Utom, Florante’s new composition, is inspired by the music of the T’boli people in Southern Mindanao, Philippines. Awarded as a composition grant by the Gerbode Foundation, Utom will premiere in June 2019 in San Francisco and presented by Kularts. Utom (oo-tawm) is a musical concept by the T’boli whereby instruments are used to depict the sounds of nature or to describe an event. 

As animists, the T’boli believe that everything in our universe is a manifestation of the divine, and art and music are the “voice” of the divine. As such, music is a powerful expression when it comes to narrating  T’boli mythologies.

The composition in eight movements, musically narrates the myth of Lake Sebu’s formation along with the T’boli deities and royalty – Boi Henwu the princess, Kludan, the hunter and Boi Henwu’s servant, and Lemugot, a demi-god sent to seduce the princess.

 

 

Florante Aguilar & the Utom Ensemble

From L to R: Nick Galang (agung, kulintang, percussion), Caroline Cabading (kulintang), Florante Aguilar (hegelung, hang drum), Greg Kehret (bass, percussion) and Sage Baggott (percussion, kulintang & hang drum).