Filipino Kundiman: Sarung Banggi

A kundiman is a Filipino love song traditionally sung by a man wooing the woman of his dreams. Sometimes, the young man will be accompanied by friends as he serenades (harana) the woman in the evening. With the familiar strains of the guitar, the suitor pours out his emotions through a song, usually one which speaks of loneliness or even lack of self-worth.

Sarung Banggi means “one night” or “one evening” in Bicol, one of the languages in Luzon, Philippines. Here’s a loose translation:

One evening as I lay on my bed
I heard the whistle of a bird
I thought I was dreaming
That it was your voice…

(I still need to figure out the meaning of the other lyrics, though).

Anyway, if you’re curious about how this Pinoy kundiman or Filipino love song sounds like, here’s the performance of Stephen Shey, a Chinese-American violinist virtuoso who plays the Pinoy kundiman Sarung Banggi:

Stephen Shey is also known as the ambassador of Philippine Kundiman music. I like the way he makes the song Sarung Banggi sound poignant at certain parts of the melody. It’s something new for me, and I’m now inspired to learn to play this on the guitar. Wish me luck! :-)

If you enjoyed this, you’ll find more Filipino love songs sung by foreigners over at the YouTube channel of Don Tagala.

Sarung Banggi “was composed about 1910 by Potenciano V. Gregorio of Libog, now Sto. Domingo , Albay. You can read more about who made or wrote Sarung Banggi over at history of Sarung Banggi.

What about you? Are you interested in learning Tagalog love phrases? Please let me know… Thanks!

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First posted on Sunday, 01 Mar 2009

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