In the latter part of this essay, I pair my analyses of de la Ramas musical voice with her strong visual presence in commercial photography and print media during the 1920s and 1930s. I use the feminine form Filipina to mean Filipino women and, more specifically, the work of de la Rama in relation to the history of cultural nationalism in the Philippines. One place to begin exploring the case for de la Ramas creative authorship is the characterizations of women that proliferated in Philippine literature and theater in the 1910s, leading up to de la Ramas Dalagang Bukid. See Motoe Terami-Wada, Philippine Stage Performances During the Japanese Occupation, Philippine Studies 29, no. In the dramas final act, the playwright imagines a Philippines in a state of regression under a female-led government. Guerrero. She became the very first actress in the very first . De la Ramas fame as the Queen of Kundiman spread beyond Manila as she embarked on several extended tours abroad in 1926, 1932, and 1936. 16 In his first solo, Romansa, Cipriano refers to Angelita as his banal na Birhen (holy Virgin [Mary]). Such bodabil performances not only complicate de la Ramas image as the virtuous dalagang bukid but they also illustrate the overlapping networks of different popular entertainment circuits in the Philippines in the 1920s and 1930s. Newspaper Clippings Folder 3, Atang de la Rama Collection, National Library of the Philippines (, 7). By 1925, de la Cruz was the highest paid . Photographs of de la Rama aided her popularity locally and abroad and served as additional sites for her performance of Filipina femininity. Among the highlights of the production was the song performed by de la Rama, Awit ng Pagkahibang (Delirium Song) in the second act. In Dalagang Bukid, de la Rama played the part of Angelita, a young girl working as a flower vendor who embodied the virtuous Filipina amidst the backdrop of Manilas bustling nightlife. A copy of the playbill can be found in Adlai Laras personal Flickr photo collection, (accessed October 3, 2019). By the age of 7, she was already starring in Spanish zarzuelas such as Mascota, Sueo de un Vals, and Marina. Also, Renato Lucas, A Preliminary Annotation of Selected Discography by Filipino Artists, 19131946, Journal of the Arts, Culture, and the Humanities 3, no. This essay focuses on the career of Honorata Atang de la Rama on the popular sarsuwela and vaudeville stages during the period of American colonization in the Philippines. People also read lists articles that other readers of this article have read. Details Release date September 25, 1919 (Philippines) Country of origin Philippines Ang Kiri is an example of a subset of sarsuwelas from this period that contrasted urban cosmopolitan Manila with the idyllic countryside. I then turn to de la Ramas work outside of the sarsuwela to further elaborate on her authorial performance within the broader landscape of popular entertainment in the Philippines and abroad. 47 Savoy Nifties New Spanish Ballet, The Tribune (January 24, 1925). See Tiongson, Atang de la Rama, 31. Atang dela Rama was a graduate of BS Pharmacy in 1922. Honorata de la Rama-Hernandez (January 11, 1902 - July 11, 1991), commonly known as Atang de la Rama, was a singer and bodabil performer who became the first Filipina film actress.. Atang de la Rama was born in Pandacan, Manila on January 11, 1902. Registered in England & Wales No. Robert Schofield, then Dean of the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Philippines, asserted in 1922 that jazz was a sickness in the music of the Philippines, much like in the United States, and posed a danger to Filipino musicality.Footnote36 Outlining his vision for national music, Filipino composer Francisco Santiago also criticized the cheap dance music flooding the local music scene and warned against native composers adoption of American airs [] old cakewalk, the noisy march of Sousa, and the deafening and somewhat distorted jazz.Footnote37 Yet, ironically, Santiago also praised sarsuwela composers such as Juan Hernandez, Nicanor Abelardo, and Francisco Buencamino, all of whom had utilized jazz idioms in their compositions.Footnote38, De la Ramas performances on the bodabil stage, however, point to the critical role of the emerging popular entertainment industry in the very creation of a Filipino musical identity. