Preview of “Sound Tenderness: Music of the Non-violent Palawanun Society in Southern Philippines”

A video documentary produced and directed by Dr. Jose S. Buenconsejo, dean of the College of Music, will be previewed on 23 February 2017, 6:00 p.m., at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium.

Dubbed “Sound Tenderness: Music of the Non-violent Palawanun Society in Southern Philippines,” it resonates with the message of respect for cultural differences and appreciation for the resilience of the music of the marginalized groups in Philippines, values for which the College of Music stands.

The film was funded by the National Research Council of the Philippines.

Admission is free.

Below is the gist of the documentary:

Non-violent society is extremely rare in the human species. The Palawanun in Southern Philippines is an exceptional case whose culture is manifest in their delicate and tender music, save the boisterous gong and drum in celebratory dance and, in former days, rice wine drinking feasts.

In Palawanun society, negative emotions like anger are not channeled to violent acts–men and women nor children never hurting each other–but by repression, a number of times of which has led to tragic suicides.

Palawan people rationalize acts of suicides as “hereditary,” i.e., if parents commit suicide, then children would most likely follow them. This documentary suggests that the predisposition to suicide is not genetic but is underscored by social conformity. Palawan music is a compelling evidence of conformity.

Music, which is often seen as providing a moment of forgetfulness to sour interpersonal relations, is not a solution to suicide. For a society who values working in groups, alienation from society is the most painful human experience. Rather than forgetfulness, music accentuates the feeling for togetherness, the absence of which means death or embracing the opposite of society which is nature.

This documentary, filmed in Minahaw, Bonobono, Bataraza, Palawan from 12 to 16 August 2016, contemplates Palawanun music in the praxis of its social use.