Ang Bagong Harana - Philippine Opera Company


The word “harana” is a Tagalog word (the predominant Philippine dialect) that connotes a traditional form of courtship in which a man woos a woman’s affection by singing love songs.

This iconic romantic tradition is the penultimate test for the Pinoy macho in the early 1920’s to court the woman he fancies in their neighborhood. Accompanied by two to three other male ‘barkadas’ with the guitar as the only musical instrument, the main male proponent would sing around two to three locally-written songs about the joys of love, and how one’s heart longs for the woman destined to be his wife.

In 2008, POC produced the critically-acclaimed hit “ Harana ” as a vehicle to showcase the evolution of Philippine music through song and movement. Its numerous reviews from Manila’s art cognoscenti and clamor for more shows further boosted “ Harana ” to conquer the international scene when it went on a tour of Amsterdam in 2009. Upon the group’s return, the 2010 regional tour covering the cities of Cebu, Roxas, Antique, Bohol, Dumaguete and Palawan continued to reap more success and acclaim. For the early part of 2011, “ Harana ” has performed in Bacolod, Ormoc, Tacloban and Samar.

For the 2011-2012 season of the Philippine Opera Company, “ Ang Bagong Harana ” takes another bold step with a newer and fresher version with an array of immortal and classic Filipino songs that will be interpreted in “never seen performances” by the country’s foremost artists from the field of music.

My good friend Mr. Marvin Gayramon (inset on right),  is part of this group.  Marvin is One of the most sought-after classical singers and music theater performers in the country today. He hastoured extensively around the Philippines and in key cities in Asia, the United States and Canada participating in music festivals, competitions and doing critically-acclaimed concerts and show stoppers. A few of his credits include Madame Butterfly, Gianni Schicci, La Traviata, Le Nozze Di Figaro, Sussanah, Slow Dusk, May Day Eve, why flowers bloom in may among many others. marvin was also part of the opening team of Hong Kong Disneyland as a Principal Vocalist playing Quasimodo in The Golden Mickey's show.

So what makes this Bagong Harana special? 

According to Floy Quintos (a multi-awarded writer, director and Carlos Palanca winner), this new ‘harana’ is going to be much more challenging as over-all director because of the wholistic approach in looking at our culture and the music that resonates from every region in our country.

“ Ang Bagong Harana ” will integrate past, present, north, south, colonial, post-colonial experiences and put them into a revue where our whole souls will be the source of inspiration. The different suites shall mix old and new songs re-mixed, re-arranged and re-edited while talking about. The creation of each Harana ‘suite’ is a product of thorough research with the commitment to preserve indigenous Philippine music and its appropriate dance and folklore.

“ Ang Bagong Harana ” will showcase the best of all the Filipino composers from different music genres --- Nicanor Abelardo, Ryan Cayabyab, Willy Cruz, Francisco Santiago, Antonio Molina, Resti Umali, George Canseco, Ernani Cuenco, Levi Celerio, Jose Estrella, Constancio De Guzman and Felipe de Leon, to name a few.

“ Ang Bagong Harana ” will feature Philippine theater’s celebrated singers - Karla Gutierrez, Aizel Prietos, Charley Magalit, Janine Santos, Marian Santiago, Lawrence Jatayna, Jack Salud, Nazer Salcedo, Marvin Gayramon, Al Gatmaitan, Jurgen Unterberg and Floyd Tena.

“ Ang Bagong Harana ” is truly the musical journey every Filipino should take and all Filipinos should be proud of. Every suite and costume details were thoroughly researched by the artistic team.

“ Ang Bagong Harana ” is also a tribute to the Filipino youth of today. As more and more younger kids are drawn to become ‘musical artists,’ most of them have been drawn to Western influences. Perhaps, the young kids of today can learn from “ Ang Bagong Harana ” specially, those who need to assert their own Filipino identity through the rich music heritage we have.

It’s a must-see production for every Filipino who wants to hear our very own ‘ kundiman ’ music amidst all other music genres, which are now perpetuating our local music scene. This will also serve as a musical treat for foreigners as an initial step to immerse themselves in a truly authentic Filipino music environment with the hope of making them understand our country’s cultural and musical heritage.

Catch the limited run of "ANG BAGONG HARANA" at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium from September 29-October. 1. For tickets please call 0917-5272880 or 881-7168 or TicketWorld at 891-9999 :)

I'm thinking of doing a Harana myself.  hmmmmm :)

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