Arikenken, Arikenken


(Note: ‘Arikenken,’ is a song-and-dance ritual of the Ilokanos during wedding celebrations. It is possible that this ‘arikenken’ ritual is part of the long ritual of Dallot ti Panangas-asawa, an elaborately sung and performed community ritual I witnessed when I was young in my father’s barrio in the west part of Laoag City. Older second- and third-degree cousins at the late part of the 60s and early 70s, a period of political and military and social turbulence, had gone into elopement—taray—frenzies, and father would take part in the long dallot witnessed by the community. I saw the parientes dancing, possibly the Arikenken, because the sound is so familiar when (a) Virgil Apostol asked me about it as part of his continuing and sustained research on Ilokano life and (b) Lucia Geronimo, a native of Laoag and a resident of Waipahu, Hawaii and member of GUMIL Hawai`i, taught me its melody, its music, and its story. Below is my reconstructed version of the text she sang one night while we were preparing for the 2007 IALC Conference. I took the liberty of adjusting the text, playing with the syllables here and there, and arranging the verses, but always in keeping with the template for a four-line stanza architecture of the lyric poem. At the 2007 IALC Conference, we finally danced the arikenken for the first time in Hawai`i, at least, in ‘modern’ times. Did the early Ilokanos who worked in the plantations danced the arikenken during wedding celebrations, the pakasar? I think they did. My hope is to keep on reconstructing a longer text by simulating the earthy ‘thoughts’ of our people as they celebrated what could be the most sanctified and sacred of the acts: that of two people uniting, united in body, mind, and spirit)

Arikenken, arikenken
Dikan unay dumenden
Ta akikid ti ikamen
Arikenken, arikenken

Arieken, Arikenken
Dika unay dumenden
Sakanto lang dumenden
No parabangon nga adalem

Ta isunto’t panagtangken
Daytay kasla pandeng
Ariken, arikenken
Ariken, airkenken

Nakapsut a kawitan
No dina masarigsigan
Tay upa a pamusian
Nga agitlong ‘ti sarsardam

Agramaakto man la ketdi
‘Ti sanga ti salamagi
Burakekto no rabii
Naglames pasig a kippi

Aurelio Solver Agcaoili,
revised from an initial data provided by Lucia Geronimo, Waipahu, Hawai`i, U.S.A., October 20, 2007.

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