Saturday, February 21, 2015

My People, We Will Rise Again.. Filipinos seeing the change and hope.

(From HERE'S THE SCORE By Teodoro C. Benigno, The Philippine Star, December 5, 2003 and SOUNDS Familliar by Baby A. Gil, The Philippine Star, June 12, 2009)

Suddenly, this word is being nudged into our consciousness and we’ve forgotten what it’s all about. What, honestly and truly, is nationalism?. Okay, the easy answer. It’s love of country. It’s a return to the values of yesteryear when the notion of nation drew us close together, particularly the war years. Fear and loathing of the Japanese invader and occupant. The tramp of his hobnailed boot, the terrors of Fort Santiago. Bataan and Corregidor. The Death March. Filipinos dying by the multitudes. The sword of Dai Nippon plunged ruthlessly into their entrails.

That is the only time I personally remember, outside of the Philippine revolution against Spain and the insurgency against the United States, that many Filipinos were ready and willing to die for this entity called Bayan kong Pilipinas. The Filipino nation. Pilipinas kong mahal. Hundreds of thousands did perish if not a couple of millions. Then and only then did love of country surge into the Filipino soul like molten lava. La patria was the revered fatherland. And a brace of Filipino heroes at the end of the 19th century gave their lives – willingly, courageously, indomitably.

Then the patriotic songs – Bayang Magiliw, Bayan Ko, Pilipinas Kong Mahal. 

the way the National Anthem gets blasphemed by pop artists. I say throw those porn actors wannabes to jail or better yet the loony bin then get rid of the key. Problem solved. As for the Lupang Hinirang controversy, I say mercy to those who choose famous pop stars to sing the song and then complain.

Those singers have their own styles and they will put it in anything they sing. The long established names do that by instinct. I know it’s commendable to make efforts to preserve the cultural heritage, but music evolves. So let us just ride with the changes. Besides as Jimi Hendrix proved when he rocked the Star Spangled Banner, you can instill patriotic fervor in any soul no matter what the music if the message is delivered from the heart. And Filipinos can do that very well.

The song Bayan Ko is a wonderful example. It is composed by Constancio de Guzman with lyrics by poet-actor Jose Corazon de la Cruz in 1928. It was first performed by National Artist Atang de la Rama and later immortalized in various recorded versions. The moving lament is now over 80 years old. It has seen Filipinos through the American regime, World War II, the Japanese invasion and Martial Law, during which the word umiiyak in the lyrics was changed to pumipitlag to denote the country’s struggle.

Today? The songs still rouse us, sometimes. The memories still rouse us, sometimes. The myth of nationalism and nationhood still rouse us, sometimes. But even when it was supposed to resurge like a great redeeming flood, and set out hearts pounding like triphammers – like EDSA I and EDSA II – it just wasn’t there anymore. When we toppled the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the pretender Joseph Estrada, it was not because of nationalism. We swept these two dastards out of power because we hated their guts. We didn’t bring out the flags. We pealed no nationalistic bells. There was no notion of nation streaking to the heights like starshells.

This happened with Mga Kababayan Ko by Francis M, which was the first rap song to hit No. 1 in the Philippines. “Mga kababayan ko/dapat lang malaman nyo/ bilib ako sa kulay ko/ako ay Pilipino/kung may itim o may puti/mayro’n namang kayumanggi/isipin mo na kaya mong/abutin ang ‘yong minimithi.”

The prolific George Canseco came out with a meaningful Ako ay Pilipino. “Ako ay Pilipino/Ako ay Pilipino/isang bansa isang diwa/ang minimithi ko/sa bayan ko’t bandila/laan buhay ko’t diwa/ako ay Pilipino/Pilipinong totoo/ako ay Pilipino/ako ay Pilipino/taas noo kahit kanino/ang Pilipino ay ako.”

Florante’s take on what’s to be proud of being Pinoy was light and folksy in Ako’y Isang Pinoy: “Ako’y isang Pinoy sa puso’t diwa/Pinoy na isinilang sa ating bansa/ako’y hindi sanay sa wikang mga banyaga/ako’y Pinoy na mayroong sariling wika.”

Manny Pacquiao’s every victory in the ring saw his song Para Sa ‘Yo Ang Laban na ‘To written by Lito Camo getting massive airplay. It dedicates every victory to his country and is also about pride in being a Filipino: Para sa ‘yo ang laban na to/di ako susuko/isisigaw ko sa mundo/Pinoy ang lahi ko/mahal ko ang bayan ko/para sa ‘yo bayan ko.

Heber Bartolome and his Banyuhay go for the looks, language and the soul of being a Filipino in his Tayo’y Mga Pinoy: “Bakit kaya tayo ay ganito/bakit nanggagaya, mayro’n naman tayo/tayo’y mga Pinoy, tayo’y hindi kano/wag kang mahihiya kung ang ilong mo ay pango.

Who can forget how the whole country sang and swayed to the infectious rhythm of Pinoy Ako by Orange & Lemons: Pinoy, ikaw ay Pinoy ipakita sa mundo/kung ano ang kaya mo/ibang-iba ang Pinoy/huwag kang matatakot/ipagmalaki mo/Pinoy ako/Pinoy tayo.

And as Bamboo so successfully proved in Noypi, the patriotic Pinoy artist can also rock hard. “Hoy Pinoy ako/buo ang aking loob/may agimat ang dugo ko/hoy, Pinoy ako/may agimat ang dugo ko.

A song entitled “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo,” was also played on air, that APO Hiking Society member and songwriter Jim Paredes said.

