Music in the Form of Celebration, Memories and Bittersweet Farewells

Music comes in diverse forms, and this month’s local music scene round-up via Music Roll further illustrates the versatility of music.

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We start with PhilPop 2016’s big bash celebration of Filipino musicality; the celebrated dream collaborations between Ely Buendia and Itchyworms in “Pariwara”; the indie music taking charge of this year’s first ever Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino; to memories worth recalling in Clara Benin’s songs while we wait for her return; in the never-ending cycle of love, denial, separation and finding new hope all together in new singles of Rico Blanco and Arnold Reyes; and for the ability to create free music in Josephine’s story and The Benchboys’ reunion for one last time.

Let’s always celebrate music in all its forms, with the old and new, with the happy and sad, with beginnings and farewells, but most of all for all its good and enduring memories.

Of freedom and challenges in ‘Dirty Old Musical’ and ‘Ako Si Josephine’

Yeng Constantino must be up in the air this year, with stints in Showtime’s “Tawag ng Tanghalan”, upcoming show Divas Live, newly launched “Pinoy Boyband Superstar” to “Ako Si Josephine – A Musical Featuring The Music of Yeng Constantino”.

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“Excited ako kasi everyone involved in the production ay excellent. I’m sure lahat sila ay ibibigay nila ang puso nila sa proyektong ito. Sobrang touched talaga ako, so happy that my songs ay nabigyan ng pansin sa ganitong paraan. Bilang manunulat, ang mabigyan ng ganitong pagkakataon parang iba ‘yung feeling,” says Yeng in an interview.

It centers around Josephine (Via Antonio), a songwriter wanting of freedom to create music out of the usual Happy Youthful Purposeful music dominant in their kingdom as propagated by the ruler Monotomia (Jon Santos/Ricci Chan). Preview of “Ako Si Josephine” from the press conference, video below by Cornerstone Entertainment Inc.

The show, written by Liza Magtoto, direction by Maribel Legarda and musical direction by Myke Salomon runs at the PETA Theater Center in New Manila, Quezon City from September 8 to October 9. Tickets are available via TicketWorld. The production is from ABS-CBN and Cornerstone Entertainment and the makers of “Rak of Aegis.”

In Spotlight Artists Centre’s production, the “Dirty Old Musical” featuring a powerhouse cast of the finest theater and film actors of the industry – Robert Seña, John Arcilla, Nonie Buencamino, Michael Williams and Ricky Davao; we see “The Bench Boys”, a male group band in the 1980s who had a one-time big hit before quickly disbanding due to personal differences.

Now forced to be together again in a one-time concert for an ailing member, they are faced with the reality of the music industry and more of the reality of their personal lives. Think of the “Vagina Monologues” with women in their own unique troubles in life and career, this time it’s the men that will tell their personal struggles and stories.

The story of The Benchboys unfolds in OPM hit songs “Paano,” “Kayganda ng Ating Musika,” “Nakapagtataka,” Hagibis Medley (“Babae,” “Bikining Itim,” at “Legs”), “Mag Exercise Tayo Tuwing Umaga,” ”Kastilyong Buhangin,” “Ayoko Na sa ‘Yo,” ‘Pag Tumatagal Lalong Tumitibay, “Himig Natin,” “Sana,” Nais Ko,” “Babaero,” “Pasumpa-sumpa Ka Pa,” “Kung Liligaya Ka,” “Balatkayo” at “Farewell.” Additional original songs are “Tunay Na Kaibigan (Lyrics by Robert Seña/Music by Myke Salomon), “Kaibigang Tapat (Music & Lyrics by Gary Granada), and “Saludo” ((Music by Gary Granada/Lyrics by Gary Granada & Robert Seña).

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Dirty Old Musical relevantly highlights real-time challenges of men in music, of how temporary this industry is, of how personal differences sometimes break the drive among passionate people and how after a long time decide to bring back the tune once again for the welfare of the other and be faced with the bittersweet truth of music and performing.

