Music

Awit at Laro: A Dose of Child’s Play and Folklore

During the last week of October, Mr. Pure Energy himself, Gary Valenciano, together with Bambi Mañosa Tanjutco, launched Awit at Laro, a project that celebrates the spirit of play (Awit at Laro, 2018). It presents modernized versions of traditional Filipino folk songs, as well as new compositions inspired by the well-loved Filipino games, such as Piko, Jack ‘En Poy, etc. Accompanied by Awit at Laro’s music is a coffee table book which contains the songs’ lyrics and artworks created by artists of Ang INK (Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan), which may be purchased either online or in one of Awit at Laro’s mall tours. Proceeds from the coffee table book sales will be for the benefit of Unicef and Tukod Foundation while the door art sales will be for the benefit of Museo Pambata. This project was also made in partnership with Shining Light Foundation.

The Awit at Laro album is produced by Star Music, Manila Genesis Entertainment & Management Inc., and GV Productions. It contains two parts, namely Awit and Laro. The Awit album contains nine recordings of traditional Filipino folk songs with modern twists, as well as “Bawat Isa Sa Atin,” an original song written and sung by Gary Valenciano. On the other hand, the Laro album contains ten recordings of originally written songs inspired by the most-loved Filipino games.

This article will feature the songs included in the album, as well as detailed descriptions of each song.

AWIT

Bahay Kubo” is one of the most popular Tagalog folksongs we have learned in our childhood years. Apart from the vegetables planted in the backyard, immaterial things, such as love, happiness, peace, and other intangible yet positive things make the “bahay kubo” not only a house filled with vegetation, but also a home that instills positive values. With the song’s recurring instrumentation (flute, djembe, humming, and kulintang), Jona’s vocals were light yet sincere, which complete the song’s positive feel.

“Sitsiritsit Alibangbang” may have had the innocent melody but its song’s last two stanzas talked about human trafficking.

Mama, mama, namamangka

Pasakayin yaring bata

Pagdating sa Maynila,

Ipagpalit ng manika.

Ale, aleng namamayong

Pasukubin yaring sanggol

Pagdating sa Malabon,

Ipagpalit ng bagoong.

These verses were even raised by comedian Vice Ganda during one of the episodes of It’s Showtime while the hosts were discussing the issue on the possible change of our National Anthem’s lyrics. Going back to the track itself, the bridge part served as a commentary to the aforementioned verses:

Pasensya na kung di maintindihan

Huwag ipagpapalit ang tao sa kabagayan

Pagsabihan lang pag sila’y nangungulit

Pagtiyagaan na lang, di na nauulit muli

P

Musically speaking, the TNT Boys’ version of this folksong has a dance-like feel, which had a fusion of 1990s Eurodance feels and milennial whoop. While the boys have a consistently seamless harmony, Mackie’s rap is clearly done and Keifer’s whistle register is consistently on-point. Francis’s belting lines are also powerful.

Katrina Velarde’s version of “Leron Leron Sinta” had a reggae and R&B feel. While the song’s lyrics were written as they are, Velarde’s voice was powerful yet soulful. Not to mention, her melismas were on point.

Paru-Parong Bukid” is another Filipino folksong with a fusion of rock and rondalla, interpreted by Yeng Constantino. The interesting part about the song’s arrangement was that the rondalla trills blended well with the pop-rock arrangement.

Magtanim ay Di Biro,” a Filipino folksong that talks about a farmer’s life, was interpreted by Bamboo and the Band (composed of Junjun Regalado, Simon Tan, Ardie de Guzman, Kakoy Legaspi, Abe Billano, and Ria Villena-Osorio).  The sound has the usual rock feel, reminiscent of 1990s Rivermaya (led by Bamboo). The song’s melody departed from the original during the first time it was sung.

Lea Salonga’s “Pakitong-Kitong”  is rather a commentary on bashing in general.

Bakit ba may ibang nambabangga at nananadya?

While the song’s original version talks about the struggle of catching crabs in the sea, Jungee Marcelo, the song’s composer has a different take on the “crabs” in the society. The so-called “crabs” are the ones who would do everything out of envy to pull successful people down, in favor of themselves. Musically, the song’s character is dark, which matched Salonga’s theatrical vocals.

