Bukidnon tribal ‘datu’ promotes Talaandig music from NYC to S.F.

Waway Saway. Photo by Donald Brian Antipasado

Waway Saway. Photo by Donald Brian Antipasado

“I couldn’t imagine myself taking train ride(s) to Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. When I was small I took a carabao ride to the mountains of Mt. Kitanglad.”

With that post, Bukidnon tribal leader and musician Waway Saway invited Filipino Americans to watch his May 4th performance at the Lincoln Center. “Definitely, we will have good show with great people at Lincoln Center. I’m proud to be Bukidnon.”

Waway (real name: Rodelio Linsahay Saway) comes from the Talaandig tribe, one of seven ethnic groups in Bukidnon, known for their Islamic rituals but also respectful of the non-Islamic traditions in the province. The tribes people are known for their dances and musical rituals used at storytelling, at weddings and other forms of kinship ceremonies.

He co-founded the Talaandig School of Living Traditions, where he teaches tribal arts and music. He has performed throughout the Philippines and Asia with exponents of indigenous music such as Grace Nono.

At the Lincoln Center, Waway collaborated with the Grammy-nominated Deoro chamber duo of cellist-pianist-composer Dave Eggar and percussionist Chuck Palmer in a concert known as The Brooklyn-Manila Project.

According to the Lincoln Center, the group met four years ago when Deoro “embarked on a radical musical adventure on the remote island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines.”

“In the hills of Bukidnon they wrote and recorded with members of the Talaandig tribe and Katyapi virtuoso Waway Saway, fusing their unique style of classical groove with the thousand-year-old local tradition of tribal music.”

This innovative fusion of western and indigenous music made for a powerful evening of music, dance, martial arts and video celebrating Filipino culture past and present and a new era of extreme collaboration.

From New York, Waway will be in San Francisco May 13 to 24 to conduct workshops on Talaandig arts, crafts and music. He will be at a soil painting exhibition on May 16th at the Lower Branch Gallery at 233 Eddy Street.

He will perform with composer Florante Aguilar on May 18 at the Theater at the Children’s Creativity Museum at 221 Fourth Street. Both formally-trained artists, Florante and Waway have returned to their roots, reviving musical traditions with an infusion of their own fresh creativity.

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