Return and Transfer: Music Intervention Initiatives at the UP Center for Ethnomusicology

Keynote
28 August 2019
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Established in 1997, the University of the Philippines (UP) Center for Ethnomusicology is a centre for music research with material collections on the music cultures in the Philippines, Southeast Asia and representative areas from other continents. Its core holding, the Jose Maceda Collection is comprised of archival materials including sound recordings, field notes, video, film, photographs and musical instruments put together by Dr. Maceda and his associates since 1953. Recognizing the precious value of these materials, UNESCO inscribed it in its Memory of the World Register in the year 2007. 


In this presentation, I discuss the new endeavour towards community engagement and empowerment that the leadership of the centre has decided to pursue as illustrated in two projects – an ongoing music repatriation initiative and a proposed community-based documentation venture. The music repatriation program dubbed ReCollection aims to reintroduce recordings from the collection back to the communities where they were collected from, some as far back as the 1950s, by distributing special limited edition CDs to various sectors in the community. The project allows the communities to reconnect with voices, sounds and memories, at the same time giving opportunities for present-day researchers to collect new data, thus ReCollection. 


The project has so far been successfully implemented in the municipalities of Sagada and Bontoc in the Mountain Province and in Kabayan, Benguet. The proposed Adimayku Music Documentation Center intends to train and assist a local cultural organization in Hingyon, Ifugao to conduct music research and archiving in their own locality. The Adimayku Association is actively involved in the preservation of Ifugao music, dance and narratives through training and performance. The venture aims to transfer skills and resources from academic experts and national cultural agencies, thus empowering the cultural community towards self-determination and ownership.