Promoting culture and language through music

Posted on Nov 05 2019


Finding it difficult to learn the indigenous languages? Try music.

Northern Marianas Humanities Council executive director Leo Pangelinan, who also serves as a board member of the Music of the Marianas Association, believes music could be used as a tool to teach the language.

Created in early 2017, the MMA was organized by local musicians to inspire young musicians and help strengthen the indigenous languages: Chamorro and Carolinian.

“We try to promote the culture and language through music,” Pangelinan said. “We do music clinics for the youth in schools. We show them how to play the ukulele, the guitar, the keyboards, popular instruments in Chamorro music…”

The goal is to teach Chamorro for people who find it hard to do so in the traditional way.

“Music is, I think, the most pervasive experience. Anyone in our community has [access] to Chamorro music,” Pangelinan adds. “Sometimes, you’re driving and the radio is on, mostly KKMP, and there’s Chamorro music playing. So, even though you’re not going to open a book and try to read Chamorro, you’re being exposed to that in the privacy of your car.”

Iva Maurin | Correspondent
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at

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