Ilonggo lullaby crowns Lea Salonga's new Bahaghari album

Ilonggo lullaby crowns Lea Salonga’s new Bahaghari album

/ 02:14 AM December 20, 2017

Bahaghari: Lea Salonga launches her latest album in six Philippine languages in New York. Album cover was designed by Parsons School of Design, NY. INQUIRER/Carol Tanjutco


NEW YORK — In frigid Big Apple weather, Broadway superstar Lea Salonga warmed the hearts of a small group that gathered at the Philippine Center’s Kalayaan Hall to listen to Filipino songs, starting with her childhood favorite, “Ili Ili Tulog Anay,” a lullaby that her mom used to sing for her. Lea Salonga’s soulful rendition just elevated this Ilonggo classic into a timeless piece.

Salonga’s new CD album, Bahaghari (Rainbow) features old favorites sung in six Philippine dialects–Ilocano, Kapampangan, Bicolano, Bisaya, Ilonggo and Tagalog.


Lea Salonga’s attorney Robert Perlstein (right) introduced her to GLP Music. In photo is Ambassador Virgilio Reyes Jr. INQUIRER/Carol Tanjutco

Bahaghari features 15 Filipino favorites such as familiar hits: Ati Cu Pung Singsing, Paro-Parong Bukid, Sarung Banggi, Pamulinawen, Waray Waray and Matud Nila. (For more information, log in to:

A token of appreciation is presented by Rex Niswander (left photo) from GLP Music. INQUIRER/Carol Tanjutco

“This project felt like the perfect opportunity to introduce the languages of my country to a bigger world, a world that might not be aware of the intricacies and differences between these languages,” says Salonga. “Many of these tongues feel very foreign and strange to me as a Tagalog speaker, and since there’s always a danger that these languages won’t be spoken by future generations, there was a need on our part to preserve them in some way.”

WATCH: Lea Salonga sings from her new album at the Philippine Center in New York. YOUTUBE

Bahaghari is produced by GLP Music whose co-founder, Rex Niswander, met Salonga through a common friend, her attorney Robert Perlstein. GLP is a non-profit collaboration that stands for Global Language Project, which brought language learning to under-resourced schools and learners. The label aims to deepen connections to language learning and preservation via compelling music.

Guest Loida Nicolas Lewis and Consul General Theresa Dizon De Vega welcome Lea. Salonga. INQUIRER/Carol Tanjutco

Ryan Cayabyab put together a team that included Lea’s brother, Gerard Salonga, Palanca award-winning writer Floy Quintos and studio owner and gourmet cook Sheila Francisco. The album design was created with the help of Assistant Dean of Parsons School of Design Lucille Tenazas. The passion in creating Bahaghari by an all-Filipino team is indeed audible.

A little night cap concluded the evening, with Salonga unexpectedly receiving  a token of appreciation presented by Rex Niswander for her role in furthering the cause of the Global Language Project.

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TAGS: Bahaghari (Rainbow) Album, Filipino folk classics, Filipino folk songs, folk music, Global Language Project GLP, Lea new Salonga album, Lea Salonga, music, Rex Niswander, Robert Perlstein
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