BAYAN KO: The Canmore Singers Sings The Kundiman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGJsCNc0M_4

2nd update:June 17, 2021, 4:05 P.M.

Updated: June 14, 2021, 6:43 P.M.

Canmore, Alberta

A choir that’s only been established six months ago was able to perform the Filipino folk song virtually at the artsPlace in Canmore, Alberta on June 2, 2021.

Mildred German

Unceded Territories – Filipino Heritage Month is a month-long celebration which happens in the month of June in Canada.  Inspired by the June 12 Philippine Independence Day which falls on June 12, the celebration also heightens Filipino’s pride and patriotism.

In Alberta, a newly established virtual choir named The Canmore Singers sings Bayan Ko ( also referred to as “My Country” in English) for the Filipino Heritage Month celebration.

The beautiful performance and rendition of Bayan Ko by this choir was heard not only by fellow Filipinos but also by other guests during the cultural learning circle event called “Focus on Filipino Culture” held on June 2, 2021.

“Focus on Filipino Culture” was a well-attended event with a choir performance led by Filipino-Canadian conductor, Jyn San Miguel (www.jynsanmiguel.com), then followed by the chorus in the performance.

 

Screen grab of Jyn San Miguel singing Bayan Ko.

This virtual event was attended by politicians, community members, and guests who wished to celebrate the Filipino Heritage Month with the Filipino community in Canmore, Alberta. Canmore is about an hour’s drive from Calgary and 300 km. from Edmonton.

With the other performers who are not native speakers of the Filipino language joining in singing, they did their best to sing the patriotic song in the spirit of “Bayanihan”.

With vocals by Jyn San Miguel, The Canmore Singers in the chorus, and Jeamnard Balitaan (Youtube JB Piano Creations) in the piano cover, Bayan Ko is wonderfully performed. The video performance is available on youtube,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGJsCNc0M_4.

Other choir members  include Jorge, Audrey Manila, Elia Lopez, Andrea Tynedal, Donna Demecillo, Bernadette De Silva, Mary Grace Garcia, Ares Sigua, Basma, Elle Fournier, Becky Lipton Fournier, Jeremy Tynedal, Jun Collado, and Tannia Burelo.

BE KIND: WHAT BAYANIHAN MEANS

“BAYANIHAN means being a community hero for each other. It came from the root word BAYAN which means community. BAYANI means hero.” -The Canmore Singers

Bayanihan is the Filipino word for communal unity and of the strong values in helping others to achieve common  goals without expecting rewards or something in return. It is these strong values and selflessness that helped build our nation in times of crisis.

Although there are strong Filipino communities in Alberta, systemic racism and anti-Asian hate are pervasive. San Miguel, who was born and raised in the Philippines, shared in the June 2nd artsPlace event, his own experiences of discrimination in Canada. The event also discussed promoting inclusion for the newly-arrived migrants and immigrants in their new found home in Canada.

“There are a lot of Filipinos in the Bow Valley but this is a great way for us to be seen and for people to learn a little more about us.” San Miguel said in an interview with Rocky Mountain Outlook (rmotoday.com) on May 28, 2021.

https://www.rmotoday.com/mountain-guide/filipino-community-ready-to-break-down-cultural- barriers-3811362?fbclid=IwAR0E-T3QW8N4inwYH0oC7MMhgJLnlhQUl9F0vrVAX3iuQtE5 mlABYh91pPc

“Let us all be BAYANI for each other. That’s the true spirit of BAYANIHAN”, the Canmore Singers stated.

With  over 37 million population in Canada, there are 851, 410 people of Filipino descent (as of the 2016 Canadian Census). Although less than a million, the Filipino community is one of the fastest growing groups in Canada, with most migration and immigrant stories tied to labour.

BAYAN KO

Originally titled “Nuestra Patria”, Bayan Ko was written in Spanish and attributed to General Jose Alejandrino during the  Philippine-American War of 1899 –  1902.The song which expresses opposition to the ongoing American occupation of the Philippines has also been attributed o Andres Bonifacio, the founder of the revolutionary movement Katipunan. Its Tagalog translation came three decades later by the poet Jose Corazon de Jesus.

Bayan Ko is one of the most recognizable patriotic songs of the Philippines and has been used as a protest song by different political groups in many timelines.

It was also one of the popular anthems of protest during the Marcos era. Public performances of the song were banned during Martial Law.

Through the years as a kundiman (Tagalog serenade song), Bayan Ko remains a song of patriotic love among many Filipinos in the Philippines and the diaspora with hearts and thoughts still connected and longing for  their ancestral lands.

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