by Kiko Matsing

Watched the Philippine Madrigal Singers last Saturday at the Copernicus Theater in Chicago.

Here are clips of my favorite pieces:

Mga Katutubong Awitin (Philippine Traditional Songs)

From the program notes: Polka sa Nayon (arr. Fabian Obispo); Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut, arr. Christopher Borela); Chitchiritchit (arr. Anne Nepomuceno).

Koyu No Tebulul (T’boli)

From the program notes: Koyu No Tebulul (Eudenice Palaruan, b. 1968) is a choral arrangement of a traditional folksong originating from the T’boli tribe living in the southern part of the Philippines. It translates as: “There is a beautiful tree on top of the mountain. It has soft leaves and needle-like thorns. It has soft leaves and needle-like thorns. I wish to climb that tree on the mountain. A bird rests on its branches. How I wish I can catch the bird but I know I cannot.”

Kaisa-isa Niyan (Maguindanao)

From the program notes: Kaisa-isa Niyan (Nilo Alcala, b. 1978) is a children’s game tune from Maguindanao, southern Philippines. This setting recreates the layers of intricate rhythms of Maguindanao Kulintangan composed of the Agung, Dabakan, Babandir, and the melodic graduated bossed gongs known as Kulintang. It also employs foot stomping, clapping, and shouting as part of the music’s playful character, yet within the bounds of the regal disposition of the Maguindanao people. The play chant translates as: “Only one, only two, only three; Four work alternately; Five, too heavy, it disturbs; Six, a sound so loud; Seven, a dragon; Eight pounds heavily; Nine, a box; Ten, a drawer.”

Cancion Filipino

From the program notes: (arr. Arnold Zamorra) This medley of classic Filipino love songs spans several decades. These are just some of the most poetic songs ever written for Philippine movies: Pakiusap (Plea); Maala-ala Mo Kaya (Do You Remember); Minamahal, Sinasamba (I Love You, I Adore You); Kapantay ay Langit (As High as the Heavens), Sana’y Wala ng Wakas (Wishing for Endless Love).