Put Guåhu yan i fino i taotao-hu
About me and my language community
Hafa Adai, my name is Andrew Gumataotao from the village of Hagåtña in Guåhan (Guam) home to the CHamoru language. I grew up in a pretty musical family although my parents weren’t musicians, my aunt and older cousins always took me to church to sing in choir. This was where I developed a passion for singing and later for CHamoru music.
As I reached high-school I really was interested in CHamoru music and eventually what the songs were about. I began to fervently asking my father to help me translate these songs which encouraged me greatly to learn my native tongue.
I completed my undergraduate degree in vocal performance as well as being one of the first cohorts to graduate from the newly formed CHamoru Studies Program at the University of Guam. I’ve since pursued a graduate education in ethnomusicology, continuing my passion for music and CHamoru language.
In simple terms, the language of my peers is not CHamoru, and that poses a great problem especially in its homeland. Today I am actively promoting my language mainly through music. I have composed my own original songs in CHamoru and plan to research extensively on a lost art form called “Kantan Chamorrita”.
Even though my language is in a state of urgency, I whole-heartedly believe that this can change. I feel this is a long-term life career doing what I can to contribute to this revitalization as well as an awakening for younger generations.