In 2021, Assistant Professor of Asian-Pacific Studies Mary Talusan Lacanlale saw two long-term projects that examine Philippine history through a musical lens come to fruition. Her book Instruments of Empire: Filipino Musicians, Black Soldiers, and Military Band Music during U.S. Colonization of the Philippines was published in August. That same month also saw the release of a CD she co-produced for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Kulintang Kultura: Danongan Kalanduyan & Gong Music of the Philippine Diaspora.
In recognition of Lacanlale’s scholarship and creative projects, she is receiving the 2022 Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award. The award acknowledges research, scholarship, and creative activities that are essential components of the university’s mission. The honor also recognizes professional activities that provide intellectual stimulation and motivation for student learning.
“It is truly an honor to receive this award,” she says. “My colleagues, college, and the community at CSUDH supported me throughout the writing of my book and co-production of the CD. I am grateful for this recognition and feel encouraged to pursue future scholarly and artistic opportunities.”
Read Profile on Dr. Lacanlale in the Spring 2022 issue of CSUDH Magazine
Connecting with Culture Through Music
In addition to her book and CD, this past year Lacanlale also contributed a chapter, “Tradition and Innovation in the Dayunday Courtship Drama of the Magindanao, Muslim Filipinos from the Southern Philippines” in the Routledge Handbook of Asian Music: Cultural Intersections, and “Filipino Festivals in Southern California” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History.
She also continued to perform with the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble at cultural festivals and other large events. Her teenage son is a member of the group, as well, helping keep the music alive for the next generation.
“We want to keep teaching the younger generation about this and giving them access to it. I’m really excited about that. That’s where my work really collides with my life story and the passion that I have for education and learning through music.”