Lester Demetillo’s Protest Songs in Abelardo Hall

Exterior to the canon of dead composers that is still being propagated in conservatories in Manila (though one can apologize for the ideology of this canon in terms of its benefit in musical discipline and training), UP College of Music inculcates all types of humanly significant music expressions that have created diverse forms of solidarities in histories. In the Philippines, music did and continues to matter in the formation and sustenance of its pluralistic societies. Without  it, how social realities have been experienced through time cannot be conveyed. It proposes ‘truths” beyond rational calculation and appeals to collective memories, embodied sensations, or to what one would call, ‘direct experience.’ Though this is individually mediated, ‘direct experience’ is always social because music is communicative (yet not in the manner of symbolic words).

 On Thursday, August 16, 6:30 pm, Abelardo Hall Auditorium, UP College of Music relives ‘protest songs’ composed by its guitar faculty, Lester Demetillo, during years of political upheaval in the 1970s and 1980s in the Philippines. Lester will be joined by his sister Becky Demetillo and her husband UP Diliman professor in Art Studies, Edru Abraham, who will annotate the show. Becky used to sing with Karina Constantino-David as “Inang Laya”  whose vocal renditions during years of political oppression moved sentiment and social critique into democratic public opinion and social reforms. Lester’s songs are set to texts by noted activists Ed Maranan, Doming Landicho, and Karina David. Lester’s songs are partly inspired by American protest songs, having been influenced in particular by creations during the Great American Depression of 1930s and particularly that which emerged from 1960s and 1970s civil rights and liberties movement such as those by Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary. In the Abelardo Hall concert, Lester will be joined by Astarte Abraham, Mario Andres, and Lory Paredes.

 The concert is dedicated to the late activist Susan Fernandez and visual arts professor of UP Baguio Darnay Demetillo.

For details regarding admission tickets to the show,  please call Josie Baradas of UP Music at 929.6963 or 926.0026.

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