Mindanao ‘tribal musicians’ build peace via ethnic songs PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 23 February 2013 11:06

Twenty eight young musicians from Mindanao’s different non-Moro indigenous communities are now being trained for an April 25 “peace concert” that would highlight ethnic songs depicting how their tribes have been  co-existing under centuries-old traditions.

Oblate priest Eduardo Vasquez, executive director of I-Watch Productions, said the training is the second in a three-part part series, which aims to propagate a deeper public understanding of the social, political and religious mechanics of indigenous communities through songs that tribal musicians can compose.

I-Watch Productions is a special media documentary productions outfit of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) congregation, which is focused on tri-media reportage and documentation of Mindanao’s unique religious, cultural, and socio-economic and political settings.

The I-Watch Productions has also been continuously documenting the impact to the local communities of the Mindanao peace process, focusing on the efforts of “stakeholders” to help foster peace and solidarity among the culturally-diverse Southern communities.

Vasquez said this month’s special training for the 28 young tribal musicians is on song composition and production of information-education-communication (IEC) materials as mediums for indigenous music.

The contents of the songs to be composed are to depict the issues and concerns besetting lumad communities, among them “development aggression,” or the dislocation of indigenous people (IP) owing to the exploitation of natural resources in their tribal domains by outsiders and private profit-oriented entities.

Some of the songs being composed now by the 28 musicians are also to relate how the IPs view the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro, which the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front crafted on October 15, 2012.

Many IP leaders in Mindanao have been urging the government and MILF panels to provide a “space,” where Mindanao’s centuries-old non-Moro groups can continue to thrive, in a Bangsamoro region. 

Vasques said the 28 musicians will also be trained on how to upload to social media websites their documentaries for wider circulation.

“Based on a survey, 70 percent of the YouTube viewers, mostly the youth, watch music videos. If we upload videos of indigenous music that would mean we would be getting a share of the YouTube viewers. By doing that, we would be making lumad music known, not only in the Philippines but in the whole world,” Vasquez said.

The tribal musicians and artists’ development project of Vasquez is being funded by the United States Embassy and benefactors from the United States, mostly friends of the OMI congregation.

The 28 artists are comprised of ethnic Tedurays from North and South Upi in Maguindanao; T’bolis from South Cotabato; Dulangan-Manuvus and Aromanon-Manuvus from North Cotabato, and Tagakaolos from the Davao provinces.

The final phase of their training, according to Vasquez, is a concert on April 25, which will cap the celebration of the seventh anniversary of the I-Watch productions and launching of its new recording studio inside compound of the OMI-controlled station dxND in Kidapawan City.