If there is one driving message of the late Danongan 'Danny' Kalanduyan, who is credited for introducing kulintang music (literally meaning golden sound moving) to the US, it was that he wanted his own people to understand their music. "Three hundred and fifty years of Spanish colonization influenced so much of the Philippines that this ancient music practiced by the tribes in the south is not recognizable to them." This quote can be found on the
National Endowment of the Arts website where Danny is a featured 1995 National Heritage Fellow. This being our nation's highest honor for a traditional artist and culture-bearer, the quote encapsulates his tireless teaching and performing career in relation to his community. Another example of Kalunduyan's artistic leadership in his many community-based projects can be seen in his 2001 Creative Work Fund collaboration with the Ethnic Studies Department at San Francisco State University. A two-year collaboration among Kalanduyan, as the lead artist, professor Dan Begonia of the Ethnic Studies Depart at SF State, and the Ating Tao Drum Circle, a Filipino American student performing group, led to performances of new works based on traditional kulintang music and dance from the Southern Philippines. In 2009, Danny was awarded a Broad Fellowship in Music with the United States Artists, which recognizes the most accomplished and innovative artists in the US, emphasizing the importance of originality across every creative discipline.
Our continuing statewide Roundtable Series brought together our ACTA board of directors, staff and a host of artists, cultural activists, and colleagues for a program on October 5th, 2016 which we named: Oakland! Traditional Artists' Creative Collaboration with the World.
Acknowledging the vitality of the East Bay as a place that nurtures traditional arts practices and supports many culture-bearers, we visited with friends and colleagues over food, conversation and art-sharing.
On September 30, 2016 the 2016 NEA National Heritage Fellows were honored at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC. The event was emcee'd by ACTA Board President and 2015 NEA National Heritage Fellow Dan Sheehy. The concert can be streamed in full at: www.arts.gov.