Gary and Gyud Visayan music

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star

The tale of how singer-composer Gary Granada came to record his new album Gyud is most disheartening for those concerned with the erosion of Filipino culture amidst the continuous influx of foreign influences. The Metropop Music Festival grand prize winner for Salamat Musika and second placer for Kahit Konti noticed that nobody seems to know Visayan songs anymore. He would sing a line or two during his performances in the South and see blank faces staring back at him.

He became more concerned after he got to talk to a radio station manager in Davao. Why is it that they do not play Visayan songs anymore? The answer he got was, they don’t because their playlist is decided by the main office in Manila. So what they play are mostly OPM songs and a lot of foreign releases. And that means American Top 40, K-Pop or anything considered cool or trendy from abroad. Granada was heartbroken. The songs that his father taught him and that he grew up singing in talent shows were dying and he had to do something to stop it. And that was when the idea for Gyud was born.

Gyud is a Visayan expression that can mean indeed in English. Perhaps what Gary wants to say with this title, is that Gyud, Visayan songs exist. Gyud, these are really good and deserve to be heard. And Gyud, somebody had better start putting these on record before they get lost forever.

Maybe people will start singing them and teaching them to their kids. Then perhaps Gyud will help bring back that long ago time when there was a thriving Visayan music industry and when big name stars like Pilita Corrales and Max Surban can record entire albums in Cebuano and dominate the hit charts.

Those are big dreams and the idea of being able to save Cebuano music gets really overpowering when you think of what is actually happening in Manila. Why, Filipino music is literally gasping for air, or maybe I should say, airing out here. But anyway, a life-saving step no matter how small or seemingly futile might just be what Filipinos need to become interested again in music that is their very own.

Thanks to help from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, which I was happy to find out also loved Gyud, Gary was able to record the music of Gyud, a 20 Piece Piano and Voice Salute to 20th Century Cebuano Classics, arranged for piano and voice and also performed by Granada himself with Valerie Villanueva on the piano.

Included are Bukidnon; Luha sa Kalipay/ Buhi sa Kanunay; Sa Lungsod sa Buenavista/ Ang Bol-anon; Dahong Laya; Bulan; Lagkaw; Harana/ Ang Gugmang Gibati Ko; Kahibulongan; Pobreng Alindahaw; Sakayanon (Krutsay!); Carmela/ Pasayloa ug Hikalimti; Usahay/ Ikaw ang Langit Ko; Ikaduhang Bathala/ Lusay/ Usa Ka Higayon; Cebuano folk songs like Tong Tong Tong Pakitong Kitong, Banag and Si Pilimon, Si Pilimon/ Kamingaw sa Payag/ Gimingaw Ako/ Matud Nila; Rosas Pandan; Luyong Bungtod/ Buta; and a medley of Cebuano Christmas carols.

Still on the preservation and I must say also propagation of Filipino music. Gary is, incidentally, one of the finalists in the First Philippine Popular Music Festival for his bittersweet song about his country, Minsa’y May Isang Bansa

Also in the running are Timothy Anjello Alfaro, Himig Ng Panahon; Trina Belamide, Bigtime; Noah Zuñiga Cabalquinto, Dulo Ng Dila; John Kennard Eleazar Faraon, Slowdancing; James B. Leyte and Jezreel de Oca, Brown; Edwin Marollano, Kesa; Kristofferson Melecio, Piso; Keiko Necesario, 3:00 am; Byron Ricamara, Takusa; Ronaldo Sorioso, Tayo Tayo Lang; Soc Villanueva, Kontrabida; Michael Angelo Villegas, Negastar; and KarI Vincent Viluga, Bawat Hakbang.

These songs bested the rest of the record breaking 3,000 entries by both amateur and professional songwriters. The top winning entry will receive P1M in cash while the next two runners-up will each receive P500,000 and P250,000, respectively. A People’s Choice award will also be given to the most popular entry. This one will be decided by text votes.

 The finalists will be showcased in the final performance and competition that will be held on July 14 at the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. Good luck to all the finalists. The first Metro Manila Popular Music Festival in 1978 helped discover a lot of new talents and many of today’s classics. Maybe the Philpop will do the same and this may indeed be the beginning of a new golden age for Filipino music.












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