Ang Bagong Harana - Press Release



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. Widely practiced all over the Philippines up until World War II, the ‘harana’ is done at night when the folk are already asleep, the ‘lady’ being courted would get up from her bed and together with her kinsfolk, the ‘window’ is opened as a polite gesture of appreciation until the rest of the songs are completed.  “The ‘harana’ is quite similar to the balcony scene of William Shakepeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” but delivered in a medieval poetry.

The ‘harana’ or ‘kundiman’ became a mainstream musical style with veteran performers namely Diomedes Maturan and Ruben Tagalog popularizing it until the late 60’s. Unfortunately, with the advent of newer music genres, ‘harana’ has quietly been left behind. Today, the young generation may not even know its real essence as far as Filipino folk traditions are concerned. And that is the one singular reason why POC is reviving this beautiful Filipino culture,” says Ms. Karla Gutierrez, artistic director of the Philippine Opera Company.

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.

 So, what makes “ Ang Bagong Harana ” different?

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 “ who we are as a Filipino ” and “ where we have all come from ”.

“ Ang Bagong Harana ” will showcase the best of all the Filipino songs from different music genres  “Pakiusap”, “Anak Dalita”, “Ili-ili”, “Nasaan Ka Irog”, “Madaling Araw”, “Hating Gabi”, “Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal”, “Ngayon at Kailanman”, “Penpen di Sarapen”, “Leron, Leron Sinta”, “Paraiso”, “Iduyan Mo”, “Kalesa”, “Sa Libis ng Nayon”, “Kahit Ika'y Panaginip Lang” --- 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.

Musical arrangers for “Ang Bagong Harana” are multi-awarded composers and arrangers – Von de Guzman, Jessie Lasaten and Paulo Zarate.

“ 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.

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.

“ 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.

“ Ang Bagong Harana ” will have a limited run from September 29-October 1 at 8pm with matinee at 3:30 pm on October 1 at the Carlos P. Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati.

For ticket sales please call Philippine Opera Company at 881-7168 or 0917-5272880 or TicketWorld at 891-9999 or log on to or Like Harana on Facebook.

Meet the casts on my next post!

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