NEWS

4th Tobunken Staff Seminar (Academic Year 2017)

Date & Time:  2 November 2017, Thursday; 14:00-16:00

Venue: Main Conference Room, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo

Title: Doing and Undoing “Tradition”: Singing and Modernities in the Philippine Periphery

Paper presenter: Michiyo Yoneno-Reyes, Ph.D., Associate Professor, IASA

Discussant: Tsukada Kenichi, Ph.D, Professor, Graduate School of Toho Gakuen School of Music

Moderator: Waka Aoyama, Ph.D, Professor, IASA

Abstract:
Songs called “salidummay” are sung in many communities of the northern highlands of the Philippines. It has become a genre of folk song in the 20th century, by adapting older chant lyrics to modern, often American-influenced, melodies.

In the context of national culture making of the Philippines or in that of ethnic movements, salidummay is usually represented as something “traditional” (“traditionalization”). Meanwhile, local residents call it “traditional songs” in one context and “modern songs” in another, and describe it in various ways. This paper presents the theoretical reflection on various faces of modernity based on my data on a) transition of narrative on salidummay; b) process of making of salidummay as cultural category; c) transition and variations of musical structure of salidummay; and d) changes of singing style of salidummay.

Today, northern highlanders of the Philippines are integrated to the system of the Republic of the Philippines and deal with the Cordillera Administrative Region; in other words, they live in imagined communities (Anderson). At the same time, they also consciously or unconsciously refuse to become part of the nation-state by exercising their “arts of not being governed” (Scott) in various scenes of their daily lives. Such strategy of altering attitudes by context is explained as an example of demonstration of “duality of agency” in anthropology as suggested by Sherry Ortner (2006). However, indigenous peoples who live at periphery (as minority, or even as minority among minorities) deal with more-layered and multi-directional powers. Therefore, I propose “gradational multiplicity of agency”, a variation of “duality of agency”, as theoretical framework to illustrate the phenomenon.

Philippine northern highlanders experience multilayered power relationship, render various narratives on salidummay, and sing salidummay songs in different singing styles. Reflection on such situation visualizes the coexistence of multilayered modernities at a postcolonial periphery. In conclusion, this study suggests the multi-tempo-spatial heterogeneity of modernity, by modifying “multi-temporal heterogeneity” (Garcia Canclini 1989), acknowledging also “compressed modernity” (Chang Kyung-sup 2010).

*Lecture will be conducted in Japanese. English powerpoint shall be provided.