In Photos: A documentation of Dirty Old Musical’s first night at the Music Museum:

Indie sweetheart Clara Benin says goodbye to music for now

Indie singer-songwriter Clara Benin leaves the music scene  recently with memories to remember for the fans when she staged her first two-night show by Stages Sessions at the Teatrino, titled “Coming Home: A Clara Benin Concert.”

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From her humble beginnings singing covers of popular songs in coffee shops, this year is definitely a year to remember for the singing sweetheart. From coming out with her self-penned songs with two EPs, to performing in one of the biggest music festivals alongside international acts at the Paradise IMF to her first full-fledged sold-out show at the Teatrino, Clara has more to bring in the music scene and wonderful opportunities await her in the industry.

With her own unique brand of coffee shop music, the 22-year-old performer brings to the live audience her original songs painstakingly crafted through the years and are included in her debut EP “Human Eyes” and follow-up “Riverchild” in her Coming Home show to extend her appreciation to the support she’s been receiving from the public, as well as a temporary farewell. For her, this is a gift she could not have made in any other form.

Fans can always come back to the day when she headlined her show with her opening sons “Human Eyes,” “Smile,” “Closure,” “Be My Thrill,” and another unreleased songs “Remember You” and “Wine,” “Kingdom Come,” her duet with father and Side A bassist Joey Benin “Momentary”, another unreleased song, and last song “Dust.” Concert footages above courtesy of M x Channel.

Check out “Coming Home: A Clara Benin Concert” photo set below:

Itchyworms has all the reasons to celebrate

Itchyworms must be reveling this year with their PhilPop winning song “Di Na Muli” and earlier this year with the Himig Handog best song “Dalawang Letra” and most recently their dream collaborative song “Pariwara” with no other than Ely Buendia. The song is already available starting August 1.

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Pariwara is an ensemble combination of the group’s and the rock icon’s innate songwriting virtuosity with its history stemming from the early 2000s when Ely Buendia was still busy with the Eraserheads until Ely requested contribution from the group for the debut release “Fair Tales” of Domino and eventually sparking the idea from the band for another collaboration. And that’s when Pariwara came into the picture, something that been with Ely through the years but remains out of public sight. BTS video below courtesy of RadioRepublicPH.

From then on, Ely and the Itchyworms whipped up more lyrics, new bridge up to its final arrangement to come up with what is Pariwara today. It’s been a long time coming reveals Jugs as he explains how he has consistently bugged Ely about it in three years. Ely on one hand also tells that the song is some encouragement for the youth of today, which he himself considers an important message to when he was younger.

PhilPop 2016 at one of its finest years

This year’s edition of PhilPop 2016 is truly one of its best years, with 12 finalists from both industry veterans and newcomers with diverse genres that bring new round of excitement to OPM.

Rounding up the 12 finalists are the poetic and ethical tune “Tinatangi” by Paulo and Miguel Guico (interpreted by Cookie Chua/Bayang Barrios), the good vibes “Binibini sa MRT” by Johann Garcia (The Juans), the alluring tune “Lahat” by Soc Villanueva (Jason Dy), the Pentatonix-like sound of “Stars Are Aligned” by JC Jose (Acapellago), the inspiring and cool to the ears “Sintunado” by Jeroel Maranan (Nyoy Volante), the club dance “Friday Night” by Karl Guarano, the addictively upbeat “Dumadagundong” by Brian Cua/Mike Villegas (Yassi Pressman), the Meghan Trainor inspired “Baliw sa Ex Boyfriend Ko” by Joan Da (Sugar ‘N Spice), the soundrack-worthy “Nobody But You” by Keiko Necessario (Monica Cuenco), the old school “Di Na Muli” by Jazz Nicolas and Wally Acoloca (Itchyworms), the jamming “Pabili Po” by Aikee Aplacador (Banda ni Kleggy), and the indie-acoustic “Kahon” by Ramiro Mataru.

