Grace Nono is one of the most renowned female vocalists in the Philippines; however, her indigenous sound is completely at odds with most of the country's American-leaning pop music. Like Cynthia Alexander, Grace Nono was embraced by an alternative-rock subculture in the ‘90s that viewed her ethnic folk as offering something different than the mainstream. In 1993, her album Tao Music was rooted in traditional Filipino rhythms and instrumentation but given modern touches. The masses had little interest in it; however, praise from musicologists and serious rock critics opened doors for the spiritual and soulful vocalist. Refusing to compromise to achieve commercial success, she probed even deeper into indigenous Filipino music her follow-up LP, Opo, in 1995. Her combination of Filipino and Western arrangements made her a unique and vital artist and difficult to classify although her albums are often categorized as world music. In 1998, Nono -- along with her collaborator and husband Bob Aves - dominated the Katha Awards in the Philippines, receiving 21 nominations. She won the Katha award for Best World Music Album three times. Although she has never crossed over to the Philippine masses, Nono managed to establish herself with a highly respected body of work worthy of national pride. In addition to recording music, she opened a store, Living Culture, which promotes traditional Filipino arts and crafts.
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