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Lemhadong Collective


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The Lemhadong collective are women from the Tboli people, an Indigenous Cultural Community of the . They live in small mountains surrounding Lake Sebu, in the Cotabato Cordillera, Southern Mindanao.

Their territory went through spectacular transformations during the past decades. Until the 1950s, this region was entirely forested. Its inhabitants lived in small hamlets surrounded by temporary gardens, in the heart of the forest which fed them. Their fine knowledge of the vegetal and animal world impregnated their imaginary and their arts.

The massive immigration of farmers from other regions of the Philippines disrupted the territory. This sudden transition was detrimental to the Tboli, many of whom lost all access to land and now live in utter precariousness.

Tudbulul, the mythological hero, lived alone with his family in a forest site called Lemhadong. One day, he organized a concert in which he gathered all the known music instruments and played them one after the others with his sisters. It attracted many inhabitants of the forest, who were delighted and decided to stay and live together with Tudbulul : this is how was founded the Tboli nation.

The musicians and artisans of the Lemhadong collective all reside in the village of Dekolon, on a hill overlooking Lake Sebu. They don’t know how to read nor write, and survive day by day through small jobs. They learned music by observing the adults when they were children. No-one ever taught them, except sometimes a fairy appearing in their dreams.

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