For days after that I was listening to their songs on loop, even my Singaporean colleague who used to sit beside my cubicle noticed how much wailing blasted from my speakers.
At that time it was the only way for me to reconnect with home.
For the past two months I've caught my self watching loads of Lea Salonga, Regine, and even freaking Charice on Youtube. I've even caught a few performances of those crappy Sunday wailing-fest called ASAP and SOP. I've spent hours and hours poring over these clips especially late in the evening when I'm free to turn the volume to max. Don't ask me if I do dare sing with Regine, which I might actually have. Hihihi.
If there's any thing I missed about the Las Islas Filipinas it has to be our music. My BKK-based Pinoy friends and I were talking about this recently and we all agreed that we do take music seriously back home.
Not that any one of us was trained to sing but we know what is good singing and what is not. It's easy for us to know when a song is sung from the heart. You can tell that the singer is telling you a story. You feel it in your gut. You can feel the passion.
Take for example this medley of George Canseco songs by Regine. [Ok, I'm not exactly a big fan of the girl, but she can sing... uhmmm, albeit she's irritating most of the time.] This nine-minute clip is composed of Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, Kung Ako'y Iiwan Mo, and Ngayon at Kailanman.
I love the lyrics of Ngayon at Kailanman, which is roughly translated into Now and Forever. The song is a staple in most Pinoy weddings.
Sa bawat araw ang pag-ibig ko sa ‘yo liyag
Lalong tumatamis, tumitingkad
Bawat kahapon ay daig nitong bawat ngayon
Na daig ng bawat bukas
The poetry of the song is just astounding. I attempted to translate to English the above segment of the lyrics but I totally ran out of words trying to give justice to the beauty of the original.
But how do you exactly translate Filipino songs without losing its essence? How do you translate for instance Langis at Tubig without making it sound like a commercial for Petron and MWSS? Or how about Kastilyong Buhangin without making it sound like an ad for a resort in Boracay? Haggard, di ba?
Ok, for those who are into English songs by Filipino composers, here's a nine-minute sample of Ryan Cayabyab's Sometime, Somewhere, How Can I and Now That You're Gone from the same Regine concert (kahit sumabit sya sa pinakadulo).
Don't you just love how she sang Now That You're Gone [4:00]? Such emotions! Since I discovered this clip I've been listening to it over and over again and the song never fails to enthrall me. It just makes me want to cry every time. I swear!
Recently, a Vietnamese friend told me that he used to work with a Filipino who goes home during lunch-time everyday to: 1) lafang and 2) sing karaoke using his Magic Sing that he brought all the way from Manille to Saigon. He did that every freaking day otherwise he would appear listless in the afternoon. How haggard can that be, aber?
So where did we actually get our passion for music? I've wondered about that my self. But we all grew up surrounded by music anyway: from the noisy neighbor who sings Frank Sinatra day in and day out to the blasting music in the jeepneys that we ride to school everyday.
Also, didn't our parents put us on top of a table during family parties and coerced us to sing? Well my parents certainly did. And I remember always singing something from Annie when I was about five. I think the song is Tomorrow. Now please don't wonder why I turned gay, di ba?
Anyway, the point is, we grow up in this culture infused with music. There's never an occasion not worth singing for, even funerals, which have some of the most haunting and poetic songs in memory. Even if we are brought to distant lands, we always find ourselves armed with one Magic Sing microphone, crooning through life's pains and joys. How can you exactly imagine Pinoys without music?