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Bal-laygi (2002)

An Ilocano Victory Chant

SATB A Cappella with optional bamboo percussion

Dr. Arwin Tan


This song is inspired by ancient tribal wars in the Northern Philippines where communal pride and identity used to be dictated by the vastness of owned land and the number of heads hunted from the enemy tribes. The piece begins with a call for war with the chanting of the victory mantra, 'bal-laygi.' As the tribe fights with the enemy, it loses some of its men, and the survivors, led by the chief, mourn for those who perished with a promise to revere their souls. With a renewed spirit, they continue to fight the enemy and win for the tribe.