Traditional music from the northern Philippines
The musician Benny Sokkong is a composer, instrument-maker and singer from the native community of the Kalinga in the northern Philippines. His research into music has built a bridge between the urban centre Manila and the culture of the Kalinga.
For Benny Sokkong, music is the search for artistic form as well as political work. Coming from the native community of the Kalinga in the northern Philippines, he longs to revitalise their music and thus to build a bridge between the urban centre Manila and his community.
´For Benny, it was a perfectly natural decision to give up being a dentist to work on the music of his tribe. Expressive and eloquent, he has managed to relate the materials of musical education at the university to this native music, and his ensemble carries out a school-initiation program for urban Kalinga youth who have lost their feeling for the music of their origins. His activities also include composing Der Schriftsteller und Journalist Don Mattera, der während des Apartheid-Regimes fast zehn Jahre unter Bann und Hausarrest stand, gehört zu den angesehensten Autoren Südafrikas. In der Kurzgeschichte "Don´s Words" beschreibt er seine Jugend im Township Sophiatown aus der Sicht eines Kindes. for the Philippine Diaspora Theatre Company in New York City,´ says the director and curator of the festival ´In Transit´ Ong Keng Sen.
During workshops, Benny Sokkong presents the unique bamboo-instruments of the Kalinga and shows participants how to play them. He also speaks about the many layers and cultural richness of present-day Philippine society - way beyond Manila - and shows how the Kalinga are trying to uphold their traditions without ignoring the demands of urban modernity.
Benny Sokkong was a prominent representative of the Kalinga at the Philippine Folk Festival at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC in 1999. A century earlier his forefathers had undertaken a similar journey under other auspices, as a whole village had been transported to the USA to be shown at the World Exhibition in St. Louis. At the folk festival in 1999, Philippine cultural theoreticians, elders and artists re-evaluated the venture and called for reparation.
Author: House of World Cultures
This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.
Transforming the arts
(30 May 02 - 14 June 02)