Sam Concepcion’s version of the Bikol folksong, “Sarung Banggi” was a mix of Bikol and Tagalog lyrics. However, the Tagalog lyrics were not direct translations of the original Bikol text. Musically speaking, the song’s melody has a slight departure from the original and it has an EDM feel.

“Ati Cu Pung Singsing” is also in EDM, sung by Janella Salvador. The song commences with the Kapampangan folksong’s Tagalog translation, followed by some English lyrical content. It is sung in its original Kapampangan text during the middle part.

“Nanay, Tatay,” is a children’s game song which is reflective in the claps in the song’s beginning. Interpreted by Darren Espanto, Anne Curtis, and Gloc 9, it talks about patience, giving, and perseverance.

Tulungan mo ang sarili mo. Subukan mo at ang mararating mo ay malayo

Ending the Awit segment is Gary Valenciano’s and Mandaluyong Children’s Choir’s “Bawat Isa Sa Atin.” It is a ballad which talks about giving hope to the children, despite them being born out of struggles.

Bawat isa sa atin ay tulad nila.

Naghahanap ng pagmamahal at pag-aaruga

Kung ituloy ang laban,

Karapatan ng bawat batang nilalang

Balang araw nating masasaksihan

Buhay ng bawat batang

Matupad ang pangarap nila.

LARO

Patintero,” performed by Lara Maigue and Mel Villena’s AMP Band, clearly shows how the game patintero is played. It also encourages children to play patintero to promote physical and mental alertness. Musically, it is set in big band jazz.

Similar to “Patintero,” KZ Tandingan’s “Tagu-Taguan” is a clear demonstration of the game. It is set in EDM.

Piko,” performed by Morissette Amon, has the distinct sound of the Indonesian saron, especially in the beginning, which later transitions into EDM. Lyrically, it shows how popular the piko is, being a budget-friendly and environment-friendly game.

Joey Ayala’s “Luksong Tinik” is musically interesting. It does not only show how the game luksong tinik is played. It is a fusion of EDM and folk elements (guitar, kulintang, and kudyapi), reminiscent of what the UP TUGMA (an organization in the UP College of Music that focuses on Asian Music performance) is currently doing. The “Takbo, takbo, takbo, lukso” part is also playfully done.

Gary Valenciano and Ogie Alcasid’s “Sipa,” is a dance pop song which shows how the game sipa is played. It also describes how the ball used in such game looks like.

Tumbang Preso,” performed by Kiana Valenciano and Billy Crawford, is basically a creative presentation of the tumbang preso scene. Musically, tinges of the pateteg and the takik are fused with EDM.

Bullet Dumas’s “Jak en Poy” does not only describe how the game is played.  Dumas’s lyricism is creative, especially in the part, “Bato, talo sa papel, talo sa gunting.”This part reminds me of the choral arrangements of Filipino folksongs used in high school choral competitions, in terms of rhythmic structure.

“Pitik-Bulag,” performed by Julie Anne San Jose is an R&B love song. It likens the pitik bulag game to romance in general which is full of surprises.

“Touch and Move” talks about the touch and move game by itself. This song molds AC Bonifacio, not only as the dancer who won in ABS-CBN’s Dance Kids, but also as a total performer who can actually sing!

The Laro portion ends with Gary Valenciano’s “Saranggola.” Written by Ebe Dancel, the song talks about letting our dreams (represented by the kite) fly higher and holding onto them with our supporters’ guidance (represented by the kite’s string). The song itself is anthemic and powerful.

The album itself is kid-friendly because those listening to the tracks will not only enjoy the songs’ modern feel. The songs also impart important lessons through the lyrics added. The coffee table book is also a great gift this Christmas season.

To have a sneak peak of the album, here is the Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.

Awit at Laro in a nutshell

Advertisements
Standard
Entertainment, Music

PHILPOP 2018 Top 10 Finalists (A Review)

During the Pinoy Playlist concert held at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater on October 18, the Top 10 finalists for the Philpop Festival were announced. From the Top 30, the Top 10 finalists were selected, based on the following criteria:

                            50% – judges
                            25% – online streaming
                            25% SMART People’s Choice (through SMS and Twitter’s
conversational ad

With a total of 100%.

The Finals Night will be held on December 2 at the Capitol Commons in Pasig City.

Here are the Top 10 entries for Philpop. In this post, I will describe some of the song’s details, in terms of lyrics and musical content, as well as my verdict.

