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Tradition and Innovation: People, Places and Practices of Bamboo Music in the Philippines

22 August 2022
10:00 - 11:00 hrs (GMT+7)

This presentation introduces a new publication from the UP Center for Ethnomusicology. Intended for general readers, the book is the culmination of 32 months of intensive work by the Bamboo Musical Instruments Documentation Team comprised of 8 music ethnographers working with 31 local experts, meticulously chronicled by essayist John Joseph Coronel and stunningly curated visually by artist John Cinco. In this publication, care was taken to present a whole picture of bamboo music in the country. Focus was given not just to bamboo sounding objects and products, but to the lives of the musicians and manufacturers, their communities, and the social and historical context of the music practice. Purposely produced as a popular research output, the book responds to a dearth of public knowledge on bamboo instruments in particular, and Philippine music in general.


Due to a lack of restrictions associated with other types of instruments, such as those made from brass, bamboo instruments easily lend themselves to innovation and creativity. This volume is replete with narratives of inventive individuals and communities that have discovered and devised novel ways of crafting bamboo and presenting it in performance adapted to various unique needs and contexts. Used both in the service of crafting a national musical identity and in the service of appropriating the colonizer’s expressive forms as an act of resistance, bamboo musical instruments tell the story of the Philippine people.


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