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Discovery in Austrian Maritime Archives

Tagalian Merriness
An excerpt from Circumnavigation of the Globe
by the Austrian Frigate Novara in the Years 1857, 1858 & 1859
by Karl von Scherzer, published in Vienna in 1864

Life in Manila during the dry season was described to us as exceedingly agreeable and gay. Then almost every evening joyous groups thread the city singing and joking, while from every hut resounds some snatch of melody accompanied by the guitar. We had a slight foretaste of the joviality which must prevail in Manila during the delicious summer evenings from the joyous disposition manifested by the various Tagal families, even during the wet season, when the almost incessant rain, and the swampy state of the streets, compelled the natives to remain crowded in the narrow rooms of their poor little huts. In St. Miguel, a hamlet in the immediate neighbourhood of Manila, with a number of country seats of wealthy foreigners and natives, we repeatedly heard the sweet plaintive notes of the native women singing Tagal ditties, which for pathos and thrilling tenderness surpassed all we had hitherto heard or read of the talents of the coloured races for song and melody.

We shall be able in the Appendix to give the notes of a very characteristic melody, the words of which form a very favourite popular song (Condiman), which we ultimately succeeded in taking down through the kindness of Señor Balthasar Girandier of Manila.

< download kundiman 1 [436kb wav file] >
< download kundiman 2 [481kb wav file] >

This folksong was discovered by Johann Stockinger from the University of Vienna's Institut für Völkerkunde. Stefan Ender, a young Austrian pianist plays the arrangement by Fr. Manuel Maramba, to be sung by a soprano. It is presented for the first time in Vienna after 122 years.

The editors are grateful to Mr. Johann Stockinger, President of the Austrian-Philippine Society who shares his discovery with readers of OUR OWN VOICE.

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