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. Since this award holds up the recipient to public honor and recognition by Ateneo de Manila University, the personal integrity and moral qualities of the honoree should also be considered, as honorees of the university are meant to be held up as models in their own lines of endeavor. In her introduction to an essay collection on technology and the figure of the diva, musicologist Karen Henson remarks on how the diva is created when sopranos, audience members and one or more technologies come together. In this process, the visual replaces the aural and refutes the notion that the divas authenticity only resides in the pure power of the voice and vocal expression.Footnote55 De la Ramas celebrity photographs became a crucial medium in which her images circulated, creating a diverse set of audiences beyond those who witnessed her on the theatrical stage. Motoe Terami-Wada also mentions de la Ramas stage engagements in 1943 during the Japanese Occupation where she led sarsuwela performances through the auspices of the organization Musical Philippines. She was also at the forefront of introducing Filipino culture to foreign audiences. She was especially popular in Hawaii, home to a large population of Filipinos who had been recruited to work in the sugar cane plantations as early as 1906. The centennial of local movies is celebrated this year, 2019.. Confident in her languid disregard for the composers melody, she renders a playful, flirtatious version of the song. 14 From the typescript of the play Tatlong Babae: Ang Babae Bukas, act 3, p. 9, Severino Reyes Collection, Cultural Center of the Philippines Library and Archives, Pasay City, Philippines. national hometown : pandacan artist manila award type of art : for theater and theater music and music tools and materials : (1987) music and films why is the artists' art artistic, distinctive, and of superior quality? By the age of 7, she was already starring in Spanish zarzuelas such as Mascota, Sueo de un Vals, and Marina.At the age of 15, she starred in the . 21 Tiongson, Atang de la Rama, 59; Fernandez, Zarzuela to Sarswela, 331. She was married to National Artist for Literature, Amado V. Hernandez. Recent musicological scholarship on women and performance in Southeast Asia carefully examines the conditions of colonialism in the region that compelled female performers to embrace creative ways to combine foreign musical elements with their vernacular. Such critiques and social commentary also projected gendered prescriptions of the ideal Filipina as demure and virtuous, the dalagang Filipina, a recurring trope in Philippine literature and culture that persists to this day. Copies of her scripts are found in the Manuscripts Folder, Atang de la Rama Collection, National Library of the Philippines ( Beyond the sarsuwela stage, de la Ramas work in vaudeville, film, and radio complicate perceptions of a Filipino culture wholly subject to the cultural logics of American colonialism. Si Ka Amado, labor leader, konsehal, makata, manunulat. 43 Peter Keppy, Tales of the Southeast Asian Jazz Age, 80. This recording is most likely a digitized copy of rare 78s housed in the collection of Nestor Vera Cruz, owner of the Yesteryears Music Gallery in Quezon City, Philippines. I would also like to thank Journal of Musicological Research editor Hilary Poriss and the journals anonymous reviewers for their invaluable feedback. I will never permit myself to be caught dead in a knee-length skirt, without the customary panuelo, and without camisa sleeves that look like the wings of a newly hatched grasshopper.Footnote63. At the age of 15, she starred in . Filipino zarzuelistas continued to perform Spanish repertoire at the same time that sarsuwelas in Tagalog and other local Philippine languages were on the rise at the turn of the twentieth century. After de la Ramas debut in Dalagang Bukid, she performed in a succession of works that revitalized the lackluster Tagalog sarsuwela scene in Manila, which had experienced a downturn in the 1910s. During the latter part of her life she lived in Gagalangin, Tondo, birthplace of her husband, Amado V. Hernandez, himself a National Artist, whom she married in 1932. Atang dela Rama Born Honorata de la Rama January 11, 1905 Tondo, Manila, Philippine Islands Died July 11, 1991 (aged 86) Manila, Philippines Occupation Filipino singer and actress Years active 1919-1956 Spouse(s) Amado V. Hernandez Awards National Artist for Theater and Music 1987 Atang de la Rama was born in Tondo, Manila on January 11, 1905. At the age of 14, Atang played as lead role in a sarsuela entitled "Dalagang Bukid" which was a hit during 1919. 