Monday, November 30, 2009

Musical 'Sino ka ba Jose Rizal' - Gary Granada Version

We were rummaging through our audio CD collection the other day. Out popped two double-disc Gary Granada albums, this one on Jose Rizal and the other on Lean Alejandro.

'Sino Ka Ba Jose Rizal' was a commissioned work with the original libretto by Nonoy Gallardo, but Granada's music was not the one used when it was staged more than 10 years ago by Music Theatre Philippines. Gallardo composed the music for that production, which had Ogie Alcasid as JP Rizal.

We were not able to see that staging, but we've watched YouTube videos of some of the songs like Di Na Nakapagpaalam and Ultimo Adios.

We like Granada's melody for those two songs--in fact, for the whole libretto--a bit folksy and pop, warm and light, thus easy to remember and hum or sing. There's humor too like in Que Bobo Bobo, a take on the hero's big head when he was a kid, and plenty of sentimental expressions such as in Anong Uring Pagsinta and Anong Uring Kalayaan?

For those who'd like to check what we're saying here, this version is downloadable for free from the composer's website,%20A%20Musical.htm (all in all 36 songs, MP3, 97MB). The lyrics can also be printed out for the sing-along.

"May I," wrote Gary Granada, "dedicate this little work to a town called Maco [Davao del Sur in Compostela Valley] where I was born and raised (though not vertically) not through formal piano lessons (for I have yet to learn how to read music) but on affirmations from family, friends and teachers in a joyous community. There, for six months, I worked on the songs of this musical as a commissioned professional, but what truly sustained my spirit was the very same candid folksy affection of a lively people in a small place with a big river and a bigger heart that can only be Maco, ever my home."

Beautiful musical rendition of Rizal's life here, and as we sing in chorus with Bayang Barrios, Noel Cabangon, Lani Misalucha, and Gary Granada himself, it would be nice to ponder, in the context of our present political time and clime, sino ka nga ba, Jose Rizal, sa aming mga Pinoy?

Note: Gary has reached 50. From his webpage, he says it's time for him to retire from his musical career. He is offering a good-bye gift--a free downloadable album of 2009 compositions from his webpage His Barangay Ginebra will always be part of Pinoy pop music history!

He is married to a townmate Susan Fernandez. Needless to say, he is always welcome to San Narciso, Zambales during his break from his new career. A few years ago, Timpuyog Zambales brought him went there once for an environmental concert with Bayang Barrios.

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