  1. Ako Ako 

Ako Ako” is a pop-rock song composed by Jeriko Buenafe and interpreted by alternative rock band Feel Day and theater actor Hans Dimayuga. It talks about two men fighting over a woman who is struggling to choose between the two. The “Sabi niya ako” counterpoint was seamless that it actually represented how the two men argued over the woman they like.

2. Di Ko Man

Di Ko Man” is a fresh take on OPM. Since the Filipino music industry is dominated by the Tagalogs, BisPop has become alive once again, after the eras of Max Surban and Yoyoy Villame. Composed and interpreted by Ferdinand Aragon, it is a Cebuano song with an indie-ish acoustic feel. It talks about the traditional concept of love: untainted and innocent.

 

3. Isang Gabing Pag-ibig

Isang Gabing Pag-ibig” is a ballad composed by Carlo Angelo David and interpreted by Tawag ng Tanghalan’s “Balladeer Extraordinaire” Jex de Castro. It talks about experiencing love at first sight. De Castro’s voice was full of emotions in the chorus and bridge parts and his dynamic levels were varied. Not to mention, de Castro’s voice was reminiscent of Lee Ryan, lead singer of British boy band Blue.

4. Kariton

In a sea of love songs, “Kariton” is a song that rather focuses on a social issue.  Composed by Philip Arvin Jarilla and interpreted by Acapellago, it talks about the daily struggles of every Filipino who makes a living with his kariton (cart). Countertenor Almond Bolante’s solo parts in the first stanza were powerful, as well as his ad-lib parts towards the latter part of the song. The harmony, arranged by JC Jose, was also performed seamlessly. The keyboard and guitar progressions added strength to the song.

5. Laon Ako

Laon Ako” is written by Elmar Bolaño and Donel Trasporto and interpreted by singer-comedian Kakai Bautista (Remember Rak of Aegis?). While “laon” means that something is not that fresh anymore like rice, it has a feminist theme, which tells that having a significant other is not that important to make a woman become fulfilled. Apart from her birit routine performed on television, Bautista’s vocals were rather light, which matched with the song’s theme.

6. Loco de Amor

“Loco de Amor” is a humorous song composed by Edgardo Miraflor Jr. and interpreted by the BennyBunnyBand. With the song’s Afro-Latin musical theme, it talks about a man who has an affinity with an allegedly Spanish girl. Hence, the heavily corrupted Spanish lyrics. Since “Loco de Amor” is loosely translated as “crazy in love,” some words and names associated with sex were even included, such as the association of “sabor” (taste) to a girl and “Mang Kanor,” an infamous person associated with sex scandals.

7. Nanay Tatay

Nanay Tatay” is another song that tackled a social issue. Composed and interpreted by Chud Festejo, it talks about the different types of street children: beggar, Sampaguita vendor, and even a drug pusher. It also talks about child trafficking. The usage of the “Nanay, tatay” game song was witty, which added impact to the song’s overall narration. The “Isa, isa dalawa,” hook added impact to the song’s overall theme.

8. Pilipit

Pilipit” is a song written by Sean Gabriel Cedro and John Ray Reodique. Interpreted by Julian Trono, it talks about a man who is struggling to confess his feelings to the girl he likes.

9. Tama Na

Tama Na” is a ballad composed by Michael Rodriguez and Jeanne Columbine Rodriguez. Interpreted by “Suklay Diva” Katrina Velarde, the song talks about closure of a failed relationship and starting over a new one. The song’s instrumentation needed more variations to allow Velarde to variate her vocal ability as well. Velarde’s voice was undeniably powerful, however.

10. Yun Tayo

Yun Tayo” is a pop-rock song composed by Donnalyn Onilongo and interpreted by the Gracenote band. It talks about frequent cancellations of plans (lakad, in Tagalog) by making various excuses. The song’s feel is suitable for driving.

 

Those are the Top 10 entries for this year’s Philpop. Given the comments I have stated, my top entries for this year are the following: Aragon’s “Di Ko Man,” de Castro’s “Isang Gabing Pag-ibig,” Acapellago’s “Kariton, Bautista’s “Laon Ako,” Festejo’s “Nanay Tatay,” and BennyBunnyBand’s “Loco de Amor.” 

 

Standard