Some may consider it hip hop or world music, but for Filipino-Canadian artist and operating room nurse, Han Han, her music is simply unique — triggering curiosity with its contemporary beats and elements of traditional Filipino instruments.
Using rap and spoken word techniques, her songs reflect her experiences as a woman and as an immigrant.
“I was writing for people who are like me, who doesn’t feel a sense of belonging when they’re in a new country. If they hear my music in a mix of Canadian mosaic music, then they’ll say oh someone’s like me.”
Han Han exclusively writes her songs in Tagalog and Cebuano, a way to claim her Filipino identity — despite living in Canada.
“Because I’ve never compromised my writing in Filipino, I sort of gained this respect from people, not just amongst artists but in the music scene as well.
For me it’s sort of like a form of resistance that I’m not assimilating to your culture. This is not about me trying to be you. This is us trying to meet in the middle.
And when you’re an immigrant there’s always this tension of trying to navigate your own identity where you belong.”
For Han Han, culture and language are intertwined, and young Filipino Canadians should make a conscious effort to study their Philippine history and heritage to truly connect with their roots.