November 30, 2012
Preserving Chamorro songs and chants: Concert highlights efforts of group
By Lacee A.C. Martinez
Pacific Daily News
Guam has a long tradition of family gatherings during the holidays, where prayers are said and music is sung — often in Chamorro.
These traditions, however, have been slipping away, taking the music and language with it.
Through a grant from the Association of Native Americans, Pa’a Taotao Tano’ has been working to preserve much of the music, as well as the newer chants and songs sung in Guam’s native tongue. Tomorrow is your chance to hear some of that music live in concert.
Pa’a Taotao Tano’ and the ANA present a Chamorro music concert to launch a songbook and CD, “I Ukon I Mañaina-ta, Chants and Songs from Our Elders.”
The concert will feature the St. Francis Children’s Choir, EMMAUS! Choir, the San Isidro Catholic Church Christian Mothers and the Pa’a Taotao Tano’ Chanters performing the music documented and recorded in the project.
The work to perpetuate and share the songs nearly lost to the previous generations began in 2010, says Nicole Calvo, project director for Pa’a Taotao Tano’s Chamorro language through chants, prayers and song project.
Two resource tools
The goal was to produce two resource tools — a musically notated songbook and a CD recording of some of the select songs from the book.
The project included a year of interviews with: manamko’ on and off island; techas, prayer leaders from the churches; and the fafanague, the dance leaders of the different guma, or houses, that fall under Pa’a Taotao Tano’. Pa’a Taotao Tano’ is an umbrella organization of 11 different dance groups of Chamorro cultural practitioners, Calvo says.
“We interviewed the manamko’ and talked to them about some of their childhood memories of some of the songs,” she says. “Many of them came back to us singing some of the secular songs and most especially the non-secular — the religious church songs from ... novenas and so forth. We kind of captured that.”
The second year of the project began the transcription of some of the songs into musical notes, for the songbook, which is comprised of some 70 songs — secular and non-secular.
Some of the music includes original compositions from musicians such as Bill Paulino and Cathy Calvo Cruz, who directs the St. Francis Children’s Choir and also worked to document the music with the project.
“We have had a couple of people who had passed away, like a woman named Bernadita Tenorio who had collected volumes and transcribed so many Chamorro songs,” Calvo says. “The family allowed us to go ahead and use her original compositions.”
“My mother’s novena is a continuation from her mother’s and her mother’s mother’s traditions,” Cruz says. “We’re realizing that this is not going to continue unless we make sure it’s absolutely out there physically, not only that our families can benefit but our entire island. If we lose that, we lose who we are entirely and it’s becoming scary. If we don’t make a concerted effort to bring something from the past and make it concrete, we’re going to lose it.”
The project includes secular songs such as “Atan Jesu Kristo” and “Kantayi Gue,” as well as other songs that would have been sung in church or at novenas.
“We have a really beautiful mix of little snippets of our identity,” Cruz says. “Once you sing that, it just gives you a sense of wow — I’m glad I still sing this song.”
The project also includes original chants, many of which have come from Pa’a Taotao Tano’ creative director Frank Rabon, who’s revered as a master of Chamorro dance, Calvo says.
“Over the years, with the help of other students and colleagues, he’s written chants that go with dances and the songs,” she says. “A lot of it, we knew it was very important to capture that and musically notate it for people to enjoy for generations to come.”
If you miss the concert, you will be able to purchase the CD and songbook at the Pa’a Taotao Tano’ office in Hagåtña.
“The next part of this is to take them into the different gumas — the dance houses — and teach that to the children and youth to also learn how to sing it,” Calvo says. “Hopefully from that we’ll be teaching them the Chamorro language as well.”
Friday, November 30, 2012
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Jesus "Chamorro" Charfauros
Un puengi ta'lo
Chamorro radio fans honor decades of 'Oba Skoba'
2:00 PM, Nov. 1, 2012
"One More Night with Jesus 'Chamorro' Charfauros" was held at the Kahida Room in the Guam Plaza Hotel on Sept. 29.
It was a night filled with live Chamorro music with some Chamorro music legends, including Flora Baza Quan, Ike Charfauros, John Acfalle, Ben "Lam Lam" San Nicolas, Rose Certeza, and others.
In the 1970s and '80s, Jesus "Chamorro" Charfauros was a driving force behind Chamorro music on Guam. He ruled the airwaves with his 610AM show, "Programma Chamorrita," incorporating song and the Chamorro language into the music diet of island residents.
