WSRP Research Associate 2015–16
University of the Philippines
Babaylan Sing Back: Philippine Shaman Voices on Gender, Religion and Transnationalism
This book-length project sets the ritual voices of the predominantly-female babaylan (Philippine shamans) in conversation with issues of gender, religion, and transnationalism. Singing back constitutes resistance to the babaylans’ silencing by forces of colonization, patriarchy, and elite feminism, as well as invocation of healing for historical wounds.
Grace Nono is a music performing artist, ethnomusicologist, and scholar of Philippine shamanism, particularly of the babaylan, the predominantly-female Philippine shaman who led resistances during the centuries of colonization and continues to serve her people despite forces of repression and persecution. Dr. Nono has served as faculty in the Arts Studies Department at the University of the Philippines-Diliman; as head of two non-profit organizations: the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts and the Artists Welfare project, Inc.; and as a singer specializing in the contemporary performance of Philippine oral traditional chants with indigenous sacred themes.
Grace Nono published Song of the Babaylan: Living Voices, Medicines, Spiritualities of Philippine Ritualist-Oralist-Healers (Institute of Spirituality in Asia, 2013), winner of the 2014 Gintong Aklat Awards and the 2014 Catholic Book Awards, and The Shared Voice: Chanted and Spoken Narratives from the Philippines (ANVIL Publishing and Fundacion Santiago, 2008), winner of the 2009 National Book Awards. She has also contributed chapters to books, including the latest, "Audible Travels: Oral/Aural Traditional Performances and the Transnational Spread of a Philippine Indigenous Religion," in the edited collection Back from the Crocodile’s Belly: Philippine Babaylan Studies and the Struggle for Indigenous Memory (Center for Babaylan Studies, 2013).