OPM legend Heber Bartolome, pumanaw na

OPM legend Heber Bartolome, pumanaw na

Pumanaw na ang Filipino folk music legend na si Heber Bartolome sa edad na 73 nitong Lunes.

“Nawalan siya ng pulso kaya dinala sa Veterans (Memorial Medical Center),” Kwento ng kapatid nito na si Jesse.

Ayon pa kay Jesse, may iniinda ng prostate stone sa loob ng isang taon ang OPM Icon bago pa ito pumanaw.

“Biglaan, masaya pa kami nung birthday niya eh … noong nakaraang Tuesday [November 9],” patuloy na kwento nito.

Si Bartolome, mas kilala sa tawag na Ka Heber, ay isang Filipino folk singer at songwriter, binuo nito ang bandang Banyuhay na isinunod sa pangalan ng isang literary magazine kasama ang kanyang kapatid na si Jesse at Levi sa kasagsagan ng martial law noong 1972 at nakilala sa mga awiting tulad ng “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy,” “Pasahero,” “Almusal,” “Karaniwang Tao,” at “Inutil Na Gising”.

Ipinanganak at lumaki sa Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, bata palang ay naging parte na ng buhay ni Ka Heber ang musika. Nagtapos si Bartoloma ng Fine Arts sa University of the Philippines noon 1973. Dito, naging m Miyembro siya ng ROTC Band at University of the Philippines Diliman Concert Chorus kung saan siya nagtapos ng Fine Arts noong 1973.

Kanya ring itinatag ang UP Astrological Society na hindi ka maiiwasang mabati ng “What’s your sign?”.

Naging editor din si Bartolome sa Pilipino Section ng Philippine Collegian– opisyal na student publication ng University of the Philippines.

Bukod sa paggawa ng awitin, hindi maiaakila na magaling din sa larangan ng pagguhit ang OPM Icon. Isa sa huli nitong mixed media painting na “Ang Bayan” ay naging parte ng Ortigas Art Festival noong 2020. Ang nasabing obra ay nagkakahalaga ng 20 million pesos ay tumatalakay sa pinagsama-samang pagsubok ng Pinoy laban sa injustice at abuse.

Nagturo rin ng Filipino Literature ni Ka Heber mula 1981 hanggang 1984.

Wala pang detalye sa magiging burial nito, pero ayon sa kapatid ng Icon, maaari itong makita ng publiko dahil hindi ito pumanaw sanhi ng COVID-19. DZUP

UP children’s choir celebrates 50 years with song of hope

UP children’s choir celebrates 50 years with song of hope

Half a decade has passed since music professor Flora Zarco-Rivera took 20 children from the UP College of Music extension program and formed what eventually became the UP Cherubim and Seraphim (UPCS), one of the oldest children’s choirs in the country. 

Some of these children would later be manning the frontlines as health workers. Some would be pursuing a career in fine arts, others in architecture. And some would be forging their own paths in the music industry.

After 50 years, they would all be coming back to ‘Cherubim’ to lend their golden voices once again.

On September 25, UPCS marked its 50th anniversary with a virtual concert featuring over 70 alumni, along with special guests Joey Ayala, Eudenice Palaruan, Robin Rivera, Lynn Sherman, and National Artist Ryan Cayabyab.

Golden songs

UP Cherubim and Seraphim in the 1980s. Photo from UP Cherubim and Seraphim

“The first one is [always the] toughest,” said Associate Director Alyssa Liyana Dioquino.

The concert, entitled Aurea Carmina (Golden Songs), is the choir’s first full-length virtual performance after previously releasing shorter video clips. The hour-long concert featured performances from past and present members of the choir, as well as special messages from alumni and staff.

“We were panicking because we’ve never done this before,” Director Emeritus Prof. Elena Mirano said. 

Dioquino said that the team had to do a lot of “backward problem-solving” as technical issues began to arise while they were putting the concert together. 

“The very small details that would usually be excusable in [live] performance were not excusable anymore,” she said.

Aside from marked music sheets, they also had to provide asynchronous learning materials like audio guides to avoid mistakes while recording.

According to choir member Aila Orillaza, the online set-up is more challenging because “doing things individually is not the philosophy of a choir.”

Thankfully, alumni from various fields readily stepped in to help with putting the videos together in post-production.

While the shift to the virtual stage proved to be a huge adjustment, it did not hinder UPCS from standing by its decades-old tradition of performing music with social significance. 

