Filipino Music in Canada
In the 1986 Census of Canada, 107,000 listed Filipino as their single or multiple ethnic origin. Of these, 27,000 were born in Canada and 80,000 had immigrated: 31,000 in the period 1978-86, 45,000 in the period 1967-77, and the rest before 1967.
In the 1986 Census of Canada, 107,000 listed Filipino as their single or multiple ethnic origin. Of these, 27,000 were born in Canada and 80,000 had immigrated: 31,000 in the period 1978-86, 45,000 in the period 1967-77, and the rest before 1967. Most are Visayans (Ilongos and Cebuanos from the Central Philippine Islands), while the rest are Ilocanos and Tagalogs from Luzon. Almost all are Roman Catholics, and the majority speak English.
The Filipino Association of Canada, with branches in many cities, has sponsored events at which traditional songs and dances have been presented. Occasionally amateur community dance groups have expanded their repertoires to present semi-professional stage performances emulating those of the internationally renowned Bayanihan Dance Troupe of Manila, a group which has helped to codify a pan-Filipino cultural identity both in the Philippines and abroad.
Perhaps the greatest single contribution to Philippine music and dance in Canada has been that of George Aguinaldo of Toronto, who has co-ordinated community activities and who in 1966 founded the Fiesta Filipina Dance Troupe. Its dances are accompanied by gangsa (gong), nose flute, and bamboo jew's harp for Hill Tribe dances; kulintangan (gong row), gabbang (xylophone), and agung (pair of gongs) for Moslem dances; and a traditional rondalla or small string ensemble for Hispanic dances. The troupe was one of three selected by the Canadian Folk Arts Council to perform at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, when Aguinaldo received a medal from the United Council of Filipino Associations in Canada.
Other performing groups active in Canada in 1980 were the Folklorico Filipino of Canada (Toronto), led by Peter Palomera, and the Alberta-based Kariligan Dance Troupe of the Philippines.
In June 1978 the Filipino Association of Canada sponsored a Philippine Cultural Week in Toronto, which featured arts, crafts, folkdances, and concerts at O'Keefe Centre. Pagkakaisa '79, the first Philippine National Day picnic, in Toronto's High Park in June 1979, celebrated the Filipino contribution to Canada and featured an amateur singing contest.
In July 1979 a 50-member company from the Philippines toured North America and appeared in Toronto in a presentation of Walang Sugat, a Filipino zarzuela (or operetta) by Severino Reyes y Rivera. The Philippine composer José Macéda visited Montreal in 1973, and jazz pianist Bobby Enriquez played at FIJM in 1986. Among Philippine-born artists who have resided in Canada are the soprano Eleanor Calbes, the pianist Solon Reyes, the University of Alberta piano teacher Ernesto Lejano and the Vancouver violinist Gilopez Cabayo.
When Gilles Tremblay visited Quezon City to lecture at the University of the Philippines in 1972, three of his compositions - ... Le Sifflement des vents porteurs de l'amour, Champs I, and Réseaux - were performed at the Cultural Centre in Manila. Jazz pianist Lorraine Desmarais played in Manila in 1988. Victor Feldbrill was the first Canadian conductor to lead the Philippine Philharmonic, in 1984 in Manila.