The Philippine Art Song around such a time was born. Slow and sentimental, these art songs not only aimed to glorify the talents of local composers and lyricists, it actually celebrated the achievement of a unique Filipino musical identity. Such musical nationalism eventually carried on decades later with popular songs that catered to a wider audience, infiltrating various media like TV, film, and radio.

This album features an array of some of the Philippines’ premiere composers and arrangers to tackle setting the folksongs and art songs for solo recital. These include Ed Nepomuceno, John August Pamintuan, Nilo Alcala, Joy T. Nilo, Priscilla Magdamo and Nhick Ramiro Pacis

Other upcoming projects of Mariqueño Music, LLC

Singing in Filipino

Philippine Art Songs have not found their way yet into the cognizance of international audiences. This is due largely to a small number of Filipino singers, conductors and teachers outside of the Philippines.  Amid this unfortunate circumstance, Filipino classical voice music remains a unique sort, with a plethora of different genres encompassing art songs, opera, as well as choral music—all waiting to be revealed to the listening world.

The book will feature the necessary aspect of the Filipino phonology. It will tackle its direct application to Filipino songs with the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).  The goal of this book is to spark the interest of both singers and teachers in Philippine vocal repertoire.

The Songs of Nicanor Abelardo 

The kundiman is a genre of Filipino traditional songs written in Tagalog.  It was elevated into an art song at the end of the nineteenth century.  By the early part of the twentieth century, Filipino composers like Francisco Santiago and Nicanor Abelardo formalized its musical structure.

The songbook will contain fifteen songs by Nicanor Abelardo with IPA transliterations, word-for-word and poetic English Translations and notes.  Helpful instructions for using the IPA for the Filipino language will also be included.

The Songs of Nicanor Abelardo (Compact Disc/Digital Downloads)

The Songs of Lucio San Pedro (Compact Disc/Digital Downloads)