“The program always has to address something that not just the audience but also the children can learn from,” Dioquino said.

The choir performed Sa Mahal Kong Bayan, Sa Dakong Silangan, Manong Pawikan, Nais Ko, The Trout, and Bata ang Bukas in the virtual concert. Themes of nationalism, respect for nature, and solidarity with Overseas Filipino Workers and indigenous people were tackled and explored through these songs.

Aila shares that every time they are given new songs, their mentors would always make sure to also give them context on who wrote the songs, what it was about, and who it was written for.

“The songs influenced my life in a way that it made me more proud to be Filipino, to learn about my country’s history,” she said.

Mirano and Dioquino recognize that some of the children will grow up and pursue careers outside music so it was necessary for UPCS to imbibe values that the children could take with them outside the rehearsal rooms.

“It’s important for the kids to develop a sense that there is meaning in the music that they sing because that’s what they can bring with them in the future,” Mirano said.

Memories

Five decades of UP Cherubim and Seraphim celebrated 50 years with Aurea Carmina on Sept. 25. Photo from UP Cherubim and Seraphim

Beyond creating beautiful music, alumni coming from the 1970s all the way to the 2010s all had precious memories to share. Many fondly remember participating in the choir’s national and international tours where they would bond as children.

“It’s not just singing, it’s the being together,” Mirano said.

Every UPCS batch agrees on a batch name that usually represents the group’s shared interests and characteristics. Over the years, the batch would remain in contact despite pursuing different careers as adults.

Before the pandemic struck, Aila recalls coming to Abellardo Hall after school and finding her much-needed solace in choir rehearsals.

While the intimacy of in-person rehearsals is hard to replicate in the virtual setup, Dioquino said that they try to keep the children’s “sense of togetherness” alive.

With members as young as four years old, UPCS makes sure that the children still get to have some fun beyond their weekly rehearsals. The group holds virtual parties where the kids would play games and share food through deliveries.

Bata ang Bukas

Members of the choir bond backstage during various events in the 1970s. Photos from UP Cherubim and Seraphim

Mirano recalls how she tried to avoid following her mother, UPCS founder Zarco-Rivera’s, footsteps in leading the choir.

When she was young, she would help her mother choose pop songs for the group and arrange their choreography, but she never thought that she would also hold the baton herself.

“I fought it for a long, long time. I did not want to [direct] the group kasi I wanted to do something other than what my mother was doing,” she said.

However, as she grew older and had children of her own, Mirano began to find joy in leading the group. 

“I think we underestimate children. I think they understand much more than we think,” she said.

Despite its disadvantages, Dioquino said that shifting online helped the kids become stronger singers individually. However, she still hopes to perform on a real stage soon.

“I think one of the great aspects about the longevity of ‘Cherubim’ is that this group has always adapted to its environment and I think it’s testament to the fact that kids are very adaptable,” she said.

While Aila still misses performing live at Abellardo Hall, she thinks that performing amid a pandemic is what makes music relevant in the face of adversities.

“I’m not happy to be part of a time like this but I’m happy to be a part of something that makes our world a little happier,” Aila said. “I think the songs we sing don’t force positivity. They do not deny the hard things that we’re going through, rather they accept that we are in trying times and they encourage us to move forward—not to move on—with whatever good thing we can take from this.”

Mirano adds that the choir has always been about giving hope and moving forward. She said that music plays an integral role in making meaning out of hardships.

“We have to hope for something out there […] We work with children, we want them to come out of this – as we hope that we ourselves come out of this – with a sense of hope that there is a future, that we’re gonna get out of this together, that we are going to be whole,” she said. DZUP

Featured Photo: The UP Cherubim and Seraphim makes its way to their first out-of-town tour in Baguio, circa 1970. Photo from UP Cherubim and Seraphim

Here are songs to overthrow dictators with to commemorate Martial Law

Here are songs to overthrow dictators with to commemorate Martial Law

September 21, 1972 is the day that Former President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law. This began years of tyrannical and crony rule that stifled political dissent and cultural freedom. Despite this, Filipino artists, and especially musicians, remained unwavering in their ways as they expressed their resistance to the Marcos regime, both out in the open and covertly.

The following songs both represent the mood at the time and provide a fitting undercurrent to the whims of the political resistance now. As we confront misguided politics of today, we fuel our motivation to revolt and commemorate the trials of history as we explore these manifestations of revolutionary thinking in music.


“Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran” by Asin

This folk-rock band has been known since their inception for their tendency toward a more homegrown sound, hewing close to indigenous and tribal instruments and musicality for their recordings. Not only that, but the themes they touch upon contain a sense of covert political subversion, particularly for issues that affect the rural Filipino. “Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran” is a banjo-tinged elegy for damages to the environment, an issue that intensified during the Marcos era as the administration coddled illegal miners and loggers.


“FUCK THE WEST (KLUB ANTHEM 4 THE WEST)” by Teya Logos

Teya Logos is a 17-year-old trans artist from Quezon City, whose work centers around more experimental genres of electronic music such as gabber and hardcore. She gained notoriety for “Beki Bounce,” released under the Unizone label, a rapidly accelerating journey from simmering club beats to irresistibly thumping gabber, interspersed with ballroom and Filipino viral video samples. The track “FUCK THE WEST (KLUB ANTHEM 4 THE WEST)” is part of the fifth volume of the MUTANTS MIXTAPE anthology created by members of the Arca discord. It is a declaration of violence against the hegemonic capitalist forces of the West set to harsh footwork synths.


“Kanluran” by Gary Granada

Activist-musician Gary Granada has continually released and performed a body of work that is clear in its politics and with unequivocal accessibility. Beyond writing musicals such as “Lean” he has also crafted an oeuvre of folk solo material that speaks of the plight of peasants in the countryside. “Kanluran” is the West upon which the sun sets, to the delight of the poor and working-class Filipinos.


“Sandata” by KOLATERAL

The “KOLATERAL” album project, led by BLKD and Calix, is one of the richest and most exciting rap projects in the Philippines as of late. It offers highly incisive political and social critique laid raw and strongly against a polished production. “Sandata” features the two project leads with Lanzeta, Because, Pure Mind Quiet Heart, Muro Ami, KIYO, Bang Boss, and Promote Violence. It doesn’t mince words as it delivers a damning verdict to Duterte’s drug war: “Pasistang rehimen, buwagin! / Pababain ang mga nakaupong ulupong, patumbahin! / Ang sistema na bulok gigibain (gigibain!)” DZUP


More songs on our “Revolt” Playlist!

These tracks will take you (back) to Diliman

These tracks will take you (back) to Diliman

Picture this: It’s September. The overcast sky parts ways to reveal the clarity of vast blue, with rays of sunshine peering through the foliage of the Academic Oval. Trundling through the sidewalk, you notice all this and wonder if there’s a soundtrack that will carry you through to your first class.

Well … we can’t see us all doing this now, what with this little thing called a pandemic, but what we can give you are the jams and bops so that you can experience the magic, frisson, and spirit of UP Diliman – right in your own home!


“Minsan” by Eraserheads

Lead singer Ely Buendia wrote this classic about his time as a resident at the famed Kalayaan Residence Hall, the dormitory for freshies. In it he yearns for the relentlessness of college life and the value of forming lifelong friendships. This is an expected, of course, for freshies from outside Quezon City and the metro cooped up together for a year inside a “home away from home” built for them.

The song sets people up on a journey of college living, through shared struggles and moments of pure joy, through to the inevitability of diverting paths, all through the eyes of someone who has seen it all. Just don’t talk to Buendia about it though.

“Bukang-Liwayway” by Munimuni

Munimuni is an indie folk-pop band formed in UPD, and who have made a veritable reputation for themselves with a mature-sounding but accessible discography. Their debut EP, “Simula,” released in 2017, is a confident first volley into the realm of Filipino indie music, made by Adj Jiao, John Owen Castro, Red Calayan, TJ de Ocampo, and Ian Tumaliuan.

The EP is both epic and intimate, at times confident and then vulnerable in others. This opener is an affirming declaration to face the day, featuring an irresistible chorus and hook that almost deceives you into thinking it’s bog-standard contemporary Manila rock until the band’s trademark flute comes in – perfect for “releasing your little body” from a rough all-nighter, or any straining pressure and darkness.

“Ride Home” by Ben&Ben

It’s staggering to see the rise of the twins and their company go in leaps and bounds since That Time They Played Every Night In The UP Fair, the annual university festival. But who could blame the festival programmers, or anyone who dares delve into their discography after being captivated by their tracks online or on the radio? The two Bens are hit machines.

Their first single “Ride Home” speaks of finding comfort and belonging in someone. In university, this could be many people – a friend, a lover, an org, a professor, or a taho vendor – and this helps one surrender and fall into the warmth of someone’s loving embrace.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the sheer scale and ambition of the song almost feels like the mud and dirt of the Sunken Garden is creeping up your sandals after jumping and headbanging so hard.

