[New from the Press] Babaylan Sing Back: Philippine Shamans and Voice, Gender, and Place
26 Feb 2023 | Ateneo University Press
Ateneo University Press announces the release of the Philippine Edition of Babaylan Sing Back by Grace Nono
The Ateneo University Press is proud to announce the release of the Philippine edition of ethnomusicologist and interdisciplinary scholar Grace Nono’s Babaylan Sing Back: Philippine Shamans and Voice, Gender, and Place.
Drawing on Grace Nono’s two earlier award-winning books, with new analyses and research, especially in urban and diasporic areas, Babaylan Sing Back incites decolonial reflection on the Philippines' five centuries of colonial and neocolonial histories. Structured around themes of voice, sex and gender, and place, the book depicts the embodied voices of a number of Philippine ritual specialists – popularly known as “Babaylan” – in ways that complicate dominant discourses that portray these functionaries either as witches and purveyors of superstition or as symbols of gender equality and anticolonial resistance.
Nono uses “sing” in the book’s title to signal many of the ritual specialists’ roles as oral singers and speakers and to index their often undifferentiated acts of singing and speaking. She shares that “to ‘sing back’ is not just to describe the world, it is to transform it.”
Dr. Karl M. Gaspar, CSSR, religious brother and author of Diwang Balaan/Banal: A Decolonial Course on Pinoy Spirituality comments that Babaylan Sing Back is, “without a doubt, one of the most significant books to have arisen in the landscape of Philippine literature.” The book’s value encompasses a whole range of scholarly fields: Indigenous studies, culture studies, feminist studies, religious studies, linguistics, ethnomusicology, and pharmacognosy.
Agusan-Manobo Tribal Leader Bae Manyaguyad Lucy Rico expresses her great respect for her fellow Manobo who are in the book, for their rights to express themselves, and for their differences from other Manobos and other Indigenous Peoples. “This respect is ingrained in the values of my elders and is the foundation of peace,” continues Rico.
Dr. Felipe de Leon of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, author of The Creative Living Presence: A Culture of Healing writes of Babaylan Sing Back as “the best book of its kind for Filipinos and other people to realize and respect the dignity of the Babaylan and other ritual specialists of the world.”
Babaylan Sing Back: Philippine Shamans and Voice, Gender, and Place by Grace Nono is published by Ateneo de Manila University Press.
Category: Arts, Music, and Culture
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About the Author
Grace Nono is an ethnomusicologist and interdisciplinary scholar. She is also a singer of a number of Philippine oral chants, and the founder of the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts, a Philippine non-profit organization dedicated to cultural revitalization.
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