Gifted musician and his legacy

Jose Naputi Gumabon, Sr (1904 – 1968) was musically and artistically gifted. He formed a stringed orchestra with his sons and close friends to play at parties, weddings, christenings, and other functions. Although Gumabon and his musician sons have since passed away, their memories live on through their children, relatives, and fellow musicians.

Gumabon married Ana Meno and together they had eight children – six sons and two daughters. The Gumabons raised their children, as well as a nephew, to appreciate music.

The family’s talents grew to include the playing of various instruments including the guitar, banjo, bass fiddle, piano, harmonica, and organ. The Gumabon family also displayed a talent for singing and dancing. Jose Gumabon, Sr. led his children in a family musical act popular at weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Aside from their more public performances, the family band gathered on Sundays for brunch, games and more music.

Aside from Gumabon’s musical talents, he is remembered as being an accomplished in the art of home renovation, auto repair, and painting.

By James Perez Viernes, PhD

Editor’s note: The photos and initial research for this entry is courtesy of Mico and Stevie Scott’s Jazz on Guam: An Oral History, a project funded by the Guam Humanities Council and in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.