Thanks to her sister, Susan, DANA's song was chosen as the anthem for World Youth Day 1993, held in Denver. DANA didn't enter the competition to find a theme song for the August 10-15 event, attended by Pope (now Saint John Paul II and former United States President Bill Clinton, but her sister sent a tape of We Are One Body to the organizers (without telling her) hoping they might invite her along to sing it.

The year 1994 was filled with feverish anticipation for many Filipinos. During mid-year, the Miss Universe pageant was held in the Philippines for the second time. Toward the cusp of the year, the predominantly Catholic country started preparing for 1995's biggest event for its faithful millions.

The World Youth Day was set in the Philippines, and Pope John Paul II was coming (after last visited on February 17 to 21, 1981).

In a culture where worship takes the form of song and dance, the visit of a religious leader merited an anthem. Hence, the songwriting contest that then-24-year-old Trina Belamide joined, which brought forth “Tell the World of His Love.”

Belamide was a fledgling songwriter then, barely 3 years out of college. She had begun writing songs for ballad group The Company Singers, with “Now That I Have You” having gained considerable airplay.

For the children who have come to consciousness at that time, whether by virtue of a Catholic school indoctrination or the lure of the cult of Jollibee, “Tell The World of His Love” was some sort of a song-and-dance routine, only made more sober by its gospel nature.

Twenty years later, Belamide shares her real reason for writing the song that became the papal visit’s definitive anthem. It is a secular one, and she calls it “selfish,” but says it was made bigger than her personal reasons. The song was produced by CBCP and World Youth Day Organizing Committee for Praise, Inc. and was performed by Jeffrey Arcilla and Raquel Mangaliag.

"Shine", a composition by Trina Belamide the song won second place in the 1996 Metro Manila Popular Music Festival.

In Advent 1996, the Jubilee Song was released for the three-year celebration of 2000th Birth Anniversary of Jesus Christ, composed by Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo. The versions was sung by Donna Cruz (in Servant of All) and Jamie Rivera. the Catholic hierarchy of the Philippines, through His Eminence Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, in solidarity with the instruction of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, called on Filipinos to participate in the launching of the Great Jubilee Year 2000-a 3-year celebration in preparation for the 2000th birth anniversary of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thousands of Catholics from the different religious and lay organizations including the Foundation responded to this call as they gathered at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on December 1. 

Our very own Raki Vega-Siu, the only “Born Diva” of the Philippines, made us proud once again with her guesting on ABS-CBN’s Music Uplate last Thursday early morning. She was there to promote her latest single “We Will Rise Again,” composed by another Cebuano pride and gem, Jude Gitamondoc, who provided accompaniment to her soulful performance.

Watching her left me thinking how ABS-CBN wasted Raki's talent by not investing and pushing for her to reach greater heights. Yes, she has an album with Star Records, which according to Raki during her guest appearance, is currently selling well in Indonesia, but I don’t think it was promoted well. Besides that album has long been overdue because she was adjudged Born Diva in 2004, yet her album came out only last year or 2008.

The show’s male host Tutti and Aiza Seguerra, who was pinch-hitting for Yeng Constantino, were both in awe of Raki’s voice. The viewers were clearly mesmerized as requests for Raki to sing kept coming, all of which she graciously granted. Aiza even commented that Raki outstandingly interpreted her songs; you could really feel that a story is unfolding.

Raki is a one-of-a-kind. She is a gift. Her voice is a gem. It’s just disappointing to see how she is not getting the breaks worth her talent. They say, “Stars are made not born.” But in Raki’s case, I dare say that it’s the other way around. She is literally a “Born Diva.” I hope ABS-CBN will realize that before it’s too late.

Thesedays, the song We Will Rise Again by Raki Vega has played after the May 10, 2010 Philippine automated national elections.

(music and lyrics by Jude Gitamondoc)
(Performed by Raki Vega)
(MTV Directed by Ruel Antipuesto and Tess Villegas)
(Arranged by Jad Bantug)
(Orchestration by Prof. Roberto del Rosario)
(Violin by Marc Hamlet Mercado)
(Cello by Maria Doris Malaque)
(Choir: Voices of Praise Carmel)
(Online & local distribution & promotions: 22Tango Records)

I can see it now
Crystal clear as day
My people will rise again
Someday soon, somehow,
Somewhere down the way
My people will rise again...
My people, we will rise again
We will learn to spread our wings and fly again
Like an eagle to the distant dawn...We will rise again.
No more hollow words
No more shallow lies
For tomorrow, we will rise again
No more shattered hopes
No more tattered lives
This time tomorrow, we will rise again...
My people, we will rise again
We will learn to spread our wings and fly again
Like an eagle to the distant dawn
From out the shackles of the past
We'll be flying free at last
And rising with the morn
We will stand and we will rise again.
And nothing or no one can take my dream from me
I won't let them, I won't let them, no, I won't
For tomorrow, we will rise again...
My people, we will rise again
We will learn to spread our wings and fly again
Like an eagle to the distant dawn...
From out the shackles of the past
We'll be flying free at last
And rising with the morn
We will stand and we will rise again...
My people, we will rise again.

The music video of Raki Vega’s latest single, “We Will Rise Again,” can now be viewed over Channel [V]. In her official Facebook account, the singer said: “[The video] is going global. Thank you so much to (Channel [V] Philippines channel head) JM Rodriguez and (manager) Carlo Orosa.” The music video is a collaborative output from the artist and musician members of the Cebu-based Artist Ko, namely; Ruel Antipuesto and Tess Villegas, who produced and directed the video, and Jude Gitamondoc who composed the anthemic and inspirational song with arrangement, recording and mixing courtesy of Jad Bantug. The song is published under Music R’ Us Music Publishing and locally distributed by 22 Tango Records.

Now, the song "We Are All God's Children" has been played on the airwaves.

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