Gary Granada writes musical textbook
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - May 24, 2013 - 12:00am

Gary Granada’s accomplishments are legion. Known primarily as a poet and pop/folk music artist, the man is actually a successful writer of a lot of things, a number of them I am sure you will find quite surprising.

Foremost among these is Granada as the much- awarded composer. He is the creator of such memorable tunes as Salamat Musika, Kahit Konti, Mabuti Pa Sila, Saranggola Sa Ulan, Nariyan Ka, Dakilang May Likha, Pag-ibig Lang, Bahay, Hanggang Kailan Hanggang Saan, Ang Aking Kubo, Holdap, Tulad Ng Dati and many others.

The prolific Gary has also written a lot of commercial jingles that later became popular songs like Kapag Nananalo/ Natalo Ang Ginebra, Iba Na Ang Pinoy, Alay Mo Buhay Ko, Bangon Na, Mag-impok Sa Bangko, Lakbayin Ang Pilipinas and Tagumpay Nating Lahat. He wrote both the music and the libretto for the musicals UP Naming Mahal and Lean, based on the life story of the young slain activist Lean Alejandro. He has also written songs for the movies, like Emir and Bunso.

Unknown to many, what Gary considers the most fulfilling time of his professional life was his stint as a public school teacher. He taught a masteral subject, Development Communications at the University of the Philippines and College Algebra at the UP Los Baños. And he has also published books. His lectures are compiled in a volume titled Introduction to Hierarchism, a topic he feels strongly about. There is also A Syllabus for Peace Education written as a companion to the al- bum Children’s Songs for Peace Education. And then a few months ago, he came up with Mga Awit na magagamit sa pagtalakay ng Panglipunang Aralin or MAPA for short.

MAPA 1, take note there is a 1 because Gary obviously intends to write a second volume, is aimed at Kasaysayan, Sibika, Literatura and Musika subjects in schools. Written in English and Pilipino, the book is made up of short essays that discuss a lot of topics. Granada expounds on In- digenous Peoples, Federalism, Freedom, Economic Development, Feminism, Colonialism, Flat Noses, The Lord’s Prayer, even the beginnings of man and of the Philippines and other subjects in a light, ram- bling conversational tone. A suggested study guide that can be adjusted to fit students of high school or college or masteral levels come after each topic.

Holding the package together is Huntahan, an imaginary conversation with a student wherein the artist talks about his life and many other things. And then there are his songs. The idea for MAPA 1 actually came about because of the many requests that Gary keeps getting from teachers for guitar chords of his songs. So he thought it might be nice to publish his songs with the chords in a book. Then he thought, it would be good to put in some thoughts about his creative processes and his life as an often, underpaid, put upon songwriter. After that he decided he might as well go all the way. Why not throw in some essays and make it into a textbook. And that was how MAPA 1 was born.

Aside from the lyrics with guitar chords in the book, MAPA 1 also comes with a CD of Gary Granada songs performed by various artists at no additional cost. The 21-cut album includes Kababai- han by Bayang Barrios; Sana’y Di Ka Masanay and Nasa Pagkilos by Noel Cabangon; Sa Dulang Ng Ama by Lani Misalucha; Sambayanan by Bayang, Cooky Chua, Joey Ayala and Cabangon; plus Dam, Paligid, Puhunan, Pedrong Pako, Ang Aking Kubo, Dakilang May Likha, Boto Ng Pagbabago, Kung Alam Mo Lang Violy, Balon, Kapag Sinabi Ko Sa ‘yo and others per- formed by Gary himself.

MAPA 1 is now available in the textbooks section of National Book Store for only P400. Those who wish to purchase several copies for use in schools can call 0917-5851111 to order. Gary’s other books though are available for free in his website. Just go to and download all you want. You will find that also free to download are selected Granada songs and their backing tracks.

So why is Gary giving away his books and songs in the Internet when paid downloads is now a norm in the music business? The essay Why Some Songs in this Site are Freely Downloadable in MAPA 1 gives the reason why. He concludes the piece with this short answer. The songs are not really downloadable for free. He is simply charging you zero pesos. Now you know where Gary’s sympathies lie. Find out more about him in the book and in his music and learn a lot of new things, too.

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