Ang Bagong Harana: Old Songs with a New Twist

Edit - June 7, 2012 -- Catch this year's rerun with these last remaining shows June 7 and 8 at 8pm, June 9 at 3:30pm and 8pm and June 10 at 3:30pm. Tickets at P1500, P1200, P1000 and P500. You won't regret seeing it!

Edit - Sept. 30: I watched Harana last night and was blown away by the wonderful production. Please read my review at and see why you HAVE to see it! Last three shows starting tonight.

I grew up in Laguna and learned to sing a lot of folk songs from my grandmother as well as from my elementary music teachers. Up to now, I still know the melodies and lyrics to many of those old tunes. 

I find it sad that majority of young people today seem only interested in listening to songs with English words and are sung by foreign artists. I am thankful that my kids at least appreciate modern OPM songs despite their lack of exposure to the Filipino music of my youth.

The reality is, young ones nowadays are no longer familiar with Harana, the traditional form of courtship where a man woos a woman’s affection through love songs. This practice was how a man would court a woman he fancies by tagging along other male friends and singing songs about love (Kundiman) while accompanied by his barkada’s back-up vocals and a guitar. Imagine the balcony scene between Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to get the picture then add some music.

Kundiman became a mainstream musical style until the late 60’s thanks to veteran performers Diomedes Maturan and Ruben Tagalog. However, when the newer music genres entered the scene, harana seemed to have become easily forgotten. 

Today, the young generation may no longer know the real essence of harana as far as Filipino folk traditions go. According to Karla Gutierrez, artistic director of the Philippine Opera Company, it is the reason why the POC is reviving this beautiful Filipino heritage.

Thus, for its 2011-2012 season, the POC will be presenting a newer and fresher version of harana through newer and fresher versions of immortal and classic Filipino songs that can be considered as one-of-a-kind and never seen performances by the Philippines’ foremost artists from the field of music.

The show, dubbed 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 (please click here for the lineup) 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”.

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 Filipino composers (Nicanor Abelardo, Ryan Cayabyab, Willy Cruz, Francisco Santiago, Antonio Molina, Resti Umali, George Canseco, Ernani Cuenco, Levi Celerio, Jose Estrella, Constancio De Guzman, Felipe de Leon, and more) from different music genres.

The show will also feature some of 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. Visit my other blog to read the profile of each artist.

Ang Bagong Harana is a musical journey every Filipino must take and which all of us should be proud of. It’s a must-see production where old and young alike can rediscover our very own kundiman music. 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.

This production is moreover a tribute to the Filipino youth of today who have been drawn to Western influences. Perhaps, they can learn from the show the 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 tickets please call Philippine Opera Company at 881-7168 or 0917-5272880 or TicketWorld at 891-9999. You can also log on to and "Like" Harana on Facebook.

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