CCAC wants to make Kantan Isla an annual event


A group performs on stage at the Kantan Isla Kkėėlůl Falůu Concert at the Civic center in Susupe last Thursday. (CHRYSTAL MARINO)

In an attempt to promote and keep alive indigenous music in the CNMI, the Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture revived last Thursday the Kantan Isla Kkėėlůl Falůu Concert at the Civic center in Susupe.

The four-hour concert featured guest performers singing songs in the Chamorro and Carolinian tongue.

CCAC executive director Parker Yobei said this year’s concert edition was a “bit last-minute” event and, with all the holiday events taking place, he did not want compete with other scheduled events like the Fiesta Fridays or the Christmas in the Marianas in Garapan, so they decided to go ahead and hold the concert on a Thursday. “…it’s kind of short this year, but our plan is to expand and improve,” he added.

Yobei indicated that for next year, the concert would most likely not be in December, but a couple of months earlier. Previous Kantan Isla concerts were usually held in September, since the month is also considered Cultural Heritage Month.

The concert, which has a goal of language preservation, began in the ’80s, led by the Language Commission, but stopped in the early 2000’s due no funding. Yobei said they are able to hold it again, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and its annual partnership with CCAC.

The grant, amounting to around $3,900, can only be used strictly for programs under the category of performing arts, but Yobei said the Kantan Isla Kkėėlůl Falůu is also a way to promote and preserve the CNMI’s indigenous languages, and in that way they they were “killing two birds with one stone.”

Yobei also said that programs like these can also entice young artists to learn the language, since learning through music is much easier. “We’re glad we’re able to do it this year, and then we’ll start planning for next year right away.”

Chrystal Marino | Correspondents | Correspondents
A correspondent for Saipan Tribune, Chrystal Marino enjoys travelling, writing and meeting new people. When she is not writing, she finds ways to be involved in the community. She currently covers community beats. For any community news stories reach out to her at

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