Thu, Aug 16, 2012
by Amie Dural Maga of Pinay Aotearoa
August 2012 Filipino Migrant News
It’s music to my ears whenever my one-year old baby Rua would call out loud “mama” and “dada.” As with our first-born Elijah, it’s very heartwarming to hear Rua’s first words and new sounds with each passing day. But since Rua was born here and he already has a circle of English-speaking playmates, I thought I should be more conscious to keep speaking to him in Filipino at home.
I also believe that playing Filipino music in the house would help him love to speak and sing in Filipino. I remember when Elijah arrived in Auckland at age 3, he would stand in a table and perform “Ako ay may lobo” and “Bahay Kubo.” At age 4, Elijah enjoyed singing along our favourite hits of the Apo Hiking Society during their final concert in Auckland.
I’m happy that at age 6, Elijah speaks Tagalog fluently while he learned English in school. But now he doesn’t perform Filipino songs as he used to do. One day I found a young American girl’s rendition of Bahay Kubo on youtube. When I challenged Elijah to sing so I can check if he still knows the whole song, he did sing but it was a new version with a combination of his Filipino accent and that of the young American girl he just heard. I reminded him that if an American girl can sing a Filipino song, he should do better and never forget the Filipino language while growing up in another country.
Last month as I was checking Migrante’s facebook, we got a note from Wellington-based Filipina Matilde ‘Didith’ Tayawa-Figuracion recommending the new page of “Munting Tinig.” When I clicked on the music videos, I absolutely loved their rendition of “Small Voice” and especially the Filipino song “Ang Pipit.”
I found it truly amazing to hear the kids sing “Ang Pipit,” a song that I used to sing myself back in my grade school days in my home town in Leyte. How I wish my children would be a part of a Filipino-led cultural group like Munting Tinig someday.
Something great to see and hear in Wellington
For Filipinos outside Wellington who are planning a family holiday in Wellington in December, the concert of “Munting Tinig” is one big thing to look forward to.
At their Christmas Concert on 8th December at Te Papa Museum, the public will expect a Māori, Filipino and Kiwi flavour to their repertoire. We also expect guest performances from Filipino talents such as the Wellington Filipino Community Choir. It will be a one hour concert divided into 2 parts. The first part will be the singing part and the 2nd part is the ukulele part with some intermission in-between. This will be the kids’ launching concert and admission is FREE!
I asked Didith to share about the new group and she kindly provided the following information:
What motivated/inspired you to form Munting Tinig?
Munting Tinig (Small Voices) is a project of the Filipino Artists in New Zealand, Inc. (www.filipinoartistsnewzealand.wordpress.com). This is in line with its objectives of:
- Promoting awareness on the Filipino culture within the Filipino community and the wider NZ Society.
- Building a Filipino culture that is vibrant and alive by tapping the Filipino talents in music, dance, visual arts, performing arts, martial arts and literary arts and being the outlet of Filipino talents showcasing these different art forms.
- Enhancing the craft and upgrade the skills of the members through continuous training and activities; and
- Encouraging creativity and motivating social cohesion within the community.
Why a children’s choir and ukulele band for children ages 6-12?
We have targeted the young children, especially this age group, because we know that many school age children struggle with the Filipino language, and then forget it’s usage if it is not taught/not reinforced at home and in their normal activities. In NZ, we do not have formal schools for children to learn the Filipino language, so there is no other way but to teach them informally and within the confines of our home. We thought of a better way of learning the language – through music! If the kids are taught in a fun and entertaining way, they not only learn the language, we also build some skills (singing and playing instruments), and also build their confidence, especially in performing to the public. Most of all, the kids will develop a long lasting friendship between and among themselves, and camaraderie and friendship among the parents, too.
What Filipino songs are the kids learning?
For their ukulele pieces, they have learned to play ‘Ang Pipit’ and ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’. They will be taught ‘Saranggola ni Pepe,’ ‘Mamang Sorbetero’ and a few more. For their Christmas concert in December, they will be playing mostly Christmas songs: Jingle Bells, Rudolf, a Kiwi Christmas song.
As for the songs, they have learned ‘Ang Pipit,’ ‘Munting Tinig,’ and ‘Sa Ugoy ng Duyan’. For their Christmas concert, they will sing mostly Filipino songs.
Proud to be Filipino
During the Rugby World Cup 2011, Didith and fellow Filipinos in Wellington did an awesome job organising the Filipino Community’s contribution to the Festival of Carnivale as part of the festivities. Through the Philippine Ati-atihan cultural dance performances, they proudly showcased Filipino culture and heritage to New Zealanders and the world.
With Munting Tinig, here comes another great project aiming to develop the talents and energy of the younger members of the Filipino community in New Zealand to help maintain and promote our culture and heritage.
Munting Tinig will certainly make us proud Filipinos. They deserve all-out cheers from Filipinos in Wellington and all over New Zealand. We wish them all the best on their forthcoming concert in December!