Music Alive in the Archive: An Exploration of Kulintang Music in the Danongan Kalanduyan Collection

On 22 May 2023, the UCLA academic community and Filipinx American performing artists celebrated the launch of the Danongan Kalanduyan Collection on California Revealed.

Danongan “Danny” Kalanduyan (1 May 1947 – 28 September 2016) taught kulintang, an indigenous gong-drum ensemble from the Philippines for forty years. He was born and raised in the fishing village of Datu Piang, the artistic center of the Maguindanao people on the island of Mindanao, Southern Philippines. In his youth, he won competitions on the gandingan (set of four large hanging gongs), attended Mindanao State University–Marawi, and toured the Far East with the Darangen Cultural Troupe. In 1976, Kalanduyan came to the U.S. as an artist-in-residence at the University of Washington in Seattle under a Rockefeller Foundation grant and graduated with a Master of Arts in ethnomusicology in 1984. He became the first artist of Filipino descent to be awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1995. From 2003 to 2009, Kalanduyan was an artist-in-residence at San Francisco State University while directing and performing internationally with his group, the Palabuniyan Kulintang Ensemble. In 2009, the United States Artists Organization awarded him a Broad Fellow to recognize the caliber and impact of his work. Kalanduyan has taught and performed with nearly every kulintang ensemble in the United States including the Mindanao Kulintang Ensemble, World Kulintang Ensemble, and the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble. Without Kalanduyan, this pre-colonial musical ensemble would not have been available or known to most in the United States.

Danongan Kalanduyan playing kulintang.

Donated to the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive by the Kalanduyan family, this collection of audio and video recordings documenting kulintang gong music and dance around the world is now freely accessible to the public on the California Revealed website.

The day began when Joung-A Yum, a second year UCLA DMA student in Choral Conducting, brought about 75 high school students from the Glacier Peak High School Choir, directed by Nancy Lamont, to the event to learn about kulintang.  Mary Talusan, an alumna of UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Department and member of Ube Arte, gave a talk on the origin of kulintang music and how it became iconic of Philippine indigenous tradition in the United States.

Mary Talusan Lacanlale speaking to high school students from the Glacier Peak High School Choir, 22 May 2023.

The day’s events included a dance workshop led by UCLA World Arts and Cultures alumnus Peter de Guzman, the premiere screening of selected videos included in the Kalanduyan Collection, and a panel entitled “American Kulintang: Cultural Transmission and Innovation over 50 Years,” presented by UCLA Ethnomusicology alumni Mary Talusan, Eleanor Lipat-Chesler, and Bernard Ellorin. The Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble (PKE), featuring Kalanduyan’s students and his granddaughter Kim Kalanduyan, offerd a live performance of Southern Philippine music and dance, followed by a hands-on community performance workshop. Music Alive in the Archive was an opportunity for UCLA and the broader community to explore the legacy of this master artist and to promote the study of Philippine heritage for many generations to come.

Dance workshop led by UCLA World Arts and Cultures alumnus Peter de Guzman, 22 May 2023.

(l-r) Gingee, Eleanor Lipat-Chesler, Mary Talusan Lacanlale, Bernard Ellorin,”American Kulintang: Cultural Transmission and Innovation over 50 Years” panel, 22 May 2023.

Peter de Guzman with PKE, 22 May 2023.

Eleanor Lipat-Chesler and PKE, with Rogelle Zamora on violin, lead the participants in dance, 22 May 2023.

For this event, the World Musical Instrument Collection purchased 25 sarunay (salonay, saronay, saronai or sarunai) (the smaller gong version of the kulintang) to aid in presenting kulintang workshops. With 25 sarunay, 25 students at a time had direct access to and played an instrument, taught by Eleanor Lipat-Chesler and members of Ube Arte, Kalanduyan’s students.

Eleanor Lipat-Chesler leading a kulintang workshop, 22 May 2023.

Participants and attendees included students in Ethnomusicology, Southeast Asian Studies, UCLA Samahang Pilipino student group, and more.

Bernard Ellorin instructing participants during the kulintang workshop, 22 May 2023.

Marlo Campos instructing participants at the kulintang workshop, 22 May 2023.

This event encouraged the UCLA community and Filipino American community members to engage with archival collections that document their communities, stimulating interest in the Kalanduyan collection, and encouraging future archivists especially in the Filipino American community to see the value of contributing to archives. This event brought the collection to life through a workshop and performance that relate to the collection’s contents that include field recordings of kulintang in Mindanao and Kalanduyan’s own performances in both the Philippines and throughout the United States.  In this way, community members and students experienced the archive as a living, breathing entity that not only preserves the history of their community, which has often been marginalized in the larger narrative of US history, but also encouraged them to see the value in documenting their own community.

Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble, 22 May 2023.

Closing remarks by Kim Kalanduyan, 22 May 2023.

(l-r) Marlo Campos, Bernard Ellorin, Kim Kalanduyan, Mary Talusan Lacanlale, Eleanor Lipat-Chesler, Rogelle Zamora, Peter de Guzman, Supeena Insee Adler, 22 May 2023.

Kapaganad Sa Kagkulintang: A Kulintang Lesson from a Master Musician: Featuring Instruction by Danongan “Danny” Kalanduyan (2001).

Music Alive in the Archive, 22 May 2023.  Includes panel and performance by PKE.

May 22 Event Co-sponsors

Co-sponsored by California Revealed, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, the World Music Center at UCLA, and Ube Arte, with additional funding from the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

Ube Arte is a Southern California-based arts collective of professional musicians, dancers, and academics with a shared mission to advance Philippine cultural research and education in the Pilipinx American community. Co-founded by Dr. Mary Talusan Lacanlale, Dr. Bernard Ellorin, Marlo Campos, Eleanor Lipat-Chesler, Nicole Mae Martin, and Peter Paul de Guzman, Ube Arte members have performed together professionally for public and private events, as senior and founding members of the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble, Malaya Filipino-American Dance Arts, Rocksteady Rondalla, the GUNITA Collective, and Samahan Filipino-American Performing Arts and Education.

Established in 1961, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is a world-renowned research archive dedicated to the study of musical traditions from around the globe. The Archive’s collection of more than 150,000 audio, video, print, and photographic items documents musical expressions throughout the world and includes unique field recordings as well as rare commercial recordings. In addition, to preservation and access, the Archive offers a wide range of research, outreach, and educational services. From international scholars to local community members and UCLA students and faculty, the Archive is recognized locally and internationally as an important center of ethnomusicological research and discovery.

Since its founding in 1999, the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies has supported innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship about Southeast Asia. CSEAS has been critical to sustaining and expanding Southeast Asian Studies on campus, establishing UCLA as a major U.S. site for the study of this important region. CSEAS hosts visitors and scholars, organizes talks and colloquia, funds student language study and research, and encourages the discussion and dissemination of scholarly work on the region. CSEAS serves as an important resource for those whose research and interests intersects with Southeast Asia across campus as well as for communities in southern California.

In 2015, the World Music Center at UCLA was founded to harness the remarkable assets of three entities established in the 1950s-60s. The World Musical Instrument Collection, with more than 1000 instruments, is one of the largest such university-based collections anywhere in the world. The Ethnomusicology Archive, founded by renowned ethnomusicologist Mantle Hood, was one of the first of its kind, and today is the second-largest ethnographic sound archive in the United States, second only to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. And Ethnomusicology Publications distributes and publishes reports, CDs, songbooks, DVDs and monograph series on a range of specialized topics – from Ghost Dance songs to jazz to traditional music of Thailand.

California Revealed is a State Library initiative to help California’s public libraries, in partnership with other local heritage groups, digitize, preserve, and provide online access to archival materials – books, newspapers, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and more – that tell the incredible stories of the Golden State. California Revealed also provides free access and preservation services for existing digital collections, including technical advice and guidance, for partner organizations with in-house digitization programs.  This project is supported by California Revealed and administered in California by the State Librarian. The program is made possible by funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.

Participant Bios

Marlo Campos was born into a musical family and has been watching Pilipino Culture Nights since the 1990’s. In the 2000’s he danced in the high school and college PCN circuits and later formed his own Filipino cultural band, Rocksteady Rondalla to provide music for these shows. Marlo is also a member of Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble, and occasionally plays with other rondallas such as the Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts & Education Center based in San Diego and with members of the Rondalla Club of Los Angeles. Currently, he is the Musical Director of Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts in Los Angeles.

Peter de Guzman is a dancer, choreographer and dance ethnologist and is currently the artistic director for Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts based in Los Angeles. A graduate of UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures/Dance, Peter sees all the world’s dance forms as equal and relevant. Peter has dedicated his research and practice on the Pangalay dance from the southern Philippines to represent the modern day Filipino American experience.

