Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Songs and Memories and Friendships

I STARTED my day reminiscing. Bittersweet memories 
as I listened to songs in my CD, songs that I wrote with friends when I was in my 20s to 30s. Very meaningful ones in my progression as a human being, like a chronicle of my journey before I crossed oceans to America... Due to copyright intricacies, I will have to work on legal issues first before I could properly market them though (via the internet). I can't download it on YouTube or Facebook either, but see me—I will hand you a copy. I hand out “friendly copies” for donations (to my community projects) each time there is a chance. Besides the songs that I wrote with my band, Duane's Poetry—I also wrote a lot of songs with my bestfriend Duwi when we were very young, like 13 or 14 years old. Then some more with other friends in so many places—songs that I left on cassette tapes, lead sheets, notebooks (with scribbled music ledgers and stuff), and memories of those who heard them.

     Meantime, when I was in New York, “Awit kay Clarita,” an ode/sonata behind kneading strings and piano solo break about a slain tribal amazon in the Cordilleras back home, was interpreted by an Alvin Ailey dancer/teacher, Elena Colmenares, in an art exhibition opening in Soho's Puffin Gallery. The master copy was co-arranged with my best buddy Rolly Melegrito, Pearlsha Abubakar and the late Mike Basilio (who engineered the recording). I rearranged “Pagano,” a statement vis a vis traditional/conventional religion and tribal faith, into a multi-percussion interplay and choral voices. “Mutya,” inspired by a Filipino poet Romulo Sandoval who died of cancer at 40, about the beauty of poetry in the backdrop of a cruel world, was sung by a Columbia Univ student as “gift” to the late Senator (and presidential hopeful) Raul Roco and his wife upon their visit in Manhattan in 2000. “Yakap” (“Embrace”), written with Pearlsha, was about a mother's endearing, undying love for her child.
     I learned that a very young group in Manila wants to record an old blues-rock broadside that I wrote with Rolly and Kai Conlu-Brondial, “Praise The Lord, I am Cool,” in reference to the Pope's visit in Manila that time. Then there's the old blues howler, “Mama, Don't Let Your Children Grow Up to be Politicians,” a piece that me and Rolly wrote for our little poetry/blues side-project, “Lightning Joe and The Bluesman.” The sad but closure-tinged “Looking for my Comrades” was my send-off song as I prepare to fly to New York City on my 38th birthday, it's about the surreal confusion of party/ideological-line ruin following the fall of the dictatorship, that we were still “fighting” after the so-called revolution. “May Habilin ang Uhay” (“The Rice Sheaves' Message”) was an eligy to the protesting farmers who were shot at and perished in front of the presidential palace in early `90s. “My Daughter is Missing” talks about a summarily-executed or “salvaged” young activist, a desaparecido...
Oh, that song, “Ode to the Beauty Queen,” written with Ray Nunez, with the lines, “Now that you have a most desirable body / Sure bet to boost tourism in any country / And as computers check your vital stat / Tabloids scrutinize your most private parts... / Go on fair muse, sell that toothpaste smile / Neon gods whistle as you strut down desolated isles / And what have you got inside that lovely swimsuit / Have you traded your stars to a sequined fruit... / There goes your stairway, stairway to heaven / All you have to do is get a perfect ten.” Oh yes, at that early age, although I always watched beauty pageants with my four sisters and mom and aunts, I never agreed that awesome shapes and beautiful faces define “beauty” in a woman. And my takes on love as a young man, “”Love is a Poison,” is warm song, written with Kai, based on The Little Prince and The Fox. Then a “harana” (serenade) that I'd like to rearrange and record one of these days, composed with Rolly, “Hindi Ito Panaginip” (“This Is Not a Dream,” that love is not idealized—but realized).
     To think that, these are just little fraction of the many songs that I wrote in the past... What about my poems, plays, unproduced screenplays? There are so many to catch up on, retrieve and resurrect, while my little brain keeps on chugging along everyday, every minute, every second—even in my night dreams. It's not over until it is over, you reckon?

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