Friday, November 15, 2013

The Queen of Chamorro Music

This past Thursday, the Chamorro Studies Program was proud to feature a lecture by the Queen of Chamorro Music, Flora Baza Quan. She provided the second lecture for the Chamorro Experience gi Fino' Chamorro series. She spoke on topics ranging from her mentors, the stories behind some of her famous songs, what it takes to be a musician on Guam and how Chamorros need to take a stand and start to truly value their own cultural and creative artists in order to sustain them.

It was such an incredible honor to have someone like her who has done so much for the Chamorro community to come and share her experience gi Fino' Chamorro. 

Below is a short bio about her and her accomplishments. Photos and excerpts from her talk will be shared on the Chamorro Studies Facebook page. Head there to see them.

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Flora Baza Quan is a renowned Chamorro singer and songwriter who has been performing and recording for more than thirty years. Known affectionately as the “Queen of Chamorro Music,” Baza Quan is a pioneer of contemporary Chamorro music, lending her signature sound and vocal talents to perpetuating Chamorro culture.  Some of her recognized favorites include “Hagu,” “Puti Tai Nobiu” and “Hinasso.”

Flora first achieved fame by being the first Chamorro to win an international beauty pageant, when she won the title of Miss Asia in 1971.  She then went on to team up with other noted musical pioneers such as Johnny Sablan, Tom Bejado, and the Charfauros Brothers to help build the Chamorro recording industry we have today.

One thing that Flora is less known for, but she should nonetheless receive recognition is the oral history project that she conducted for Department of Parks and Recreation. She focused on different themes such as Life in Sumay or Sports History, but provided in-depth interviews of many individuals from our recent history who have long since passed on. For those who want to read up on topics like this, you can find her transcripts and video at MARC or at Department of Parks and Recreation.

In her lecture today, Flora will discuss the mentors that helped shape who she is today, describe the genesis behind some of her songs and challenge the young people of today to learn and use the Chamorro language.

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