Bernard Ellorin Ph.D. is an adjunct faculty of music at Miramar and Mira Costa College in San Diego County, California. Ellorin’s academic and community work spans over 31 years of educating Filipino American and non-Filipino American communities on Filipino diasporic performing arts. Ellorin conducts extensive studies on indigenous musics from the Muslim Societies of the southern Philippines. He also performs rondalla music as the Music director for the Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts & Education Center. He co-founded and directs the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble providing educational workshops rooted in honoring the cultural practitioners before him. As a teaching artist with the Center for World Music, Ellorin educates audiences on all facets of Philippine cultural music with artistry integrity and respect.

Eleanor Lipat-Chesler is co-founder of Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble and of Ube Arte, a performing arts research and education organization. She studied music and anthropology at Barnard College and ethnomusicology at UCLA. As a Fulbright Fellow, Eleanor conducted fieldwork in Central Thailand among itinerant likay folk theater troupes. She contributed the entry, “Thailand: Contemporary Performance Practice,” in the 2019 SAGE Encyclopedia of Music and Culture. In 2020 she co-edited Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals: A Legacy of Filipino American Performing Arts in California with Mary Talusan. She was awarded the Jan Harp Domene Diversity & Inclusion Award from the National PTA forher DEI work in the Culver City, California school district.

Kim Kalanduyan is the eldest grandchild of the late master artist Danongan Kalanduyan, Kim Kalanduyan is a kulintang musician, vocalist, and dancer with the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble (PKE) and Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts and Education Center. Kim continues the Kalanduyan family legacy through her work with PKE by maintaining the traditional values that are passed down through each family generation. She is also the founder and CEO of Native Filipinyana – an online retailer that bridges Maguindanao textile culture and contemporary fashion.

Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble (PKE) of Southern California performs traditional gong-chime music and dances originating from Islamized cultures of the southern Philippines. As artist-scholars, the members conduct regular fieldwork in the Philippines with native practitioners of music and dance from the Maguindanao, Maranao, Tausug, Sama, and Yakan ethno-linguistic groups. Pakaraguian’s mission is to represent marginalized ethnic minorities with artistry, integrity, and respect. Formed in 2003 by UCLA Ethnomusicology and World Arts & Cultures alumni. Bernard Ellorin, Dr. Mary Talusan, Eleanor Lipat-Chesler, Peter Paul De Guzman, and Nicole Mae Martin, the ensemble performs regularly at public events, festivals, and educational settings throughout southern California.

Maureen Russell is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Ethnomusicology, specializing in audiovisual archiving, oral history, and information literacy and research skills. Russell is the Archivist at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, one of the largest and oldest ethnographic audiovisual archives in North America. She has written two critically acclaimed books about television and film, Highlander: The Complete Watcher’s Guide (Warner Aspect) and Days of Our Lives: A Complete History of the Long-running Soap Opera (McFarland). She is the editor for Music Reference Services Quarterly’s “Off the Beaten Path” column (MRSQ is a peer-reviewed journal published by Taylor and Francis).  And she was Project Lead Archivist for Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals: A Legacy of Filipino American Performing Arts in California.

Mary Talusan Lacanlale is an Associate Professor of Asian Pacific Studies at California State University-Dominguez Hills who earned a PhD in ethnomusicology from UCLA. She has two books, Instruments of Empire: Filipino Musicians, Black Soldiers, and Military Band Music during US Colonization of the Philippines (University Press of Mississippi) and Filipinos in Greater Boston (Arcadia Publishing). She co-edited Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals: A Legacy of Filipino American Performing Arts in California and co-produced Kulintang Kultura: Danongan Kalanduyan and Gong Music of the Philippine Diaspora for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. She is the president of Filipino Cultural School and performs music and dance of the southern Philippines with the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble.

Pamela Vadakan directs California Revealed, a California State Library initiative to digitize and preserve archival collections related to California history from partner libraries, archives, museums and historical societies. She’s also a member of the Community Archiving Workshop and serves on the Board for the Center for Home Movies. She has a Master’s degree in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from New York University.

Rogelle Zamora (he/him/his) is an active musician, educator, and aspiring ethnomusicologist based in Southern California. He is a regular performing musician with the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble and the rondalla of the Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts and Education Center in San Diego. When opportunities arise, he also performs as a solo musician and ensemble member for weddings, anniversaries, and other special events. He most recently joined the Palomar Symphony Orchestra, maintaining connections with his Western upbringing as a classically trained violist. As an educator, he teaches students of all ages, offering private lessons and serving as an instructional staff member with various school music programs and independent organizations across Southern California such as the Center for World Music, Rancho Bernardo High School Royal Regiment, and Pulse/POW Percussion. Outside of music, Rogelle enjoys exercising, playing video games, nerding out on all things related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and aspires to be a proud dog dad.

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