And when there wasn't enough Chamorro music to fill the airwaves, he and his brothers, Tommy and Ike Charfauros, would record artists themselves to fill the gaps.
He worked with various local artists throughout the years and many of them came out to sing at the event to honor him. Jesus Chamorro retired several years ago.
Those that remember him on the radio came to love his rhythmic patter, quirky personality and humorous way with words, coining such slang as "oba skoba," meaning "over the top" or "too much."
Big Beat Guam and KISH 102.9 hosted the event, which paid tribute to the man who helped thrust Chamorro music into the mainstream.
Hosts for the evening were Helen "Island Girl" Aguon from Isla 63 and Johnny Z from MegaMixx.
Sens. Ben Pangelinan and Tom Ada, who are running for re-election, presented Charfauros with a legislative resolution honoring his 50-plus years of promoting Chamorro culture and music.
Charfauros started off his speech with a big yell of "Oba skoba!" which got the crowd excited. He thanked everyone for coming to the event to honor him and said, "It's a beautiful night" in Chamorro.
Mark Charfauros, his son, says the family was happy to see friends and family come out to honor his father. He says his father pushed for Chamorro language and culture preservation, and it was fitting that the night was filled with Chamorro music.
In May, the University of Guam bestowed upon Jesus Charfauros the Master of Micronesian Traditional Knowledge honorary degree -- a rare honor.
Mary Blas, 43, says it was a great event and says she remembers listening to Charfauros back in the day. Blas says she was happy to come out to the event because she was able to listen to some of her favorite Chamorro artists live.
"It's not very often that you see so many Chamorro singers in one room," she says.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Guam News - Guam News
The Congressman got to see a selection of the book, flipcharts, and other learning aids that the PSS bilingual program has produced using the earmark funds at this month’s Board of Education meeting. A total of 7,560 books, 150 flip charts, and a series of 16 videos were produced with the congressionally directed funding.
“It’s great to see the results of the work that we did in Congress way back in 2009 finally getting into the hands of our young Refaluwasch and Chamorro language students,” Sablan said.
“Because getting the funding is just the first step. Then there is all of the work to put the money to effective use in our schools: translating the materials, getting everything printed and filmed, and training teachers in how to use these resources.
“PSS and the Chamorro and Carolinian Language Heritage Studies program have done a fine job in that respect.”
Sablan submitted his $250,000 proposal for bilingual study funds during the fiscal year 2010 appropriation cycle; and after making it through the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate the bill with Sablan’s money was signed by the President on December 16, 2009. Altogether Sablan won $1.35 million in congressionally directed funding, or “earmarks,” for the Northern Marianas in FY10. Most went to education.
PSS was formally awarded the funding, after submitting the necessary plan of expenditure, in August of 2010 and has been working on putting the money to use in the intervening years.
PSS bought the rights to translate newly published, Common Core aligned, Bright and Brainy Resource Books for grades K-6 into Refaluwasch and Chamorro. Professional development/work sessions were held for local teachers to work on the translations.
[Congressman Kilili, Board of Education Members, PSS administrators, and students are all smiles looking over books, flip charts, and other instructions materials that have been translated in Refaluwasch and Chamorro and published for use in 16 public schools. The work was paid for with a $250,000 earmark that Congressman Sablan had included in the FY10 congressional appropriation for education. The money also paid for training staff in the use of materials. The project was carried out by the Chamorro and Carolinian Language Heritage Studies program at PSS.]
The grant also underwrote the cost of producing a first-ever televised program that took language lessons right into the homes of Northern Marianas viewers and provided teachers with a total of 16 episodes to be used in classrooms.
FY10 was the last fiscal year that congressional earmarks were available. Senate Republicans, who objected to the earmarking process on principle, killed the FY11 appropriation with the threat of a filibuster. That appropriation contained another $2 million for the Northern Marianas, including funds for the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument Visitors Center, a Rota school gymnasium, a Seniors program on Tinian, and another $500,000 for PSS.
“We have seen the last of earmarks,” Sablan said, “as long as Republicans are able to block legislation in this way.
“That makes it especially hard for small places like the Northern Marianas, which now have to compete for funds against states and cities that have a lot more resources to put into grant writing.
“I am glad to see, however, that the funds we did get – for the Refaluwasch and Chamorro language programs, for the Joeten-Kiyu Library roof repairs, for the Garapan Public Market, for the Monument Visitors Center – are being put to use now to benefit the Northern Marianas.”