Soul cure


Published: Monday 15 May 1995

Growing up in Minadanao, nature's last frontier in the Philippines, Joey Ayala learnt to mix words and music with the sounds of nature. Ayala, 38, is the most famous of the new breed of Filipino ethno-musicians. He plays the traditional hegalong, which is a 2-string instrument in the shape of a lizard.

This simple instrument is a musical symbol of oneness with history, culture and nature. It is also an example of sustainable consumption. Says Ayala, "The lesson from this instrument is that you can do a lot with little". Yet, Ayala is not a environmentalist who disregards technology. When performing in Manila, he attaches electric guitar pick-ups.

Ayala's next album, now on the anvil, has been inspired by an imperilled volcano, the holy Mt Banahaw in Luzon. Encantada, one of his previous albums, was a trailblazer. Ayala wants his music to be like a drug for the soul, a druh that helps to sensitise people, humanise them and bring them more in touch with themselves.

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