Kuntaw Mindanao

TAGUM City’s Kuntaw Mindanao, a group of music artists known for popularizing indigenous music through its songs that fuses the indigenous sounds with various musical genres, flew out to Uzbekistan August 22 to participate in the “Sharq taronalari (Melodies of Orient),” a biennial festival of traditional music from different countries under the patronage of Unesco.

The host Samarkand is in the Unesco World Heritage List, as it stands on the crossroad of the Great Silk Road and have took the effort to preserve until present times the culture, art and unique architecture of the ancient world civilizations.

Sharq Taronalari has the full support of the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports Affairs of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, National Television Broadcasting Company of Uzbekistan, Pop music union “Uzbeknavo,” the Union of Composers of Uzbekistan, and Samarkand regional government.

The festival, first held in 1997, aims for wide popularization, preservation and development of the best achievements of traditional music, education of the young generation in the spirit of continuing national traditions and further expanding its international creative communications.

Aside from the music performances and competition, Sharg taronalari also features scientific and practical conference with musicologists, composers and performers. Kuntaw Mindanao, on the other hand, has been winning in several Mindanao world music festivals that seek to popularize Mindanao music and have been invited to perform in several Philippine festivals.

Kuntaw Mindanao is also the only Filipino band highly commended in the Freedom to Create Prize, a campaign on global peace and harmony that connects people’s lives. The group is in the frontline of advancing local music, arts and culture in partnership with the Musikahan Sa Tagum Foundation Inc. -- one of the Regional Art Centers in Mindanao of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the country’s premier art and cultural institution.

The group composing the Philippine delegation are: Alma L. Uy - President, The Musikahan Sa Tagum Foundation Inc. and the head of the delegation; Jun Jamero, project officer of The Musikahan Sa Tagum Foundation Inc. and the group's international coordinator; Neil L. Cervantez - The artistic director/music artist/gong and kulintang player; Elijun S. Felicilda – vocalist; Nelson L. Mende - acoustic guitarist; Ronald Dalogdog - bass guitarist; Phil Lester Lavares - drum beater; and Romar Cinto - drum beater.

This is only the third time that the Philippines is part of the festival. The first one was in 2007, then in 2009.

The group has the support of the Musikaha Sa Tagum Foundation, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Office of Secretary Lu Antonino of Mindanao Development Authority (MindDA); Office of Congressman Anthony G. del Rosario, Congresswomen Maricar Apsay, Governor Arturo L. Uy of Comval, The Office of Senators JV Ejecito Estrada, Senator Loren Legarda, Secretary Mark Lapid, Senator Chiz Escudero, Former Tagum City Mayor Rey T. Uy, Madam Alma L. Uy and Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario.
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