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The Orlina trophy is awarded to Di Na Muli for its radio-friendly sound and well-thought-out lyrics that make you feel like listening to old school “tugtugan ng banda” back in early 2000s. Official music video below by VIVA Records.

Bagging the 2nd place is Lahat known for its attractive RnB-infusion and The Weeknd-flavored melody that also took home Maynilad People’s Choice Award and 3rd place to Tinatangi for its distinctly Pinoy sound as well as the PLDT-Smart Best Music Video.

1st Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino: The celebration of OPM

With the first-ever Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino, Original Pilipino Music (OPM) is truly celebrated at its finest, from its grand kick-off of the wonderful combination of exquisite Filipino talents as singers, performers and songwriters at this year’s PhilPop 2016; mall and bar events in the metro aptly categorized as Ligaya: Galak sa Musika, Kubli, Alapaap, Sibol: Makabagong Lasa, Gunita: Ipagdiwang Ang Ating Musika, Hiraya: Kasalukuyan at Kinabukasan, Hibang: Lunod sa Kasiyahan; to its week-long culmination at “Sagana: Isang Himig, Iba’t Ibang Tinig” held at the Q.C. Memorial Circle.

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This year’s spotlight takes a different turn from the usual. We all know how the local OPM is dominated by mainstream music but there’s something different and unique with what independent music brings to the table. The indies are definitely worthy headliners for the very first Linggo ng Musikang Pilipinno.

In honor of the independent scene’s hardwork and dedication despite the challengers, the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit finds it fitting to give them this recognition all throughout the whole week  to showcase promising acts and astounding performances from Ang Bandang Shirley, Autotelic, Banna Harbera, Bennybunnyband, Between Archery & Olympic, Brisom Fools & Foes, Ian Penn, Jensen & The Flips, MilesExperience, The Modern Playground, Moonwlk, Oswald Sleeps Tonight, Paranoid City, The Purplechickens, Shutter LIFE, Sud, and There’s ERA!.

In Photos: “SIBOL: Makabagong Lasa” held last July 28, 2016 at Teatrino featured performances of Banna Harbera, Ian Penn, Mellow Submarine, Bennybunnyband, Ang Bandang Shirley and Jensen and The Flips. Check out more happenings on this LINK, video courtesy of OPM.

Fresh ‘hugot’ tunes in new singles by Rico Blanco and Arnold Reyes

Pinoy music fans just love “hugot” songs, those sad melodies that bring them back to those happy but bittersweet memories of that love that was lost in the tide of times. With that, there’s more hugot to recent releases from music maestro Rico Blanco and award-winning theater actor/singer-songwriter Arnold Reyes.

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In Rico Blanco’s newest album titled “Dating Gawi”, released late last year under Universal Records comes the song “Wag Mong Aminin” with its music video starring Ramon Bautista and Dianne Medina that talks about that phase in a relationship called falling out of love and the hurtful passage of denial before acceptance. Watch the MV showcasing different troublesome situations and combined with Rico’s sentimental vocals that are sure to spark some old memories in your heart and will make you cry buckets like how “The Notebook” did with you in the movies. Video by UniversalRecPH.

If Wag Mong Aminin centers around painful separations, Arnold Reyes’ first dabble in singing with new single titled “Sanay May Forever” is the hopeful and positive kind that tells the story of love that’s unwavering and withstands the test of times. And even if some love may be lost, it encourages listeners a new spring of hope to find a new chance at love again. Despite its hugot beginnings, it showcases the song in a freshly-lighthearted tone.

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Support the songs and respective albums in various music platforms: iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Deezer, CD Baby, Spotify, and music bars, as well as their official social media pages: Sana May Forever fan page on Facebook, @sanamayforever on Instagram, facebook.com/ricoblanconews, and @ricoblanco on Twitter.