Lea Salonga’s ‘Bahaghari’ album a collection of folk favorites

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Proud to sing in the languages of her parents and friends. Photo: Leasalonga.com

Proud to sing in the languages of her parents and friends. Photo: Leasalonga.com

Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga has released an album of Philippine regional folk songs. The CD album “Bahaghari” was launched on December 14 at the Philippine Center, with Lea noting how each language is distinct and separate “like a rainbow.”

Among the popular songs featured in the album are “Pobreng Alindahaw,” “Tinikling,” “Atin Cu Pung Singsing,” “Ili Ili Tulog Anay,” “Pamulinawen,” “Sarung Banggi,” and “Leron Leron Sinta.” She opened the launch with a dreamy rendition of “Ili Ili,” one of her favorites, a lullaby her mother used to sing to her.

“Bahaghari,” according to Lea, a worthwhile project in terms of preserving the languages for future generations.

“This is an album I am extremely proud to have done. Besides getting to sing songs in my own language, Tagalog, I got to record in the languages of my mother, father and very good friends,” she writes in her column for the Inquirer. “The languages I was more familiar with were easier to navigate, even if I didn’t completely understand them. However, Ilocano and Bicolano were an absolute challenge, as I’ve never actually heard either language in conversation. I might as well have been singing in Malay or Indonesian.”

“Pobreng Alindahaw” is a Visayan folk song about a poor dragonfly that flies from tree to tree looking for a place to rest. “Ili Ili Tulog Anay” is another Visayan song, a mother’s lullaby telling her baby she must leave her for a short while to go to the store to buy bread. The Kapampangan “Atin Cu Pung Singsing” is about an heirloom ring that goes missing. “Sarung Banggi” is a Bicolano love song, popular with young men who serenaded women in old times.

An album seeking to promote and preserve Philippine regional languages

An album seeking to promote and preserve Philippine regional languages

“Leron Leron Sinta” is a Tagalog children’s song about a boy and a girl and their fruit-picking adventures. “Tinikling,” another Tagalog song, is popular companion music for the Tinikling dance with two bamboo poles tapping on the ground. The composition likens a flirtatious romance that can spell trouble to the Tinikling where one’s foot can get caught up in bamboo poles if one is not serious or careful. Also Tagalog is “Paruparong Bukid” about a coquettishly dressed woman being compared to a farm butterfly.

The 15 songs in the album originated from six languages: Ilocano, Kapampangan, Bicolano, Bisaya, Ilonggo, and Tagalog.

“Bahaghari” was produced by the Global Language Project through its initiative to “promote foreign language and culture appreciation,” according to GLP Artist & Repertoire Music Director Rex Niswander. In his remarks at the launch, Niswander expressed the “hope that more and more young people would be encouraged to learn foreign languages and cultures through music.”

GLP Music won the Latin Grammy award in 2014 for Best Latin Children’s Album for “Coloreando,” featuring Colombian singer and songwriter Marta Gomez. “Bahaghari” is co-produced by Ryan Cayabyab and Angela Jackson. It was recorded in Manila.

Consul General Theresa Dizon-De Vega lauded the team behind the project and expressed support for the initiative. She said the album would encourage “more inclusive and multi-cultural interests among young Filipino-Americans.”

© The FilAm 2017

At the album launch, Lea sings ‘Ili Ili Tulog Anay’ a Visayan lullaby her mother used to sing to her. The FilAm Photo

At the album launch, Lea sings ‘Ili Ili Tulog Anay,’ a Visayan lullaby her mother used to sing to her. The FilAm Photo



One Comment

  1. Will wrote:

    “Bahaghari” can be purchased at: https://leasalonga.com/shop/bahaghari

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