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June 19, 2012


The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) launched “Mamayog: the Music of Samaon Sulaiman” at the NCCA Tanghalang Leandro V. Locsin on May 21, 2012, marking the first death anniversary of Manlilikha ng Bayan Samaon Sulaiman.

Samaon Sulaiman was conferred the title Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Living Treasure) in 1993 for keeping alive traditional Maguindanao kutyapi music, in accordance with Republic Act No. 7355. The said law recognizes master folk artists who dedicate their skills to nourish traditional crafts threatened by extinction.

“Mamayog” is a set of audio recordings and a 300-page book containing transcriptions of these recordings and a monograph about the Maguindanaon kutyapi, published by the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan Secretariat.

The recordings and book pay homage to the ingenuity of the Filipino traditional artists and Samaon Sulaiman’s final legacy to the Filipino people.

In mid-2009, the first phase of the three-pronged project of Manlilikha ng Bayan Samaon Sulaiman titled “Documentation of the Different Modes of Traditional Maguindanao Music based on the Kutyapi” was approved by the NCCA.

It took only three days in November 2009 for Manlilikha ng Bayan Samaon Sulaiman to complete the audio recording of the two variations of Maguindanao music played on the kutyapi: 10 musical pieces of the “dinaladay” (gentle) mode and 12 musical pieces of the “binalig” mode with Mr. Sulaiman providing the translation of each musical piece.

The “dinaladay” are the old lyrics of Maguindanao music played on the kutyapi using the traditional arrangement of the frets made of beeswax. The more modern “binalig,” on the other hand, are improvised “dinaladay” played faster with a new arrangement of frets. This kutyapi term is borrowed by performers of the kulintang to refer to a new style of playing.

The research part is a descriptive study of the Maguindanaon kutyapi and the kutyapi music of Manlilikha ng Bayan Samaon Sulaiman. It includes a comprehensive discussion of the kutyapi music in its social context. Because it is a microstudy, which involves a single musical instrument and focuses on one master performer, the research is limited to the Maguindanao kutyapi and the music of Samaon Sulaiman. Collateral researches and related information about the mentioned topics have also been included in taking these study in its cultural context.

This research is a pioneering study because documentations on the Maguindanaon kutyapi hardly exist. Moreover, music transcriptions are rare, if not unavailable in spite of field recordings of previous ethnomusicologists.

Being a language instrument is a peculiar and interesting feature that the kutyapi shares with other instruments such as the kulintang and the jaw’s harp. This aspect is also discussed in the research to further understand the intricacy of the music. The “language” of the kutyapi is taken from the perspective of Samaon Sulaiman as the performer.

To buy the cd-book set, contact Cecilia V. Picache or Minviluz Diesta. Tel. 528-4434 or 527-2192 loc. 307.