11 Andrew N. Weintraub and Bart Barendregt, eds., Vamping the Stage: Female Voices of Asian Modernities (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2017), 2. Opereta at Dula na ginampanan ni Atang sa 25 taon Personal Papers -- Certificates -- Awards Plays and Short Stories: Ang Aguinaldo ni Dante Plays and Short Stories: Ayaw sa Kapwa Artista Plays and Short Stories: Buod - Piso ni Anita The National Artists of the Philippines. The intricate folding of the panuelo is in itself an art, and it has been a constant source of wonder among foreigners. 42 The brief biographical sketch included in the research guide to the Atang de la Rama Collection at the National Library of the Philippines mentions her premiering the iconic song in 1924 at a workers rally (, 5). De la Ramas next lead role was in Ang Kiri (The Coquette, 1926), which mirrored the 1920s urbanizing city where the character of the Filipino working girl emerged. In addressing performance as a source of creative power, I follow Carolyn Abbates theorization of how a musical work exists only as it is given phenomenal reality by its performers.Footnote7 It is through the artists voice and presence that the sarsuwelas texts and music come off the page and reach the audiences senses. This position ironically came from the male politicians advocating for independence. 10 Clutario, The Appearance of Filipina Nationalism, 2. Though not the mythical glass-breaking sopranos voice, hers retains a youthful character similar to that of a soubrette, with its bright tone and fast vibrato which helps reinforce the image of the innocent young maiden. The characteristic bitin or prolonged delivery of cadential phrase endings mentioned earlier, for example, echo vocal techniques heard in de la Ramas own recordings. Claiming to reproduce first-hand impressions from a letter by de la Rama, the Philippine Free Press article mentioned that she met, among others, Artemio Ricarte, a popular Filipino general during the 1896 Revolution against Spain and the Philippine-American War, who was living in exile in Japan for his role in the fight for Philippine independence. See also Angel Velasco and Luis Francia, Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999 (New York: New York University Press, 2002). Cultural Center of the Philippines. Standard historical accounts often point to Severino Reyess shift in his writing career to become a journalist and editor in the early 1920s as the beginning of sarsuwelas decline, just as vaudeville and film were becoming more popular in the Philippines. Formal U.S. occupation of the archipelago ended in 1946 with the declaration of Philippine Independence, while the influence of the American empire in the Philippines continued long after. Here, I use the term voice to mean two things: first, the distinctiveness of de la Ramas own voice, mediated through sound recordings and contemporary reviews, reinscribes the act of performance as a necessary locus of authorship traditionally reserved for (male) playwrights and composers. Her consistent pairing of the Filipino dress, the terno, with global beauty trends in makeup and hairstyles revealed a self-fashioning practice that was simultaneously modern and traditional, Filipino and cosmopolitan. In 1901, for example, a show advertised as a Novelty in Manila was held at the Teatro Zorrilla that included a variety of acts, ragtime numbers, acrobatics, and minstrelsy performances accompanied by a Good American Orchestra. See Doreen Fernandez, Apolonio B. Chua, and Galileo S. Zafra, Bodabil, in Cultural Center of the Philippines Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, 2nd ed., Nicanor Tiongson (Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines, 2018). On December 7, 1919, the Compaa Ilagan staged the Tagalog sarsuwelaFootnote1 Dalagang Bukid (Country Maiden) for the benefit of its star artist, Honorata Atang de la Rama (19021991), whose public entreaty can be found in the productions playbill: Beloved public: your dalagang bukid gives her benefit Sunday night If you come to see me I will cry with joy and delight; but if you do not honor me with your presence, I will truly mourn, much like how Angelita cries when she is disappointed with her beloved Cipriano. One particular song recording, the duet Bibingka (a type of Filipino rice cake delicacy), is particularly illustrative in demonstrating de la Ramas jazzy vaudevillian character. theather. [3] 67 Jun Cruz Reyes, Ka Amado (Diliman, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2012), 15354, 25657. 