“Minimize” by B.P. Valenzuela

There’s always this fantasy of meeting The One in college. The freedom of youth, the pressure of life, and the desire for affection and company can make this search much more pertinent. But once you have your sights set on Your Person, and the sparks fly – holy moly, does it take up space in your mind all day.

Singer-songwriter B.P. Valenzuela croons in this synth-laden track, both craving and feigning resistance against a fleeting romance, falling short of pleading and begging the other person to reciprocate the singer’s calls. For lonely nights or days of seeming distance, this track hits exactly right.

“Tadhana” by UDD

Just as its thumping chorus pleads for a paramour to reciprocate the singer’s yearning, it begs a listen every time the Capacities album version’s introductory synth pulses come on. Imagine sitting down in the hallways of the buildings in campus or the benches around the Academic Oval and becoming overcome with the desire for someone as this comes on.

No UDD performance in UP Fair is complete without this song on the setlist, or Armi Millare and the band risk coming off stage to calls for them to play it from the packed hordes of people from UPD and beyond who’ve come to see them. An undeniable classic.

“Laro” by Autotelic

Love is fickle. There’s only four years to a standard undergraduate degree (best-case scenario), a brief time to cultivate and develop a strong relationship. Most falter under the illusion of long-lasting romance, but others choose to embrace the uncertainty of it all.

“Laro” looks at love as game – there’s high stakes, deception, victory, and loss. UP Fair mainstays Autotelic sing also of the impermanence of love, and how it could be good to take pleasure in the comfort of now, and not worry about what might happen.

“Upuan” by Gloc 9 and Jeazell Grutas

UP Diliman is flanked by communities of residents who’ve lived on the property for decades. For a university with the public character of being servants to the nation’s masses, one finds irony in this curious condition, as the better off of the student body enter campus while being driven on their SUVs.

Have an ear for this admittedly groovy missive of the elite and one realizes that there is a need for all this inequity to end. Gloc 9 reminds us of the sheer power and strength required to tear down the high walls that continue to tamp down on the poor.

“Gatilyo” by BLKD

Made in both the strong countercultural tradition and level of research that UP is known for, BLKD likened making the album that this title track is a part of to that of authoring a research paper on the ills of Philippine society. The battle rapper is a graduate of the Community Development program, and this song employs both his experiences in creative writing and theater as well as the requisite CSWCD grounding to create a criticism of the friction in the national social structure.

And it shows: the short track is clear in its motive and goes off stronger than any other contribution of this nature from rappers even far beyond his level of fame.

“Historical” by Pinkmen

Pinkmen, a Diliman-based alternative folk-rock band, are known for their fun and jauntry musicmaking and captivating live performances. This latest single, made under quarantine, sees the band in their most delirious, touching upon the national identity, the damages on gig musicians wrought on by the pandemic, and government corruption. All of this is wrapped up in a funky, catchy tune that makes you want to see them live.

UP Naming Mahal from Lean, A Filipino Musical by Gary Granada

Let’s be honest: UP Naming Mahal is a HUMDINGER of an anthem for a unique institution. But it can be gratingly self-serving and self-aggrandizing – not too aligned with the character of the Iskolar ng Bayan today.

Gary Granada reworked this track for the musical about the slain student leader and activist Leandro Alejandro, who was assassinated in 1987, after protesting the military’s growing sphere of control in the regime of Cory Aquino. Granada shifted the tone of the lyrics to that of selfless service to the country and the inextricable link between the university and the masses.

Honorable Mentions (aka International Aisle)

Ever recall that feeling of having a high-school sweetheart and regretting that you have to part ways before university? Yeah, same.

“Your Type” by Carly Rae Jepsen

This underrated pop classic, about the stresses of unrequited love, will make you want to blast it in the aforementioned SUV you came to school with, or experience being turned down at Today x Future and crying at the goto shop after

“The Less I Know The Better” by Tame Impala

Sometimes, our big brains can’t handle everything we’re being taught, and we wish we were in one of the other universities. /hj

“Hello, Sunset” by Red Velvet

Nothing beats looking at the sky at 5 in the afternoon facing the Main Library at the Sunken Garden. Unless it’s overcast, in which case go home.

“Dancing On My Own” by Robyn

See: comments for “Your Type”.


Listen to more songs from our Welcome to Diliman playlist!

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