Posted by: annpeace | April 27, 2015

The Beginnings of the Painter

I look at this formerly white wall, now adorned

with settled dust and orange lines
used to be neon now a bit darker
When Mama screamed
Her face a frustration
An (un)expected response
I was five
And twenty-two years later
She looks at the wall
Then her face the canvas of a smile

Posted by: annpeace | April 9, 2015

VisPop 2.0 “Reviews”

Untitled

It is so sad that we did not get to watch the awards night of VisPop 2.0 last year. I could not recall what happened but Floyd and I do not consider ourselves failures for missing that night. As you know in the VisPop 1 review, we have been playing the VisPop winning songs for about two years now almost everyday (via YouTube and SoundCloud). Please refer to the previous post disclaimer.😉 I forgot to mention that we came up with the review in preparation for VisPop 3.0.

Dili Pa Panahon

This song was our winner (although later on, we think it’s a tie between this and Kasikas). Dili Pa Panahon simply tells us about a love that’s happening too early. A boy tells his girlfriend, “unahon ta ang pag-eskuwela”.  While it does not happen very often that this initiative comes from the man in the relationship, it still happens anyway. The song also does not use big or deep Visayan words making the song believable. It has the voice of the youth, indeed. When your song tells a story that you know exists, you get attached to it. I think this is the magic of the songs of E-Heads or even the local, Missing Filemon – they sing relatable stories. That’s just one major thing though. Dili Pa Panahon is also upbeat that is so fitting to its theme – youth.

Kasikas

The use of hyperbole at its best, Kasikas knows what it is singing about. We can even say that it does not use exaggeration – you know the figuratives actually meant the truth not only because of the appropriate use of the language but also the incorporation of its melody. There’s this Noel Cabangon drama in it too, the kind of drama that you can succumb to. I would kill to see this song performed live with an orchestra to accompany it. That will leave me weeping, probably. There’s one miss in this song that Floyd and I forgive, “Kay ang kinabuhi, magasugod human sa kahadlok”. We wish it was “magapadayon” instead of “magasugod”. But that’s just us.

Labyu Langga

Labyu Langga is one of our least favorite in this second VisPop competition. While it is cute and catchy, you can also mistake it for a song you may have heard before. We also find the lyrics contradicting. In the first few parts of the song we thought that this girl is secretly loving someone who is distant, as the refrain suggests, “Ka’baw kong di ka mutagad ning simple nga magbabalak, apan awit ra gyud ang akong mahalad”. Yet, later on you’d realize that the two persons are actually connected to each other with the claim that “ako nang gihatag nimo akong kasing-kasing, ikaw na ang bahala sa pagtipig ug pag-amping”. The implied relationship was confirmed by the endearment “Langga”. Much later in the song, there are more supporting manifestations as it already says that they are together day and night, the “speaker” even accepts the “yawyaw” of her love interest. We can’t discount that these are mere signs and that the song could even be spoken or sung in a futuristic or dreamy perspective.

Habak

We like this is song because it is rock and not the kind of rock that becomes cheap novelty at the end. I personally like the theme of this song because it reminds me a lot about my grandmother and her mystical stories about black magic and occult. No, of course she wasn’t a mananambal and all of that sort. But you know the beliefs of our folks. The thing about this is the lyrics. In the lack of appropriate Visayan words, it uses “gyud” (or “gyung” or “gayud”) as fillers. Later it is already distracting and eventually becomes less communicating. Then again this is understandable. We Cebuanos or Visayans are not good at speaking our own language. But at least “kapre” could’ve been “agta” maybe? That would sound a little bit more authentic.

Bayani

This is one of the songs in this batch that did not use Visayan words wrecklessly. While writing this, Floyd and I realised that Bayani is the aftermath of the song Habak, haha (after this part happened: “Bay, taga-I ko…sa habak nga imong gibakos-bakos kanunay”)! The Anting-anting Saga! We were just having fun. Really now, the thought expressed in Bayani is not new but the words used are dynamic – katambayayong, kaharuhay, kalisdanan, taming, hinagiban, amomahon – these terms are not used commonly anymore but are understandable to me so that’s a major plus.  Yes, for someone who has very limited Cebuano vocabulary.

Intergalactic Gugma

Our first impression of this song was already not too good because the song oddly sounds similar to a popular hit some years ago. Although, we appreciate that Visayan musicians are now exploring electronic music. But this was not all; “intergalactic” is a big big word that it set high expectations. Honestly, it had me at hello.

