JAL TAGUIBAO has a very simple way of telling just when a song can be called a hit. “When your song is being played in jeepneys,” he says, “that’s when it’s gone big time.
Taguibao should know. As the bass player of the popular pop-rock trio Sugarfree, he has shared in the success of chart-toppers such as “Mariposa (Butterfly),” “Telepono (Telephone),” and “Hari ng Sablay (King of Mishaps).” His five-year-old band has sold thousands of CDs, with its second venture, the album “Dramachine,” even turning gold.
SHE HAS always loved to sing, and as a young girl even joined amateur contests held in her hometown of Mainit in Surigao del Norte. Now based in Los Baños, Laguna, Christine Ajoc hasn’t foregone the joys of singing to an audience, even if she has not become a professional singer. If the 25-year-old is not in a videoke bar where she and her friends feast on crispy pata and take turns singing songs by Rivermaya or Christina Aguilera, Ajoc is singing (and eating and chatting) with the help of a videoke at a friend’s house.
BAGUIO CITY — Minutes after Manny Pacquiao beat Erik Morales last year, gongs could be heard ringing joyously throughout this northern city. Last Sunday, when Pacquiao wrested the World Boxing Council superfeatherweight belt from Juan Manuel Marquez, Baguio’s foggy communities were silent. Yet it may hardly been because residents here were less appreciative of The Pacman’s efforts this time around.
Even last year, pattong, or playing the gongs, could not have been for Pacquiao. Pattong is simply not done for individuals without relations in the community — even if that individual happens to be the “Pambansang Kamao (National Fist).” More likely, the gongs were brought out by some families here to announce a victorious bet made over the fight and to invite neighbors to partake of celebratory drinking and eating.
“BAYAN KO” is in vogue again, being sung by demonstrators on both sides of the political fence.
Out of the current political turmoil, the positive thing singer-songwriter Noel Cabangon expects is a healthier harvest of patriotic song. He says composers often become profound and prolific during these times.
I’M NOT quite a fan of techno, to be honest. It’s just a preference issue. I believe that watching an artist fully express himself only through voice and guitar is such an amazing experience. Yet I also know that there are now more opportunities to express oneself through music because of new technology. Today a musician can always go back to basics, but with the new technology, he can also move forward.
DO WE have anything we can rightfully call Filipino music these days? Right now, anything written by a Filipino, whether in English or Filipino or Bisaya or other dialects, is labeled as such. But the quality of our music now pales in comparison to what we used to churn out in the past.
Like everything else in our planet, Filipino music evolves. It moves with the times, adapts to changes, is influenced by its environment. Filipino music, you see, is about what we feel as a nation, what we are going through, and what we hope will happen. Culture is about how you live; you cannot separate a writer from his environment.
SO we’re just a couple of weeks away from Holy Week, and music might not exactly be the regular topic of choice during Lent. Then again, we do have the tradition of the pasyon during cuaresma — which just goes to show that even a week without some kind of music would be hard for Pinoys, and even if not all of us are gifted with enough talent to carry a tune or play an instrument. Of course, many of us are contented just to listen, but the urge to belt out along with the professionals is simply too much for some to resist (alas).
WHAT WILL the world be like in 2010? Who knows? We can only imagine our preferences and try to make them real.
As the global village moves toward greater uniformity and inter-connectivity, chances are cultural character and uniqueness will become even more valuable because these serve the world of culture, just as biodiversity serves the sphere of life.
IN 1989, Jim Paredes of the Apo Hiking Society walked into the United States Embassy and gave up his green card.
An astonished embassy official looked at him and said, “Are you sure? You know, a lot of people would kill for this. Maybe you should think things over.”
“I have thought it over,” Paredes answered.
© 1989–2021 All rights reserved. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.