Tanog Bikol: Musika asin Literatura

4k Barrel at Tanog Bikol
Photo: Bicol Standard

Bikol music has definitely moved on from folk song “Sarong Banggi” and the Bikol chacha, any outsider would readily conclude after attending Tanog Bikol: Musika asin Literatura.

A variety and wide range of original Bikol songs, from the kundiman to a bawdy song, to folk, rock, slow rock, pop, to reggae and rap were performed in Tanog Bikol: Musika asin Literatura last Saturday, Feb. 10, in Naga City. The Bikol music makers showcased their talents both in music composition and performance in this event subsidized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA),

Organized by composer Romulo Prado Jr. with the assistance of broadcaster Don Amador who served as emcee, three individual musicians and seven groups presented an assortment of music/ literary work in this first ever celebration of music makers in Bikol’s celebration of National Arts Month, Tagbo 2018.

The proud Nagueños of 4k Barrel fired the first salvo with their hit songs “Pungaw ako Saimo” and “Proud Ako (Magin Nagueño),” plus a new rendition of Prado’s tribute to the river “Salog Naga.”

Finalists in the 2017 Bicol Music Festival Reloaded of radio station BBS also performed their pieces. Ivy Temporal belted out the first prize winner “Kugos,” with lyrics by Imelda Nardo and music by James Reburiano. Balatan rap artist John Benedict ‘Trykz’ Mangente sang “Paralawod” reggae style about the life of fisherfolk in his hometown, and rapped “Dayaday sa Puso,”a tribute to fallen military and police.

Moi Fernandez sang a drinkers’ bawdy song, “Ulod,” in a paradoxically operatic manner, inviting laughter from the audience.

Up-and-coming singer-composer Ajan Dolorical sang his Rinconada song “Kin Ako Migraan” and the all-instrumental rock piece “Capricorn” along with Harvey Jake Pacis on bass guitar and Stib Briones as percussionist of their band, The Chopping Board.

Joey Santiago did a far throwback to two Bikol angsty kundiman, one of them “Mga Bangging Bulanon,” now unfamiliar to the present generation. Santiago accompanied his songs on the guitar, with the added flair of Fernandez’s violin accompaniment.

Movie and drama scorer Jireh Pasano of Albay performed his musical rendition of poems by National Book Awards winner Victor Dennis Nierva, “Antisipasyon” and “May mga Pugot na Payo sa Luwas kan Bintana,” as well as Pasano’s own composition, “Mayô.” Jennelyn Bujo and Ken Romero accompanied by Khryss Arañas on the guitar rendered two more songs by Pasano from the river advocacy play “Mga Aninipot sa Tahaw kan Salog,” the lovers’ serenade and “Kita an mga Aninipot,” lyrics by Sari Saysay.

Noyz Dotillos did a one-man act in singing the rhythmic “Kaidto asin Ngonyan” comparing the ways of the new to the past generation, and his love song “Hinahanap Ko.”

An original Spoken Word feature, well applauded by the audience, was performed by Melissa Basmayor, “Kun gusto mo maging maogma” which ended in a timely homage to cultural workers.

Other numbers were the slow rock pieces of Zultanite, “Pangako” composed by Tel Santiano, and “Minsan” by the group’s lead guitarist James Allen Sandagon. The other members of the rock band, which came all the way from Libmanan for the event, are Frederick San Andres, vocalist; Sonny Prado, rhythm guitarist; Hans David Sandagon, bass guitarist; Rymer Jann Meralpis, keyboardist; and Arnulfo Samonte Jr., drummer.

To cap the event, Wowie Nabua sang an acoustic version of the classic “Boses ni Lolo” by Henry Turalde accompanied by Jojo Peconcillo on the guitar, and “Bawal na Pagkamoot.” The band Siglo ni Abiel with Abiel Candelaria as vocalist, Jayson San Vicente as guitarist, Nora Navarette as drummer, and Loi Prado as bassist sang rock songs “Sako Saimo Mapuon” and “Aram na.”

Common themes of the songs are love, including love of mother, social critique, the ecology, and pride in being Bikolnon. Allusions to folk songs Si Nanay si Tatay and Sarong Banggi were notable in some of the lyrics.

Tanog Bikol: Musika asin Literatura is part of the continuing effort of local music workers to arrive at a distinctive “Bikol Sound” via an increase in the production and preservation of original Bikol music. The concert was held at the Burabod Grill on Dayangdang Street in Naga City and was supported by the visual artists of Art Market 4400 who sold their wares at the venue. – Doods M. Santos, with Muloi Prado