Multi-awarded actress and Time Magazine Asian Heroine Chin-Chin Gutierrez makes her debut as a musical artist and record producer with the release of “UYAYI: A Collection of Philippine Lullabies” -- an enchanted journey featuring a unique collection of traditional lullabies, which was launched last December 8, 2003 at Mag:Net Gallery at The Loop@9501, ABS-CBN Compound, Quezon City.
Featuring lullabies collected from across the archipelago, UYAYI is a collaboration of kindred spirits – artists, musicians and educators, village leaders and common folks, dreamers and visionaries – who continue to hear the music that brings us back to the soothing joy and comfort of the cradle. Among the featured artists and arrangers in the album are music shamans Bo Razon, Joey Ayala, Tots Tolentino, Malou Matute and Rachel Conanan, who conjured magical interpretations of these traditional melodies.
Known for her multi-faceted talents as a film actress, theater artist and environmental activist, Chin-Chin Gutierrez refers to UYAYI as an “intimate advocacy”.
“While doing field research and recordings for UYAYI, I heard the intimate songs and stories of mountains, hills, forests and shores, all wishing to create a safe and loving space for everyone. Music, in this case, is not just a craft, a cultural heritage, or an item to be bought or sold. It is a map to our
precious, collective homes – to a dwelling place outside the boundaries of my Manila, your fishing boat or their huts. It is also so human to nurture and sustain those whom we are most intimate with. This is my dream – that we may know our land and our people so intimately, it would be difficult not to care for and sustain their lives.”
In the three years it took to complete this project, she went on a personal journey all over the Philippines, doing field research, interviews and recordings with the various tribal and linguistic groups who shared their cradle music with her – some of which are now documented for the very first time.
From village leaders and tribal shamans to housewives, students and soap vendors, over 30 sources lent their voices to the making of UYAYI. “Each time I asked these kind and gentle souls for a lullaby, something intimate was revealed,” recalls Chin-Chin. “It was as though the songs have always been there, playing in their hearts, silent and unheard – until a stranger asked to hear them.”
Many of the songs passed on to her, according to Chin-Chin, were free-flowing improvisations that were mostly spontaneous and unstructured. She collected almost a hundred folk tunes, learning to sing them in their original languages and understanding their lyrics through the basic translations
provided by the sources themselves. The songs that made it to the album were carefully selected to represent the different bioregions of the country, classified into burol (hills), kapatagan (plains), baybayin (coasts) and kabundukan (mountains).
“In UYAYI, we find snapshots of private parent-child moments from various parts of the country, presenting styles that are as varied as the lyrical contents,” says ethnomusicologist Verne de La Pena of the UP College of Music, who provided academic direction to the project. “This collection deals with an act that perhaps all human societies have done for ages -- putting their babies to sleep by singing lullabies.”
Aside from 17 tracks of fresh interpretations performed by Chin-Chin Gutierrez, the special, double CD edition also features recordings from the original sources and a short “video journal” recounting some of the most memorable moments in the making of this remarkable project, produced with a partial grant from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
Music that travels with the speed of love -- passed on from parent to child… and back to the child in every adult. A celebration of heart songs that remind us of what continues to make us smile. Cry. Love. Or even sleep peacefully.