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Bernard Ellorin

Bernard Ellorin, Ph.D., Center for World Music teaching artist and board member, is much loved and highly respected as a cultural treasure and leader within the Southern California Filipino community and beyond.

Dr. Ellorin is the leading expert on maritime Southeast Asian gong-chime music in Southern California. He is also a master of the Filipino banduria (a version of the Spanish bandurria, a plucked string instrument similar to the mandolin) and the associated rondalla music. He is versed in the percussion music of the Cordillera Mountains of Northern Luzon, as well as being one of the few Philippine kulintang instructors in the United States. Kulintang is an ancient instrumental form of music played on a row of small, horizontally laid gongs that function melodically, accompanied by larger, suspended gongs and drums. Dr. Ellorin has served the San Diego and Los Angeles communities as a performing artist and educator since 1992, and is the musical director of the Samahan Filipino-American Performing Arts and Education Center.

Kulintang Ensemble

Bernard Ellorin leads his kulintang ensemble. Photo Jonathan Parker

He began his studies in the music of the Philippines at the age of ten, as a young banduria musician with Samahan Performing Arts. At age twelve he commenced kulintang studies with native Maguindanao master artist Danongan Kalanduyan. More recently, he has studied under a number of other master artists from the Philippines, with whom he maintains ongoing professional relationships, thereby keeping up-to-date in contemporary cultural developments.

Photo courtesy of Kingsley Ramos

Ellorin received a BA degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles and earned his MA and Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii, Manoa. In 2003, along with a few of his friends and colleagues in San Diego, he founded the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble (PKE), which he now directs. Through PKE, he presents educational workshops for San Diego schools and youth groups. His knowledge and dedication to the proliferation of Maguindanao and Maranao music also enables him to act as a valued resource for many university Filipino cultural organizations. He continues to teach in the San Diego area as a lecturer and faculty member at Miramar and MiraCosta Colleges.

In 2012, Ellorin was awarded a research fellowship under the Fulbright Research and Study Abroad program, during which time he conducted a comparative study on the musical culture of the Sama-Bajau in Semporna District in the Malaysian state of Sabah, and in Batangas City, Philippines. He has subsequently written several scholarly papers on Sama-Bajau performing arts, and also serves as a consultant to Filipino-American diaspora performing arts groups throughout the US. He is now a three-time grant recipient with the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) through their Apprenticeship and Living Cultures program.

Ellorin has been a teaching artist with the Center for World Music since 2016, and became a member of the Center’s Board of Directors in 2020. 

Contributor Kim Kalanduyan is Dr. Ellorin’s former apprentice under the ACTA apprenticeship program, and is the granddaughter of Maguindanao master artist Danongan Kalanduyan.

For more reading about Bernard Ellorin and his teaching, performance, and research:

A Journey Home: Kulintang Music from San Diego to Mindanao

A Career in “Roots” Music from Positively Filipino Magazine

Events

The Traditional Music & Dance of Maguindanao, Philippines featuring Samahan is the last of six programs in the Center for World Music’s Spring 2021 Virtual Encounters with World Music and Dance series. This presentation of music and dance celebrates Philippine Independence Day 2021. 

The Traditional Music & Dance of Maguindanao, Philippines

Featuring Samahan with Ethnomusicologist Bernard Ellorin
Special Guest Appearance by Maguindanao Master Artist Faisal Monal from Cotabato City, Philippines
June 6, 2:00 PM PDT
Free Live Stream

This music and dance presentation, hosted live, will feature musicians and dancers from the Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts & Education Center and ethnomusicologist Dr. Bernard Ellorin. The program will explore the rich cultural context of the performing arts of Maguindanao, Philippines through live discussion and recorded footage of performances. Kulintang musician Kim Kalanduyan-Villanueva and folk dancer/researcher Nicholas Delmundo-Benton will explore the significance, purpose, and intention of select music and dance pieces. They will also address how the continuation of these art forms in the United States plays an important role in the preservation of the traditional performing arts in the Philippines and for the Filipino diaspora. Dr. Ellorin will provide additional commentary.

These experts will address questions from the audience throughout the program. 

Registration is free. A link to the live stream will be provided in your confirmation email. If you’d like to support the artists and the program, donations will be welcomed.

About the Presenters

Kim Kalanduyan-Villanueva – kulintang musiciain

Kim Kalanduyan-Villanueva, who identifies as ethnically Maguindanaon, is part of the artistic lineage of kulintang musicians. Kulintang is an ancient instrumental music played on a row of small, horizontally laid gongs that function melodically, accompanied by larger, suspended gongs and drums. Kim’s grandfather, Danongan “Danny” Kalanduyan, was a kulintang master and NEA National Heritage Fellow. He had settled in the San Francisco Bay Area and was critical to the proliferation of the musical form in the United States in the 1970s.

Under a 2019 Alliance for California Traditional Arts apprenticeship program, Kim engaged in an intense study of traditional Maguindanao kulintang music from her grandfather’s village under the mentorship of Bernard Ellorin. As a result of this apprenticeship, she found herself reconnecting with her musical roots and musical family. This led to her passion for sharing her musical heritage with the Filipino American community. Today, Kim is the principal kulintang musician for Samahan’s Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble. She is also one of the few direct descendants continuing the Kalanduyan legacy in the diaspora. 

Nicholas Delmundo-Benton – folk dancer

Nicholas Delmundo-Benton is the principal dance instructor with Samahan. As an experienced Philippine folk dancer, Delmundo-Benton has studied regional dance genres as a senior company dancer with Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts, PASACAT, and Samahan. From 2018-2019, under the sponsorship of the Lolita Dinoso Carter Endowment fund, he conducted field research on cultural dances from the Muslim societies of the Southern Philippines and Eastern Sabah, Malaysia. Delmundo-Benton’s work presents his research with artistry, integrity, and respect for the native master artists. Through performances, Delmundo-Benton seeks to educate and entertain audiences unfamiliar with marginalized traditions indigenous to the Philippines.

Bernard Ellorin – interviewer and artistic director

Bernard Ellorin, Ph.D. is the leading expert on maritime Southeast Asian gong-chime music in Southern California. He is also a master of the Filipino banduria (a version of the Spanish bandurria, a plucked string instrument similar to the mandolin) and the associated rondalla music. He is versed in the percussion music of the Cordillera Mountains of Northern Luzon, as well as being one of the few Philippine kulintang instructors in the United States. Dr. Ellorin has served the San Diego and Los Angeles communities as a performing artist and educator since 1992. He is the musical director of the Samahan Filipino-American Performing Arts and Education Center.

Dr. Ellorin began his studies in the music of the Philippines at the age of ten as a young banduria musician with Samahan Performing Arts. At age twelve he commenced kulintang studies with Danongan Kalanduyan. More recently he has studied under a number of other native master artists from the Philippines, with whom he maintains ongoing professional relationships, thereby keeping up-to-date in contemporary cultural developments.

Ellorin holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He founded and now directs the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble (PKE) through which he presents educational workshops for K-12 students. He serves as a valued resource for many university Filipino cultural organizations and is a lecturer and faculty member at Miramar and MiraCosta Colleges.

In 2012, Ellorin was awarded a fellowship under the Fulbright Research and Study Abroad Program. This fellowship enabled him to conduct a comparative study of the musical culture of the Sama-Bajau in Semporna District in the Malaysian state of Sabah and in Batangas City, Philippines. He has subsequently written several scholarly papers on Sama-Bajau performing arts. Filipino-American diaspora performing arts groups throughout the US have welcomed him as a consultant. Over his career, he has received three grants from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts through their Apprenticeship and Living Cultures program.

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