A group of smiling people, mostly youth, wearing colorful sashes.

Tunog Pil-Am

Tunog Pil-Am is a youth ensemble of 15 members playing Philippine traditional music and their contemporary Filipino American interpretations. The ensemble is directed by Pamela Costes, a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington who has studied for more than 10 years in the Philippine gong and drum ensemble called kulintang with master musicians and Filipino ethnomusicologists trained in the tradition. Tunog Pil-Am cultivates its members’ experiences in a distant heritage through proper instruction on the Philippine instruments. Through this, they learn to appreciate their cultural heritage and develop a deep respect for the traditions. At the same time, the ensemble takes this cultural discovery further through reflecting their own identities in their music, thus utilizing the traditional instruments in a manner that enable them to create meanings for themselves. The style that ensues is the first of its kind and is not simply a type of fusion music heard in Asian American jazz or hip hop sampling. Tunog Pil-Am’s style blends the Filipino and American, almost blurring the distinction between them.

Artist Support Program 2005: Record traditional and contemporary kulintang music.