Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Transmission of Araquio Music, Songs, and Movement Conventions: Learning, Experience, and Meaning in Devotional Theatre

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Transmission of Araquio Music, Songs, and Movement Conventions: Learning, Experience, and Meaning in Devotional Theatre

Article excerpt

Araquio, a verse play on the search of the holy cross, is an indigenous folk theatre in the town of Penaranda, province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines that has survived for over a hundred years. This ethnographic-phenomenological study explores the holistic nature of the transmission and learning processes of araquio music and songs as a theatre-ritual. Its transmission as a social phenomenon is an avenue for music learning that may in fact overshadow its being a diminishing tradition. Using the framework of three modes of enculturation (Merriam, 1964) and interpretation of culture (Geertz, 1973), I investigate the music transmission and learning processes and sought to reveal how these processes were meaningful to the practitioners. Participants in this inquiry involve 21 adult practitioners, namely: 4 maestros (teachers of araquio), 3 female and 5 male personajes (characters of the verse play), and 9 musikeros (community musicians). An ethnographic method is employed using participant-observation and informal semi-structured interview script. Guiding questions have centered on how transmission and learning strategies, and meaning define these experiences. As a living oral tradition, intergenerational learning is found to be the product of transmission by enculturation occurring in the araquio and happens within genealogical generation. The practitioners, through the unspoken meaning of the tradition, have certain unspoken factors: unity of purpose, ancestral adhesion, unification of tribal strength, and shared experiences. Keywords: Musical Transmission, Teaching and Learning, Cultural Anthropology, Musical Experience, Intergenerational Learning, Theatre Ritual

In the village of Santo Tomas, in the town of Penaranda, province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines, the araquio is annually performed with a script Entitled Santa Cruz de Mayo (The Holy Cross of May). Authored by Leon Estanislao in 1880. (1) I would define that araquio is a verse play with mythologized story on Queen Helena's search of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. The script includes sixteen major characters which include two religious groups: Christian and Muslim heroes. In the Philippines, Catholicism in folk theatre is significantly manifested in all forms of komedya, (2) a Filipino folk theatre originated from a Western form introduced by the Spanish colonization in the Philippines for more than three centuries (Beltran, 1987; Peterson, 2007). (3)

Classified as local genre of Filipino komedya, the araquio is considered as one of the most popular religious-secular local dramas in Philippine tradition. In the most popular plot like that of the araquio, royal characters of the medieval European kingdoms battle their Middle Eastern antagonists. Presented for two consecutive days during the first Saturday and Sunday of the month of May usually from morning to evening, its colorful costumes, various choreographed sword fights, marching formations, songs and additional improvised fairy-like effects, provide delightful experience for the audience. (4)

Today, the araquio utilizes the local poetic stylized delivery of verses, conventionalized movements such as structured marching formations, choreographed sword fights, songs, and dances with distinct live musical accompaniment played by the community band. Its music, songs, and dances have been transmitted for over a hundred years. (5)

The transmission of music, songs and movement conventions has been very significant in the lives of its main practitioners fulfilling dual functions as a form of entertainment and devotional expression to their patron saint, an icon called Mahal na Poong Santa Krus (Beloved Holy Cross). Furthermore, an emblematic annual production includes participation by the entire Catholic community who consider themselves devotees to the araquio tradition. It is believed that this inclusion of religious participation through ritual dance began in the village since it is considered to be the cradle of araquio (Ibarra, 2002, p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.