Abby Clutario willing to teach how to play the Chapman Stick

Bot Glorioso - The Philippine Star
Abby Clutario willing to teach how to play the Chapman Stick
AltG Records artist Abby Clutario cannot be thankful enough for the opportunity to do a revival of Chichi Wo Motomete, the closing theme song of Voltes V, which she musically arranged with the Chapman Stick.

Being among the only few musicians in the country who are adept at using the Chapman Stick, singer-songwriter Abby Clutario is more than willing to teach how to play the musical instrument and do tutorial videos via her social media platforms.

The Chapman Stick, according to GuitarWorld, is a 10-string musical instrument developed and devised by Emmett Chapman in the early ‘70s. A member of the guitar family, it is described as having the appearance of a large fretboard with five bass strings and five melody strings, and is designed to be played upright.

Abby owns a Chapman Stick, which she purchased more than a decade ago in a music forum.

“I’ve been into (playing the) piano since I was young but I instantly fell in love with its sound the first time I heard it being played. Then, it so happened that someone from a music forum was selling a Chapman Stick, and so, I bought it from there since it’s not available here in the country. After that, inaral ko ito for more than a decade ago,” shared Abby, who graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Music, major in Choral Conducting.

Since then, the former indie artist would always bring the musical instrument to performances and gigs with her band Fuseboxx. She, in a way, has brought exposure to an instrument that can be considered as still “unknown” to Pinoy music fans.

A number of her music videos also showed her using the Chapman Stick, which caught the interest of young musicians and music enthusiasts in how to play the Stick.

“Until now, there are still many (netizens) who would ask what kind of instrument the Stick is every time they came across my video content on my social media. There were so many who showed their interest. May mga nagtatanong, ‘Paano po ba ‘yan? Puwede n’yo po ba akong turuan?” she said. “Many are not familiar with it yet kaya ako todo lang ang pag-sagot ko kung ano ito and how to play it.”

Abby admitted it has become part of her plans to do tutorial videos so that she can better share things about the electric stringed instrument.

“I’ve never yet seen a lot of musicians here who play it and that perhaps is why many are showing interest to learn it. And probably if they can own one, I’m willing to teach them,” she shared.

She added that the Chapman Stick is not readily available in any music store in the Philippines at present. It can only be purchased by placing an order in the US.

“Actually, a few years back I was able to talk to its inventor when he was still alive. I asked if there was a chance for me to bring it (the brand) here in the Philippines so that more (people) could get to explore and play it,” she recalled.

“I was told that as long as there’s a physical shop, then they can provide along with the instructional materials. But at that time, I still did not have enough funds for it because you need to be financially ready (for the business). Hopefully, it will happen kahit wala na siya,” said of the inventor who passed away in 2021 at the age of 85.

Abby has been using the Chapman Stick as musical accompaniment in most of her songs. In fact, the AltG recording artist offers a poignant rendition of Chichi Wo Motomete from Voltes V that is musically arranged with the Stick.

Chichi Wo Motomete is a popular Japanese song that served as the closing theme song of the classic animé series Voltes V. Composed by Asei Kobayashi/Akira Aoi and performed by Ichiro Mizuki, Chichi Wo Motomete was first used in 1977 and it quickly became an iconic anthem associated with the show.

In 2020, Abby came up with a video of her cover version of the Japanese track, which quickly gained attention from Voltes V fans and music-loving netizens.

She said, “It was the same video that Sir Kedy (Sanchez, AltG Records artist and repertoire manager/in-house producer) submitted to get a license (for the song). Perhaps, they checked if I pronounced the (Japanese) lyrics correctly.

“And since we all know that the original closing theme song is sung by a male, I tweaked it a bit to fit my voice. Thankfully, they gave the go-signal and here we are now ready to release it. I’m so overwhelmed and of course, grateful to AltG Records for this opportunity.”

She didn’t deny that giving a new flavor to Chichi Wo Motomete was truly challenging. It was a must for Abby to understand first what the song is all about to be able to express it with the right emotion.

“Of course, I was not familiar with the Japanese language so I really had to immerse myself para makuha ko as close as possible doon sa original. And then the music arrangement was my secondary concern. Whenever I do a song — whether original or cover — I always arrange it according to the capability of the artist,” she said.

Chichi Wo Motomete is a song that speaks about the longing of a son for his father. “It’s about a man searching for his father, expressing his love for him kaya ginawa kong ballad kasi ganoon s’ya — a love song for his father,” concluded Abby.

(Abby’s version of Chichi Wo Motomete is now available on Apple Music, Spotify and other digital music platforms. Music fans can also request to play the song on GMA Network’s FM radio station Barangay LS.)

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