First Advisor

Marie Lo

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication Studies and University Honors




Carlos Bulosan -- Criticism and interpretation, American literature -- Filipino American authors, Filipino Americans -- Social life and customs, Folk music -- History and criticism




Songwriting is an art in which lessons and experiences of the past and present can be communicated through the channel of music and writing. From this mode of communication, this creative project embodies a different take on the incorporation of "voice" by analyzing a significant work of Filipino American literature to be further experienced by the general public in song. In this project I aimed to create three relatable songs for future listeners by incorporating themes from the novel, America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan. As a Filipino immigrant, poet and activist during the Great Depression, Bulosan’s journey symbolizes prominent themes of individuality, silence, and farewell which are deeply relatable to listeners from all walks of life. Through the use of found poetry, themes were found and then interpreted into folk songs. This project required that I balance three separate roles: researcher, folk musician, and identification as a Filipino American in order to acquire themes relatable to the human experience, choosing the right lyrics through found poetry, and relay these emotions through music in a relatable way towards listeners. Since this novel provides a significant contribution towards Asian American literature, this paper gives a brief history of the novel, along with how Asian American literature came to fruition in university curriculums. Qualifications of the investigator are explored, along with the songwriting process that composed these themes and balance. These songs were recorded through "Tiny House Records," and will be shared further through a presentation with PCHRP, Portland’s Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, in July 2015.


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