Singing Yano Songs at MTS

Posted: May 22, 2009 in All and Sundry, Art Attacks, commentary, current events

004Eric Gancio of Yano

If it were okay with you to go on a trip down 90s Pinoy Rock memory lane last night, you should have gone out with me to Matina Town Square, where the first set of musicians performed for the first day of this year’s  Mindanao Davao Living Arts Festival. Don’t ask me what “Living Arts” meant. I too have no idea. N and I were debating whether the word “living” is used as a verb or an adjective. “So what happens to dead art? Or is there such a thing, really?” Then of course we realized that perhaps we’ll have to postpone the discussion to a more appropriate time for academic discourse.

Lest I digress, while I really didn’t want to experience another set of “essentialist” Mindanao music, which really falls under the World Music category (a very lazy term that lumps all these non-pop, non-rock alt, indigenous/ethnic inspired music covering different genres all over the marginalized worlds), I was convinced to crawl out of the very comforting dvd-induced high I was enjoying in my domicile at Irish Cottage in Mintal. At around 10:30 pm or thereabouts, Felimon texted oh-so-suddenly: “I’m in MTS.” Felimon, being my theater artist/director/cultural worker/educator friend from Pagadian City, also a representative from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, a friend I haven’t seen in a year because every time he happens to be in Davao City, he always manages to text me at almost midnight when I am already comfortably lazing in my sala watching movies. Later though, Felimon told me he had just arrived from a 14-hour long trip from Pagadian City via Cagayan de Oro and from the Ecoland bus terminal, he had decided to go to MTS to witness the show.

Well, it wasn’t all that bad. The show I mean. The thing is, I arrived really late because I obviously came from Mintal, which is around 30 minutes to an hour ride to Matina. I spent a good whole 10 minutes waiting for a taxi or a jeepney by the roadside near Holy Spirit Hospital.  I kinda missed the  noisy barkers going “Down town! Down town! Davao Davao!” on that particular moment. So because I came in late, I wasn’t able to catch Bayang Barrios sing, but was able to enjoy Yano (or at least half of it) dish out their classics. The indefatigable Eric Gancio was as usual an excellent guitarist and vocalist. When he started singing Tsinelas, people also chanted along with him. By the time he went “iniwanan ka pala ng yong boyfriend…” I suddenly found it hard to control myself from smiling.

Then I remembered that during the peak of Yano’s popularity, I never really got to watch any of their live concerts. I can’t recall why at this time, but I know that if I had the chance, I would have really made sure I could, by hook or by crook. So watching Eric sing those songs last night sort of felt like I have come full circle. Only the romantics and nostalgics can understand this sentiment.


photo by Glorypearl Dy

The last band that played after Yano were just a cacophony of percussions for me. Most of the time I was really bored. Partly because I don’t really know their songs. The vocalist performed with barefeet because he lost his slippers; a fitting follow-up to Yano’s Tsinelas. That made me laugh. The universe really does have a sense of humor.

But I must say, the percussionist was beautiful to watch. He really knows how to play up to the audience and make drumming so interesting it becomes more than just standing there and banging the drum.So much fun just like how Jamaicans do it. The thing is, the kind of music the band was playing wasn’t really meant for a stage like what they have in Taboan, MTS. Rather, it’s meant for a more intimate venue, kind of a theater in the round, where because of the arrangement of the musicians, the audience are inevitably engaged to interact with the band, go jiggy, clap, move to the beat of the percussions.

What saved the band’s inability to connect though was the vocalist’s “tamboliling,” an electrical string instrument made of wood, which he claimed to have invented himself. It sounded and looked like the erhu, a Chinese traditional musical instrument, but less refined. However fleeting, it was a sublime experience to watch him play it nevertheless. The instrument was good enough proof of his artistic and more importantly, inventive abilities.

photo by Glorypearl Dy

photo by Glorypearl Dy

That moment, as Felimon talks to me about another acting project he’s taking in July, I realized that the night was worth the nostalgia after all. Mang Kulas’s tsinelas disappearance aside.

  1. johnnypanic says:

    to quote Rosel’s friend Joseph, “Mang Kulas, pabili nga ng Havaianas! Pabili ng Havaianas!”

  2. wickedtrack says:

    Haha, love this entry. Miss you Claire!

  3. moonjunkie says:

    Yes, the vocalist, Waway Saway, who lost his slippers, is part of the Kadugo Band of the Talaandig community. Playing the base was his son.

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