36 Ang Wika at mga Tugtugin, Bagong Lipang Kalabaw (October 7, 1922). De la Ramas dual image of the traditional Filipina and the cosmopolitan professional artist strikingly parallels these multiple strategies, and her inclusion in the publication highlights how her rising status as an international celebrity lent particular potency to the idea of feminine progress in the Philippines. While de la Rama is famously associated with her role as the demure dalagang bukid, I call attention to how her versatility as an actor and her dynamic voice allowed for a more nuanced performance that pushed against flat representations of the shy and modest Filipina. Honorata de la Rama Hernandez, popularly known as Atang de la Rama, a singer and performer is the first star of the Philippine Cinema. As the above quote suggests, her ability to connect with her audience went beyond her characterization of the bashful country maiden, and had, in a short span of time, allowed for a playful familiarity with her growing fan base. At the age of 15, she starred in the sarsuela Dalagang Bukid, where she became known for singing the song "Nabasag na Banga". As Roces argues, for the new class of working and professional women, [m]odernization required the abandonment of traditional dress when performing modern tasks.Footnote61, Figure 3. For more on the history of the womens movement in the Philippines, see Belinda A. Aquino, Filipino Women and Political Engagement, in More Pinay than We Admit (Quezon City: Vibal Foundation, 2010), 1738. 55 Karen Henson, Introduction: Of Modern Operatic Mythologies and Technologies, in Technology and the Diva: Sopranos, Opera, and Media from Romanticism to the Digital Age, ed. 15 Susan Thomas, Cuban Zarzuela: Performing Race and Gender on Havanas Lyric Stage (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 7. Fictional representations of the Filipina as the heroine often relied on the ideal good woman archetype or on the moral redemption of the good girl-turned-bad. Images of meek and subservient women abound in early twentieth century Tagalog literature, which led literary historian and critic Soledad Reyes to comment on the recurring portrayal of the obedient, faithful and self-sacrificing wife who suffers in silence even when confronted with her husbands infidelities.Footnote12 The characterizations of women in Tagalog sarsuwelas, on the other hand, reflected differing attitudes and responses to modernization in the Philippines. The other women awardees largely belonged to performing arts categories. A careful study of the life and career of de la Rama fills a huge gap in the history of the performing arts in the Philippines that has emphasized male playwrights, composers, and political elites in their representations of the Filipina. De la Rama as dalagang bukid on the program cover for the December 7, 1919 benefit performance. . Ignacio Manlapazs description of her in the Philippines Herald is illustrative: Atang de la Rama helps in the eradication of untoward behavior of theatergoers and that they may learn to respect the art of acting. Atang Dela Rama is a national artist for theater and music queen of kundiman. She finds it impossible to keep on a balanced budget unless she helps her partner in lifethat is, she gets a job. In this article, I trace de la Ramas creative authorship through analyses of her performances onstage and offstage, where the aural and visual aspects of her role as Filipina diva come together. Postwar productions changed the title to Ang Masayang Dalaga (The Happy Maiden), which reflects a subtler variation of the dalagang haliparot type. A 1930 appearance in the sarsuwela Maria Luisa offers another example of de la Ramas authorial role as a performing artist.Footnote30 In this work, she played the role of Anita, the daughter of the wealthy Don Justo. This double image of the Filipina is woven throughout de la Ramas other publicity photos. Courtesy of Butterscotch Auction, Newspaper accounts of her tours abroad included descriptions of de la Ramas appearance, revealing the medias tendency to focus on female singers physical looks more than on their musical talent. 1/2 (1997): 12850, at 141. 