Monday, May 28, 2007

Grace Nono, goddess

"Of an altogether different caliber was Grace Nono, who gave a spectacular rendition of 'Iduyan Mo.' Laced with strange, wondrous wails and ululations, the song became a priestess' clarion call to the elements--and further evidence of the elasticity and sophistication of [Ryan] Cayabyab's best material." ("Show-stopper after show-stopper," PDI Oct. 23, 2004)

That voice--pure, mystical, hypnotic. Quite possibly the sound you'd hear on the Morning of Creation. Grace Nono's voice stays with you long after you're out of the performance hall, reawakening in you a connection to both the earthy and the divine.

Watched her just this afternoon in an intimate concert of ethnic chants, prayers, lamentations and rejoicing, and she was brilliant. Hair-raisingly so.

You'd think a show built around ancient incantations would be boring; this one--with authentic sounds Ms. Nono painstakingly learned from the T'boli, Kalinga, Maranao, Ibanag and Manobo tribes, plus a Batangueno devotional and a Visayan song of encouragement--shimmered, conjured up vistas, rocked the heavens, caressed the heart. (Bob Aves did the majestic musical arrangements.)

Dear God, make Ms. Nono a National Artist someday. But in the meantime, get more people to watch her repeat show (moved from the PETA Theater to Sinag Arts Studio in Mandaluyong) on June 2, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. The concert, "Tinig: Sacred Chants and Intimations," also serves as the culminating showcase of the lights design and sound design workshops conducted by the technical theater pillars behind Sinag Arts, premiere lighting designer Shoko Matsumoto (a Japanese woman with not a drop of Filipino blood who has opted to stay in the country to work with Filipino artists--kudos to her) and sound designer Jethro Joaquin.

Ms. Nono's voice and art are more than music to the ears. They are a balm to the spirit, and a link to a proud yet fragile heritage that has so much to teach us, and is ours to lose only to our eternal regret.

Sinag Arts Studio is at 664 San Ignacio St., Barangay Plainview, Mandaluyong City. For tickets, call 5313491, fax 5319524, email or visit

[video copyright © ABS-CBN]


joelmcvie said...

Putanginang kakakilabot na performance! Hindi lang yung boses ni Grace Nono ha. Pati yung orchestration--HAYLAVETH! And the "duyan" ballet moves too. The whole thing is mesmerizing to watch and listen to.

Gregg Lloren said...

Sana maalala ko ang date ng next concert nya. It's been a long time since I was ogled by Grace on stage.

Thanks for letting us know Gibbs.

I'm crossing my fingers I could watch this one.

snglguy said...

Hmmm, haven't heard from Ms Nono for quite some time now. But thanks to this entry, I now know that she's still around... with still the same magnificent voice. :-)

totomai said...

her song salidumay is one of my favorite songs. it must be a great experience to see her live gibbs. sana makakapanood ako sa show niya

Gina said...

Wow! She is really one of a kind! Talagang naiiba. She never fails to mesmerize . The few times I've watched her on TV (years ago), I've always admired her style and her powerful voice. Thanks for sharing this wonderful video. I've searced on YouTube for some of her videos but I only saw a few and the quality wasn't that great. I was trying to remember the song that I liked so much ,complete with that native instrument sound- just read the title in the previous comment- Salidumay!

gibbs cadiz said...

hello MCVIE, watch ka na sa concert niya, go! mas kakila-kilabot in the flesh! :)

hi GREG LLOREN, do watch her concert! :)

SNGLGUY, ikaw din, hope you can make it to her concert. and no, di nila ako PR ha; as usual, saw her, liked what i saw and i have to let people know how good she is. she's the kind of uncompromising artist who needs our support badly, right? :)

go TOTOMAI! :)

hey GINA, she sings salidumay as the finale of her concert. galeng! :)

Darwin said...

Hi Gibbs. Would you know if she's staging another concert? I kind of missed this entry by seven days.

gibbs cadiz said...

hi DARWIN, uh, not sure if she's doing a repeat. i'll post it here as soon as i hear something. hope you get to catch it next time. :)

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