As Floyd would say, it is not enough to mention the moon, Jupiter, and Mars and then claim that you are talking intergalactic. As a matter of fact, these things are found only in our own solar system.  Having invested on an enormous title, the song should’ve signified something waaaay beyond our own galaxy to suffice. Like, what? It feels alien loving you or loving you is like being abducted by an alien that my senses do not feel earthly? Or, “mingaw ang langit kung wala ka, basin tua ka sa  Andromeda? Naa pa lang ko’y spaceship, giapas na tika. Mosulod kog wormhole, bahala na. Intergalactic Gugmaaaaaah…” Siguro lisod lang gyud kung Binisay-on ning pulonga.

Oh well, it does sound good and feels techno so maybe that was it. I still like singing it. But I can’t change Floyd’s mind, he gets uncomfortable all the time. Blame it on his recently acquired surface knowledge/addiction from YouTube about “The String Theory”.  Little knowledge is dangerous, huh? But it has a point.

Overall, we can’t avoid comparing this second batch with its excellent precursor.  The previous batch was diverse but its main weakness were the female singers having the tendency to sound alike (the first time I heard the songs in a playlist, I could not determine whether one has ended and another one has started playing).  Yet lyrics in the previous batch were not carelessly put in place and were not awkwardly written. The rhythm sounded so new, they were heaven to the ears.

This second VisPop offered a more modern feel but the lyrics fell short in sense and construction if there’s such a thing in songwriting. This concerns me because I myself am learning the Visayan language and VisPop is also an avenue for such learning by many of its listeners. I feel that there is a need for VisPop to have a language coach if there is none yet.

In addition, at least three songs easily sounded similar to popular foreign tunes so that is risky.

We would still like to emphasise that we look up to the music campaign that is VisPop, our support is unwavering. I must say again that this was one reason why Floyd and I have decided to express our thoughts – this means that two little Cebuano spectators do get affected by the songs one way or another and there could be more like us.

Photo from the FB Page of VisPop

https://www.facebook.com/visayanpop?fref=ts

Posted by: annpeace | April 3, 2015

VisPop 1.0 “Reviews”

VisPopLogo_2

I shall start this article with a disclaimer. I am going to write opinion in first person point of view, plural form and in (very) layman’s terms. This is because the insights that are going to be penned here are mostly shared by me and Floyd. We are not critiques, songwriters, or composers so there would be no technicalities and BIG words. We may have published very few poems and articles in the local daily years ago. We have written very few songs (or attempting?) as well but these do not make us write this. Instead, we write this because we are lovers of words, music, and art. We are avid listeners of the VisPop finalists since its first installment. We were probably one of the most excited people upon hearing about the project. Possibly, the only valid credentials we have for writing this is we have been playing VisPop 1 and 2 songs almost every day for the past two years (during bus rides, boat rides, and then short and long drives) and built relationships with them. Haha! We love VisPop so much that it is worthy that we spend much thought in coming up with our very own reviews. VisPop 3 is fast approaching so we hope this is timely.

Now, I am too lazy to post the songs one by one, so please refer to the links at the bottom of the article.

Duyog

Love at first sound. The moment we first heard Duyog, we were hooked. We hear Visayan rock or Visayan ballads a lot of times but alternative is not very much a genre explored by the Bisaya.  I know we weren’t just being sensationalist because when we shared the song to “unbelievers” of local music, they loved the musical arrangement and they fell in love with the words. It was a winner, no doubt. And yes, it did win.

We would like to say, however, that the only thing we wished about this song is a clearer voice or point of view. The lyrics are generic “Ikaw ang bahandi, dugay ko nang gihandom. Ikaw ang bituon, sa ngitngit kong baybayon…”. If I am a person being wooed with these words, I wouldn’t be impressed simply because it was not specific to me. I could tell that person, how many people have you sung this song to? In poetry, we learned that for it to be effective, it has to have an identifiable voice. The good thing is, this one’s a song so it can get away for that reason. Truth be told, we like this as a wedding song too.

Papictura ko, Gwapo

Our favorite. Floyd and I share the same favorite in the batch and it is this song. We believe until today that this should have placed! Floyd just recently discovered Jack Johnson (yes, fyi) and he also enjoys the wordplay of Jason Mraz. We love this song because of that – the wordplay, its unique sound of making awkward not awkward eventually. It is very challenging to sing along to, it’s almost like a maze. That is an advantage because we wouldn’t stop until we perfected “Pero mura’g gamay pa ang imong igo nako, atik ra dako-dako na man pud diay ni ‘Bay”. That was just one. We would laugh every time we miss the syllable on the note. More importantly, we love this because it was timely and it sounded real. You know somewhere out there, this situation exists and the song uses words and elements so familiar, you can be that person singing the song. At one time, Floyd said it was a statement of a modern woman, it was feminist. But that’s another story.