52 El Teatro Tagalo Emergera Como Un Nuevo Ave Fenix, La Opinion (March 16, 1938). The local vaudeville or bodabil stageas it was referred to in Tagalogprovided such a space for blurring the boundaries between traditional and modern, old and new. The patriotic anthem Bayan Ko (My Country), perhaps the most famous and enduring kundiman in Philippine music history, was also popularized by de la Rama.Footnote42 Yet standard accounts ignore the critical role she played, instead tracing the development of the kundiman from its origins in a handful of songs created during the Revolutionary period at the turn of the twentieth century to the art songs of the conservatory composers. At the meeting, de la Rama sang kundimans in honor of the voluntary exiles. Moved to tears, the account continues, Ricarte said to de la Rama this is the first time in I dont know how long that Ive heard one of our kundimans. Her real . By the 1920s and throughout the 1930s, the influx of American popular music (often collectively referred to by contemporary artists and critics as jazz) resulted in foxtrots, blues, Charleston (spelled tsarleston in the scripts), and, later on, the Hawaii an hula being incorporated into the sarsuwela repertoire. Honorata de la Rama-Hernandez (January 11, 1902 - July 11, 1991), commonly known as Atang de la Rama was a singer and bodabil performer who became the first Filipina film actress.. Atang de la Rama was born in Tondo, Manila on January 11, 1905. Cited by lists all citing articles based on Crossref citations.Articles with the Crossref icon will open in a new tab. However, Angelita is forced by her parents to marry a wealthy loan shark, Don Silvestre, as they need money to pay for their gambling habit and other vices. 37 See Francisco Santiago, The Development of Music in the Philippine Islands (Manila: The Institute of Pacific Relations, 1931), 16. A recording of the song, set in the lilting danza rhythm, begins with a subdued rendition by de la Rama of the opening verse as Sesang sadly reminisces about her cabaret days. Her vocal training in a variety of styles including Italian opera combined well with the idiosyncrasies and theatricality of the Tagalog language. At the height of her career, she sang kundimans and other Filipino songs in concerts in such cities as Hawaii, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo. 30 Maria Luisa was originally written by Remigio Mat Castro as a serialized short story for Liwayway magazine. 1 (1981): 7788, at 83. 45 El Poder del Kundiman, Philippines Free Press (August 21, 1926). Order of National Artists of the Philippines, National Commission for Culture and the Arts,, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0, This page was last edited on 29 December 2022, at 22:45. A democratic republic is one which guarantees the freedom to create, with no special instruction attached. This short song features de la Ramas use of vocal slides and a gruff timbre that intensifies as she sings the final verse: What seemed like an innocent and playful depiction of the mundane becomes tinged with innuendo as de la Ramas rendition of the final verse elicits boisterous and knowing laughter from her partner Ocampo. Film historian Nick Deocampo remarks how her debut on the sarsuwela stage as dalagang bukid convinced the films director, Jose Nepomuceno, to cast her. (n.d.). Upon landing in a job she, however, either chooses to be financially independent of her husband (this usually happens when relations of husband and wife are [estranged]) or to remain a dependent of the husband.Footnote66. In 1979, she was hailed as Queen of Kundiman, and in 1987, she was awarded as National Artist for Theater and Music. Tamang sagot sa tanong: MUSIC please help me() - Second, I chart her rise to stardom alongside the emerging political voice of the womens movement in the 1920s and 1930s to highlight how de la Rama helped create a robust Filipina nationalism through her work and image as a performer. Atang dela Rama is billed 'The First Star of Philippine Cinema' as she portrayed the title role in Dalagang Bukid in 1919. 66 Personal Papers, Statements, and Reports Folder, Atang de la Rama Collection, National Library of the Philippines (, 4). 2 (2010): 35988, at 361. For a detailed account of the different theater venues that staged Spanish and Tagalog repertoire throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, see Cristina Lacnico-Buenaventura, The Theater in Manila, 1846-1946 (Manila: De La Salle University Press, 1994). Courtesy of Adlai Lara. Perhaps it is only theater royalty who could get away with schooling their public. It is good that I am broad-minded and I knew that he helped the poor and the workers. She did this twice already and she hopes to continue doing so until all who comes to watch her learns to behave properly.Footnote54. This essay examines the role of Atang de la Rama in the development of the Tagalog sarsuwela and in the emerging popular entertainment industry in the Philippines in order to make a claim about women in performance as primary creators of Filipino culture and identity. 