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Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.


Contact: Ted DeAdwyler
phone: (415) 338-1665 or (415) 338-1665

Danongan Kalanduyan named Artist-in Residence at SFSU

A master of traditional Filipino music

SAN FRANCISCO, September 14, 2000--Danongan "Danny" Kalanduyan (Ka-LAND-due-yan), known worldwide as a master of the popular traditional kulintang music of the Filipino American community, will spend two years working with students in Asian American Studies as a Distinguished Artist-In-Residence in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.

During his residency at S.F. State, Kalanduyan will focus on fusing his traditional music of the Mindanao region of the southern Philippines with the newer, nontraditional drumming music that has become very popular in the Filipino American community. In combining the two musical styles, Kalanduyan hopes to create a new sound.

"The music is a way for Filipinos to communicate with each other," said Kalanduyan, who leads a group called the Palabuniyan Kulintang Ensemble. "It is performed for entertainment purposes, for weddings and for other social occasions as well. But what it does more than anything else is to bring Filipinos together and help us retain our cultural heritage."

Kalanduyan, 54, began playing his native music when he was four years old. With no formal musical training, he eventually mastered the Maguidanano tribal style of music. Kalanduyan, who earned a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship in 1995, is considered one of the most creative musicians on the kulintang instrument, which is made up of eight gongs placed horizontally in a frame and serves as the central player in a jazz-like ensemble. In addition to serving as an artist-in-residence in the ethnomusicology program at the University of Washington, Kalanduyan has performed at prestigious venues such as the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

"Danny has done more than anyone to keep alive the traditional kulintang music of the Philippines," said Dan Begonia, professor of Asian American Studies at S.F. State and an authority on Filipino American culture. "This is a major coup to have Danny on our campus and working with our students. Danny is preserving this traditional music but at the same time he is exposing it to so many others."

The music is especially popular in the Bay Area, home to more than 320,000 Filipino Americans. The study of traditional Filipino music in terms of its connection with Filipino values and culture has become an important aspect of Begonia's Asian American Studies class "The Psyche and Behavior of Filipinos," a course so popular that enrollment has doubled since last year.

"Traditional kulintang music is a very important part of the Filipino culture because the music evolved before the pre-Colonial time period in the Philippines. There is no Western influence on the music, another reason it is so popular in the Flipino American community and among our students," said Begonia, who was instrumental in securing a

$35,000 grant from the Lillian Haas Foundation for Kalanduyan's stay at S.F. State. In addition, Kalanduyan has been funded by the California Arts Council for its Artist-In-The-Community program, which will allow him to provide free kulintang lessons to the public. Begonia anticipates that a significant number of S.F. State students will take part in the community effort.

As a result of his popular class, Begonia and his students formed the Ating Tao Drum Circle. With a revolving membership of about 30 current and former students of Begonia, the percussion ensemble frequently performs at events throughout the Bay Area Filipino American community.

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Last modified April 24, 2007, by Office of Public Affairs