Born and raised in the river valley of Agusan, Northeastern Mindanao, Southern Philippines, Grace Nono is a music-performing artist, ethnomusicologist, and cultural worker. Grace received her bachelor's in Humanities and master's in Philippine Studies from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, and her doctorate in Ethnomusicology from New York University. She is also a recipient of fellowships and further training through the Asian Cultural Council in New York, the Asia-Pacific Performance Exchange program in Los Angeles, the Asia-Pacific Cultural Center for UNESCO in Kyoto, the Asian Institute of Management's Managing the Arts Program in Makati, the NYU Global Research Initiative in Florence, the Harvard Divinity School-Women's Studies in Religion Program and the Center for the Study of World Religions in Cambridge.
As a music artist, Grace specializes in the contemporary performance of Philippine prayer chants, on the one hand, and Visayan love laments, on the other, taught to her by oral singers in different parts of the Philippines. She has been featured in concerts at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, the House of World Cultures in Berlin, the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, the Lincoln Center's La Casita Festival and the Asian American Arts Alliance's Locating the Sacred Festival in New York, the Asia Society in New York and Hong Kong, the Singapore Arts Festival and the National Museum of Singapore, the Music Village Festival in London, the Gathering of Drummers in Prague, concerts in Paris and Monte Carlo, WOMAD in Yokohama, the World Exposition on Nature's Wisdom in Nagoya, the Penang World Music Festival in Malaysia, the Asian Fantasy Orchestra tours of New Delhi, Bombay, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Miyazaki, Bangkok, Vientiane, Yangon, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, various presentations in Huairou, Bangkok, Jakarta, Nanning, Shanghai, Seoul, Penang, Taipei, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Butuan, Bunawan, Davao, Ilo-ilo, Palawan, Mindoro, Bicol, Baguio, Zambales, Cagayan Valley, and Sagada. Grace has also published six award-winning solo albums and has contributed tracks to around fifteen recording compilations. In addition, she co-produced and co-published five recordings of Philippine oral music traditions.
As scholar, Grace currently writes about Philippine chants in relation to issues of gender, religion, and transnationalism. She has published two books in the Philippines (with accompanying recordings): The Shared Voice: Chanted and Spoken Narratives from the Philippines (ANVIL Publishing and Fundacion Santiago, 2008), winner in the 2009 Book Awards; and Song of the Babaylan: Living Voices, Medicines, Spiritualities of Philippine Ritualist-Oralist-Healers (Institute of Spirituality in Asia, 2013), winner in the 2014 Gintong Aklat Awards, and the 2014 Catholic Book Awards.
As cultural worker, Grace founded the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts, a Philippine non-government organization engaged in cultural regeneration initiatives, for which she has received support from the National Commission for Culture and Arts, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Sanctuary Fund, Toyota Foundation, UNESCO, Advocates of Philippine Fair Trade, Australia-Philippines Community Cooperation Program, and local communities and institutions.
To date, Grace has won over 40 awards, including The Outstanding Women in the Nation's Service or TOWNS award, the Ten Outstanding Young Men or TOYM award, the University of the Philippines Distinguished Alumni award, three Album of the Year awards, three Best World Music Album awards, three national book awards, several Catholic Mass Media, Katha, Awit, National Press Club, and other awards for her artistic and cultural contributions.