73 De la Rama penned several sarsuwela scripts including Dalagang Silanganan (Maid of the East), Diwata ng Ipugaw (Fairy of Ifugao), and Anak ni Eba (Daughter of Eve). 56 Gino Gonzales, Mark Lewis Higgins, Sandra B. Castro, Ramon N. Villegas, and Jo Ann Bitagcol, Fashionable Filipinas: An Evolution of the Philippine National Dress in Photographs, 18601960 (Makati City, Philippines: Slims Legacy Project, 2015), 280. 17 The recording I used for this analysis is a compact disc compilation entitled Kamuning: Re-mastered (Quezon City: Yesteryears Music Gallery, 2000). Several commentators unabashedly praised the diva in the local press. In his biography of Hernandez, Jun Cruz Reyes tells the story of two talented and well-known artists who were brought together on the stages of Tagalog poetry and drama. 4 Over three hundred years of Spanish colonial occupation in the Philippines ended with the Philippine Revolution (1896-1898) and the Treaty of Paris of 1898. 44 Schenker, Empire of Syncopation, 419. 41 See Antonio C. Hila, Ramon P. Santos, and Arwin Q. Tan, Kundiman, in Cultural Center of the Philippines Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, 2nd ed., ed. As such, her work serves as a critical example of an artists rewriting of gendered identities embedded in the text and music. Sawyer also campaigned for womens suffrage during this period and, as dance and theater historian Julie Malnig argues, linked the rhetoric of physical and psychological progress to dance and to womens new-found freedoms. See Julie Malnig, Two-Stepping to Glory: Social Dance and the Rhetoric of Social Mobility, Etnofoor 10, no. 34 Doreen Fernandez, Palabas: Essays on Philippine Theater History (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1996), 88. No recording of this song has so far materialized, but reviews of the sarsuwela underline the effectiveness of de la Ramas performance. Of all the many roles she played and stages on which she appeared, her performance in Dalagang Bukid remains her greatest and most memorable success.Footnote72 But a more comprehensive account of her creative and artistic breadth reveals an artist with a keen understanding of performance both on and off the stage. 68 Atang de la Rama: Sarsuwela Star, Philippine Panorama (August 28, 1983). p. 97-109. 49 Enriquez, Appropriation of Colonial Broadcasting, 10910. His 1914 work Ang Tatlong Babae (The Three Women), for example, reinforced the primary role of women as homemakers in projecting the ideal and patriotic image of the Filipina. One review in The Tribune expressed shock at how the demure little Queen of Kundiman steps out with some of the most wicked scandal-stuff imaginable. See Gino Gonzales et. Original text: Ay naku! 61 Roces, Is the Suffragist an American Colonial Construct, 45. She was an actress, known for Dalagang bukid (1919), Mahiwagang binibini: Ang kiri (1939) and Oriental Blood (1930). She was named a national artist of the Philippines in 1987, at the age of 85. 3 (1993): 32043, at 331. Original text is in English. Moreover, de la Ramas choice of a short wavy hairstyle (the Marcel and finger waves hairstyles) and use of makeup points to what Clutario argues represented a conscious act among Filipinas to transform their appearance as a way to make claims to modernity vis--vis modern beauty.Footnote64 Combined with the terno, de la Ramas appearance conveyed a fusion of the traditional and modern, pastoral and cosmopolitan. In the recording, the song is introduced with a short comedic dialogue in which de la Rama plays the role of a vendor who sells rice cakes to the tenor Vicente Ocampo, who then tries to squirm out of paying for the bibingka he had just tasted. al., Fashionable Filipinas, 141. It came to represent idealized images of Filipina femininity found in the sarsuwelas.Footnote56 This photo invites further reading on how de la Ramas own image carries a powerful influence separate from that created for her by the sarsuwelas authors. Honorata "Atang" Marquez de la Rama-Hernandez. Trivia (7) As Queen of Zarzuela, she starred in more than 50 zarzuelas. Although one can read a certain conservatism in de la Ramas disdain for the knee-length skirt, her insistence on wearing the terno became an integral part of her performing her own femininity and Filipino identity. The solo Nabasag ang Banga (The Clay Jar Broke) from the first act provides a description of Angelitas character.
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