Oral traditions such as myths, legends, folktales, riddles, and folk music embody significant information about the culture from which they originate. Several researches have successfully recorded and made these available as pedagogical materials in all levels of education, and appreciated by the general public for their entertainment value. Among these forms of oral tradition, folk music, like dance and theatre, derives its appeal from its performativity. This paper focuses on the recorded folk songs of the Blaan, the lingen, and the cultural significance they exemplify. The Blaan is one of the indigenous communities in the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines. Like other indigenous cultures in the country, they have oral traditions that need to be recorded, archived, and published before they are lost to oblivion. The paper explores and discusses how each folk song depicts an aspect of the Blaan culture, and reflects the community’s traditions, stories, and cultural values. For the Blaan, music is not just for entertainment. It tells about their experiences as a people, their ideals, and the values they deem important in their lives. A Blaan singer can launch on a spontaneous song of welcome for visitors (Lingèn Kasaklê); a song can celebrate a person’s life (Sulanay, Ma Jhun, Sangyuk, Tud Bulul, To Ladin, Fû Bayareh, Marilyn), praise nature (Kayo Madah tah Bolul. Luknus), or is simply playful (Lingèn Nga). There is an urgency to record and preserve the folk songs of the cultural communities, like the Blaan, before they are completely forgotten because of the influx of non-Philippine non-indigenous music genres.
Genevieve Quintero, University of the Philippines, Philippines