An ensemble of classical music, of children from affluent families, is an assertion of a prevailing perception of music as demographically biased for the moneyed and privileged. But not true to Sistemang Pilipino, a non-stock, non-profit organization whose dedication is to provide world-class music education for Filipino children and youth from under-served communities. “It is inspired by “El Sistema” – the pioneering movement for social justice through music which began in Venezuela in 1975 and is now present in over 40 countries around the world”.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013, an evening of awakening and high hopes, three established artists shared their music and champion a cause close to their hearts-making music education accessible to children. The musical treat, attended by an exclusive and intimate audience at La Belle Aurore Book Shop at Junquera St., Cebu City hopes to spread awareness of the Sistemang Pilipino movement that will benefit their outreach music training programs. The group has initially made mention of future activities that would draw high level of awareness and support from various stakeholders.
The artists: Noel Martin, for violin from USA, Jovanni Tabada, for contrabass from Cebu City and Miracle Romano, for piano from Dipolog City-have perfect blend when they started playing classical music to immortal Cebuano classics like Usahay, Matud Nila and even the patriotic song Bayan Ko and the popular Tagalog folk song Lulay. Guest artist Martin, in spite of being an American, was even more impressive playing Philippine songs like a true-blooded Filipino.
Social transformation through music was the very core of the group’s existence. Barely a year ago, violinist Lianne Sala founded the group whose advocacy is making a nation that is empowered by music. “It aims to create an environment of life-long learning and collaboration with all individuals and organizations aligned with its values, enabling young Filipinos to reach their full potential through the joy of creating beautiful music…”
This is indeed the idea of bringing music to the underserved children from SOS Children’s Village in Talamban and from Barangay Ermita, Cebu City. They find joy and fulfillment in expressing their innermost feelings through music.
On a bigger, varied scale, music is the undercurrent to our collective subconscious. It brings about a concerted effort among people whose aim is to make things possible. Specifically, music influences change, be it for the betterment, major change. Cases in point when we want to change a political system or leadership, patriotic songs inflame everybody’s fervor for change. Popular artists, collectively make benefit concerts aimed at raising funds to help other hunger-stricken countries.
Songs impact on the way people think and behave. Holding concerts raise the level of consciousness on certain issues like global warning, racial discrimination, human rights violations, and dreaded diseases like AIDS, among others. Musicians make music. They speak the language of the soul-and make things happen.
Music is a transformative instrument. As we hear a sound, sing a song, chant a mantra or play a note we are transported into a different dimension: a world of transcendence, a world of compassion, of unity, beauty, generosity and tranquility, a world beyond hatred and discontent, a world of liberation and harmony.
As music is a source of social activism it is also a foundation for spiritual cleansing and renewal. Through music we can transcend all divisions, disconnections and separations. Rituals and celebrations are customary to religious traditions. “For Hindus, the word for sound and for the Earth is the same: Gaya, similar to Greek Gaia. Earth is made of sounds. There is a well-known mantra, Gayatvia Mantra, which is the mantra of the Earth and of the sound. World-renowned Hindu book of philosophy and yoga Bhagavad-gita means ‘song of the Lord’; here the Lord is flute-playing Krishna, the harbinger of harmony and wholeness”.
The transformative power of music cuts across age, gender, religion, ethnicity, culture and social status. Most of all, it touches the very soul of the human being.
By Ligaya Rabago-Visaya