Spain's conquest in the 1500s left an indelible musical mark in the regions it colonized and christianized. For me as a musician, what's interesting is the way the natives adopted and incorporated the foreign aspects and made them their own.
Argentina has tango. Mexico has mariachi. Cuba has son. Philippines has harana.
Whether natives wanted it or not, trade was definitely in effect and the profitable Manila Galleon - giant ships filled with luxury items that sailed from Manila to Acapulco once a year from 1565 to 1815 - undoubtedly exchanged more than just dried goods.
I once heard a performance of a Mexican folk song (A La Orilla de un Palmar) that struck me as identical to the Philippine harana in spirit, melodic construction, rhythm and lyric content. I literally expected the performers to burst into Tagalog verse. But alas, they kept singing in Spanish to my disappointment. But it made me wonder. Thusly was the seed of this album germinated.
While there has not been extensive studies made of this connection and influence, the concept of this album is meant to tantalize rather than prove, and that perhaps further exploration, musical or otherwise, could get going. After all, galleon crew members have been known to disembark permanently, marrying the natives and settling, thus leaving their mark on the land culturally and … musically.
- Florante Aguilar