Kundiman love songs celebrated by Filipino language advocates

Kundiman love songs
Covers of Kundiman music albums.

The Kundiman, a traditional Filipino love song, was celebrated by Filipino language advocates during the Araw ni Balmaseda at the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF).

The KWF awarded the prestigious Gawad Julian Cruz Balmaseda 2020 to the research on the Filipino song genre conducted by Regina Starr B. Abelardo, granddaughter of Kundiman champion Nicanor Abelardo.

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The young Abelardo’s thesis research titled “Pagbabanyuhay ng Pag-ibig: Pagtatambal ng Panitikan at Musika sa Kundiman (Metamorphosis of Love: Harmony of Literature and Music in the Kundiman)” was chosen by the judges for its depth and skill of tackling the nature of Kundiman as an art form in the field of music and literature.

The term “Kundiman” refers to the genre of traditional Filipino love songs that is often sung in courtship serenades in the Philippines.

“Ang wikang Filipino ay wika ng pagkakaisa at nagbibigkis sa atin tungo sa isang makabayang bansa (The Filipino language is the language of unity that brings us together as a patriotic nation).

“Mahalagang linangin natin ito sa mas mataas na antas ng intelektuwalisasyon tulad ng paggamit dito bilang wika ng saliksik (It is important that we develop the Filipino language as a language of intellectual discourse, such as in research),” Abelardo said in a PIA release about the award.

The KWF’s Gawad Julian Cruz Balmaseda given to Regina Starr B. Abelardo on January 28, 2020, is the most respected and highest-rated KWF tribute to unique theses and dissertations on science, math, social science, and other related matters using the Filipino language. It comes with prize money of Php100,000, plaque of recognition, and an opportunity to be published as a KWF Aklat ng Bayan.

The Gawad Julian Cruz Balmaseda 2020 judges included Dr. Clement Camposano of UP Diliman, Dr. Jovino Miroy of Ateneo De Manila University, and Ma. Crisanta Flores of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino.

Regina Starr B. Abelardo has an MA in Philippine Studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman where her grandfather Nicanor Abelardo was a student at the Conservatory of Music. Nicanor Abelardo composed the music of the official university anthem, the UP Naming Mahal. Prof. Abelardo is a researcher at the UP Center for Ethnomusicology and a professor at the Lyceum of the Philippines.

With reports from Gicel Livelo.

Philippine languages are being saved and nurtured in various initiatives, among them, an online dictionary project collaboration of UP scientists and linguists, the adding of local languages on Google Word Lens, Filipino language studies at the University of Berlin and in Canada schools.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Regina Starr Abelardo and the KWF language advocates for nurturing the Filipino language in research!

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