Sapagkat ang Isipang Mulat ay Hindi Kailanman Pasisiil Maging sa Inyong mga Baril at Bomba
(For the Conscious Mind Shall Never Succumb even to Your Guns and Bombs)
For Kulintang and 11 Percussionists
"Lumad" is a collective term for various non-muslim/Christian indigenous groups that live on the southern island of Mindanao, Philippines, and the small surrounding islands. These groups consist of ethnolinguistic groups such as the Bagobo, Manobo, Mansaka, Tiruray, T'boli among others. In general, it can be said that the Lumad peoples, while they may differ culturally and linguistically, nevertheless share a deep connection with their ancestral lands, and this commonality binds them together as a strong coalition of indigenous peoples. Since the dawn of urbanization in the Philippines in the early 20th century , the Lumads slowly lost control of much of their land. Due to a lack of laws that protect indigenous domains and the Lumads' traditional land ownership practices (i.e. oral and communal), their lands have often been grabbed by logging companies and wealthy businessmen. In their pursuit to reclaim their lands and place in Philippine society, these peace-loving peoples are often targeted by the military, unjustly characterized as rebels. There have been many reports about Lumad leaders being assassinated by the military, and even the current Philippine president himself threatens to bomb the Lumad schools as he claims that they serve as "training grounds for terrorists."
During the 2017 Labayan ng Pambansang Minorya, an annual march of various Philippine ethnic minorities held in the University of the Philippines, I met and talked with a young Lumad child named Ipoy who told me various stories about how the lives of people in his community are perpetually in peril under the military. "Sapagkat ang Isipang Mulat ay Hindi Kailanman Pasisiil Maging sa Inyong mga Baril at Bomba" draws inspiration from my short interaction with Ipoy and the Lumad community during this event. This piece employs a Kulintang ensemble, which is a common musical heritage among the Lumads, although this piece utilizes a Maguindanaoan Kulintang mode (Maguindanaoans are part of the Islamicized Moro ethnolinguistic group).
Usually, a Kulintang Ensemble consists of the Kulintang, Dabakan, Babandir, Agung, and Gandingan. However, I decided to replace the latter four with various kitchen items as a replacement and for practical reasons. Lastly, the Kulintang Ensemble for my piece is surrounded by two groups of multipercussionist that play western instruments. These players are used to symbolise the never-ending oppression that the Lumads and other ethnolinguistic groups suffer under the fascist government.
Sinulog a Bagu