(*****Special Update February 20 : Thank you so much! We are so thrilled to write to you all and let you know that The Cotabato Sessions as of Tuesday evening is fully funded and has reached its goal! To all of you in the the United States, UK, Norway, Brazil , Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines as well as other parts of the world, we send our deep gratitude to each of you. You are our heart. We can't wait to bring you the release of the album and film! ****)
We are excited to bring you The Cotabato Sessions, a music legacy in the Philippines.
The Cotabato Sessions is a full length music album and 30 minute short music film that features the music legacy of one family, the Kalanduyans, in Cotabato City, Mindanao, Philippines.
Who are the Kalanduyans and what is the music legacy?
The Kalanduyans are several generations of musicians from the Maguindanaon tribe in the Philippines who perform a beautiful Indigenous art form known as kulintang, gong ensemble music as well as lute string music, the kutyapi. Alongside the music there is always dance.
With master kutyapi /lute string player and flautist, Ismail Akmad, we are reminded that the origins of blues are far reaching and that the virtuosity inside 8 notes is endless.
With a kulintang gong ensemble , we can enter a series of entrancing music through a welcome song, Duyog, performed by the Kalanduyan family.
The Cotabato Sessions was recorded and filmed in Cotabato City, Mindanao in the southern island of the Philippines. It was a rare moment to be able to get together these generations of musicians in the family.
The Kalanduyans are part of a minority Islamic tribe, the Maguindanaons in the Philippines who have been entirely relocated to Cotabato City and elsewhere after many decades of civil unrest in the south.
Who will be the next generation to follow in their footsteps?
This album and film capture the generations of men, women, and youth performing ritual music and its variations in the home of master artist Danongan Kalanduyan, in a procession, in the courtyard of a mosque and in the recording session of a concert hall.
Why pledge to this project?
This is the first album and film that captures in detail the beautiful virtuosity of Maguindanaon music performed by the Kalanduyan family with fidelity.
Maguindanaon music has driving , syncopated rhythms and hypnotic melodies that flow effortlessly in the pieces. Brass and metal percussion, wooden lutes and flute float with tribal courtship and warrior dances.
Although one of the first Indigenous groups to inhabit Mindanao, Maguindanaons are today a minority as an Islamic tribe in the Philippines. The Cotabato Sessions captures the rich culture through its music and dance.
I have continually been in awe of the mysteries in ritualistic music, and the innate beauty. It is that gentle reminder or sometimes very obvious note of how essential music is to making sense of life.
What will the conversations of the future be if we don't know the many stories of our past?
You might find it hard to believe, but can you imagine being born into a tribe where everyone is believed to have a twin spirit in a crocodile? These would be along the Rio Grande in Cotabato. How would this affect the way you look at life?
In the words of Albert Einstein, " Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."
I find there are many mysteries of the imagination wrapped up as gifts inside music.
What are future goals for this project?
The Cotabato Sessions is the first album and short film in a series for the company Song of the Bird King LLC (http://songofthebirdking.com/) that will feature digital download album recordings of Indigenous, world music with digital short films that share the stories and culture through the music. We are working to promote the collaboration of traditional and contemporary music with sustainable practices and offer platforms for the musical communities such as the Maguindanaons to grow.
Alongside Indigenous tribes in the Philippines, Song of the Bird King also works with Indigenous and traditional artists in the New York Seneca Nations, Egypt, U.A.E, Lebanon, Israel, Canada, Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Guinea, Cuba, India and will be releasing with its digital music company digital download releases of artists as well as distribute catalogue. Song of the Bird King will continue to partner with independent film companies to create short music films for several of the digital albums.
Who is involved?
I am very lucky to have wonderful collaborators on this project with me.
Director , Joel Quizon, and his team Maya Santos and film company Form Follows Function ( http://www.fffmedia.com/ ) from LA joins us for The Cotabato Sessions. Joel Quizon is a filmmaker, DJ, blogger and community arts organizer based in Los Angeles. FORM follows FUNCTION is a collaborative media studio creating non-fiction, short format, place-based videos.
Phililppine Master Artist and National Heritage Artist Danongan Kalanduyan assisted in travelling to Cotabato and assembling the production for the recording and film shoot.
Maguindanaon Sound Engineer Abuhalil Sambutuan assisted in the recording session with us in Cotabato City.
BBC3 Awardee and Grammy Nominee Cuban-American Composer/Percussionist & Producer Roberto Juan Rodriguez will be mixing and mastering the album in New York.
I am Susie Ibarra, a composer, performer and professor in music and advancement in public action at Bennington College and a TED 2014 Senior Fellow. I live with my family in the Catskills Mountains in NY and also am based in the Philippines. In the Philippines I work with Indigenous artists in several tribes and also in supporting sister cities projects in performing arts. My work and collaborative work is in both live performance as a composer,bandleader, percussionist/drummer and in immersive music with mobile apps, surround sound and sound installations. www.susieibarra.com , www.digitalsanctuaries.com
Music Director and Kulintang Artist: Danongan Kalanduyan
Kutyapi and Flute Musicians: Ismail Akmad Baikong Sulaiman
Women Ensemble Performers: Taut Guiaman, Salamayo Bano, Salaminda Ali, Bagungan Tannggo Bano, Sandiali Malugayak, Bitol Sulaiman
Men Ensemble Performers and Dancers: Datuan Kalanduyan, Kunga Kalanduyan, Samid Kalanduyan, Tukan Bano, Farid Guinomla
Where will the funds raised go to?
The album and film have already been recorded and shot.
The funds raised will go to finishing the post production of the audio and visual, to be able to complete the project.
Any additional funding will be used for marketing and promotion of The Cotabato Sessions release.
As with Kickstarter, it is an all or nothing campaign. We must raise the full funds or we will not receive any of it.
We thank you so much for your support!
If you are not able to contribute money you can still be a part of the effort. Please pass along our campaign through your own networks to spread the word.
We will be giving updates of the progress of The Cotabato Sessions as it goes.
Risks and challenges
What are the Risks and Challenges?
We have completed production of filming and recording The Cotabato Sessions in Cotabato City , Mindanao as of last year 2013.
One of our challenges is time. We are trying to get the film out as the art form is fading. The music and film's documentation supports the cultural heritage as well as peaceful development and growth in Mindanao where at this very present time peacetalks are being brokered between not only government and organizations but also between cultural groups.
One of the risks involved in our challenge of time is it may take a little longer to get the rewards out if concert booking and screening for the release of the album and film is backed up at venues. We are aiming to release rewards regarding album and film downloads by April and concert & screenings by May 2014. The concert and screenings will depend on venue bookings. There is a change it may move to June.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (24 days)