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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

MABUTING BALITA: Musical Moro

We should be proud of people who are going against the main stream that others are taking and for that I personally salute Mr. Kim Bagundang of the Liguasan Youth Association for Sustainable Development, Inc. for giving hopes to the music and culture of the Moros.

Below is the related article regarding this. I am proud to have personally known you Kim!

Musical Moro
By Naheeda MD


Economically challenged but continually striving. Troublesome politics yet optimistic leaders. Diverse points of view yet very rich culture.

Indeed, Mindanao can be considered as the fictional character “Two-Face” personified—although it has been riven with political controversies, uprisings, and economic problems, it is continuously becoming one of the country’s center of development projects, historical landmarks, antiques and certainly, music. Specifically, the town of Buluan in Maguindanao, center for historical development of Moro songs, is now working its way into the preservation of this Moro heritage through World Bank assistance.

This is great news for Kim Bagundang, a Maguindanaoan who has produced and managed four bands in a row in local towns since 2004, showcasing Moro instruments and the Moro struggle, and Tagalog or Visayan love songs translated into the local Moro dialect.

“I am grateful that present-day Maguindanaons are into Moro songs,” said Bagundang, while we were having coffee at Figaro in the newly renovated Robinson’s – Manila, a few days after the Glorietta explosion which made headlines. (Nope, controversial events like that can’t stop Moros with a good cause).

Bagundang, who spent almost half a million for the production of Moro-translated music, also happens to be the first to venture into music production in Maguindanao. And, just like most producers today, he is dealing with one big challenge—piracy.

“Piracy is really frustrating though it feels good to see that Moro songs are highly patronized and the demand for our bands, especially during weddings, has grown.” According to him, some Moro overseas workers, especially in Dubai, has contributed to the production of video compact discs and incorporated photos and videoke-style lyrics to their music due to popularity.

The bands Tohamie, Khomeini, Rohana, and Hamier, which he is managing, all derived their names from their lead vocalists. The group has been called NGMs or New Generation Moro Bands. Their songs have been highly popularized through the local radio station DXLB FM-104. Some religious groups, however, suggest that the female band vocalist Rohana, use conservative styles during performances to avoid controversies. The latest group, Hamier, is now gaining popularity for originality in Moro instrumentality and lyrics.

Bagundang is currently planning to upgrade the production of original Moro songs using particular native instruments and putting up a studio of their own soon. He also cited other popular bands in Lanao such as Warna and Hogey, who are into promoting Islamic-inspired Maranao songs. Also an admirer of Maranao works, Bagundang positively mentioned, “Maranaos will soon rule Manila”, pertaining to their business prowess and cooperation.

An active youth leader, and businessman, Bagundang is also busy with other livelihood projects for the community and environmental conservation for Liguasan Marsh, such as cultivating jatropha and hopefully, arabica coffee in some parts of the rich Liguasan Marsh.

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