Laylay

The truth is we could not say much about this song. It could be that we are big fans of melodrama no longer. And while the melody did sound sad or lonely, it could not affect us. One reason that we figured was we did not know all along that it was really about Grandma had it not been mentioned in the song. Floyd would say, “no manifestations”. To be fair, there was a time I would play this to get my nephews and nieces to sleep and I guess, this was the role of this song in the first place.

Balay ni Mayang

While this song is not most dear to us, we like to sing along to this anyway. This song is like a friend you can get along with in a snap. It is easy to remember that even my officemate’s 3-year old son got to learn the song. I guess it has the charm the masses could not resist. Plus, it is timely in the sense that songs accompanied by ukulele are the trend. Well, it’s cute really. Although big boys think otherwise…naughty them.

Hinaut

The piece is easy to the ears. It is feel-good and shy at the same time with its slow-paced melody and timid voice of the singer. That is probably one of the most commendable thing about Hinaut, it sounded honest from start to finish. This could also probably explain why the song did sound monotonic and there was no victory at the end. It did not jump to higher notes, no grand bridge that would tell us the man was willing to get out from his shell and finally tell the girl he loves her. After all, he was only hoping. A sad ending for a loverboy. I feel for you, man.

Historias

This is also another song that in this batch that we look up to. It is difficult to pull off a jazzy song, more so in Bisaya. Jazzy Cebuano songs may exist but not to many ordinary people like us. So this is a revolution, a breakthrough. No wonder it bagged the Fighter Award. Payter, it is! We hope to hear brave songs like this!

So, in conclusion, VisPop 1 was outstanding. It opened up the doors to Visayan music and its diversities. Diversities because although the women singers have the tendency to sound alike, the genres and the messages differ from one another. They represent different people musicians and non-musicians. We have this notion that Cebuanos are elitist or maybe hard to please, and it is good to know that we are trying to touch the ground and feel our roots.

VisPop 2 Reviews to follow…

Some useful related stuff you might find:

http://www.filscap.com.ph/index.php/news-a-events/218-vispop-2013-filscap-and-artistko-in-protecting-music-copyright-through-songwriting

http://tenminutes.ph/6-inspiring-vispop-songs-that-will-make-you-proud-of-being-a-bisdak/

https://www.facebook.com/visayanpop

Posted by: annpeace | March 9, 2014

A tribute to the decade ago a.k.a High School (Part I)

What a revelation. Just because it’s March.

Anyway, so yes. You know you are old when you write a big throwback article like this. It was about a decade ago when we said goodbye to what they say as the best years of youth – high school. I maybe not normal, I don’t share the same feeling. Still, it is good to recall those good not-so-old years. 

The diary.

ImageSome people call it a journal now, and some more call it a blog. But back then, high school girls keep our rantings and writings in secret. Today, all the world have to know by Tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, and whatnot. Back then, there was that small hardback book with a lock and no one should ever have access to it because the little book might unlock the puzzle of the codenamed crushes. 

And speaking of crushes – when I was in high school, there were a lot of schoolmates and classmates who like to write rhymes about their unrequited puppy love and have them published on the school paper. And despite the long turnaround time, they are happy seeing their cheesy little works in circulation hoping “he/she” gets to read them and realises the “poem” was for “him/her”. Why am I even using the third person’s point of view – I’ve done it once or twice. 

And speaking of writing – some few experimental ones pen their masterpieces on the “Girls’ C.R.” cubicles. I assume it was the same for the “Boys’ C.R.” I mean, why else would the APSA Office consider it as a grave offense if it never happened there.

Posted by: annpeace | September 2, 2013

Gifted Child

DSC_0260So one day, I said with dreamy eyes. If or when someday we will have children, they will become artists and writers at the same time. And musicians and mathematicians at once. They will become better versions of ourselves, they will achieve what we have failed to do. The prodigies that will change the world. And just as I said that, I realized there was something wrong. “Erase, erase…let them be who they are or they will to become. Let them discover what they really are here for and unburden them from the loads of tomorrow” Bo Sanchez had once shared that parents are mostly the source of a child’s insecurities and less self-worth. It is parents who always make a child feel he/she will never be enough.

Maybe because parents are too frustrated with their shortcomings and imperfections, they simply want their child to be what they have not become. In most cases, it is simply to redeem themselves from their failures.

Let a child what he/she wants to be. Even if he does not show signs of talent or intelligence, there is always something special in that child – maybe his sensitivity, her smile, his charm, her affection, his humor, her wit, or whatever. As parents, you should be the first one to know really. And you will probably know better if you move away from watching the baby formula commercials/ads

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