Anything music – be it songs and artists that I like or my own personal covers.

#MusicMusings – Beginning my formal guitar lesson, being in a band

Why play the guitar and jam with a band?

Like most of my friends, I learned how to play the guitar in an informal manner. My first guitar “teachers” were chord charts, music websites, YouTube artists, friends, and one of my female cousins.  It is a good hobby to take up – it helps connect with people, build relationships, an help someone be more in touch with his more creative side.

Music, particularly from OPM bands (Original Pinoy Music), was a significant part of my high school days. Although it was a time when the all-time famous Eraserheads already broke up, many bands started emerging (or re-emerging) – filling the airwaves. We watched Myx and tried to play songs from Hale, Mayonnaise, Sponge Cola, Bamboo, Sugarfree and Bamboo to name a few – sprinkled with Eheads, Rivermaya, and Parokya ni Edgar.  It was a good age to be if you’re a fan of the OPM brand of alternative rock.

Back then, I was contented to be able to play chords and strum along with the music I listen to. Jamming along the hallway or inside the classroom – that was a big piece of music embedded in my sweet teen years. I remember vividly the joy I felt when I was able to learn my first song – Rivermaya’s Kisapmata!  Down, down, up, up, down.  D – Em – A -G. Rinse, repeat.  “O kay bilis naman maglaho ng pag-ibig mo sinta!”  Lyrics and music apt for a teenage boy just discovering what it means to love.

As part of the student council organization in my high school, we were in charge of spearheading band festivals, concert parties, and competitions.  Since I was part of the organizers and I was a beginner guitarist back then, I never participated in one (Well, except one, in Baguio.  We won something in that competition, but let’s just say some things are better left unsaid! Haha!).

Fast forward to today, I am fortunate to have good opportunities to play music. With my girlfriend, Mika, we play cover instrumentals of songs.  One of our covers, Up Dharma Down’s Tadhana, fortunately was well-received. Although not as popular as other videos, we are proud to get 9000 views with 100 likes at YouTube!

 

Also, to satisfy our more “rock”-y cravings, I’m playing with a band mostly composed of my high school friends.  I’m excited that we are now doing sessions with a female vocalist who can sing some Paramore and female-voiced OPM songs.  Hopefully in the not-so-long future, we can post covers or compositions via Soundcloud or YouTube.

However, we must acknowledge that we still have ways to go – improving our musical senses, building chemistry and letting it show with the way we are synchronized during our rehearsals.

Little by little, I realize that what was once a hobby is now becoming a more vital chunk of my life.  Hence, like how I took basketball seriously during my high school years, I think it is only fitting that I honor music better by studying it in a more formal sense.

That’s why I enrolled under the Yamaha School of Music (or Yupangco Music Academy), which is fortunately near my house!  Upon recommendation of a well-respected jazz-musician friend and the teacher there (who, admirably, studied at the UST Conservatory of Music with jazz background), I took up Electric Guitar lessons versus the Classical Guitar course.  Although it costs quite a bit, I treat it as an investment.  Hopefully I can incorporate my learnings in covers of songs or compositions!

I had my first lesson yesterday, and I had a great time appreciating the theory behind my intuitive feel of music back then.  Getting to know chords and notes better, appreciating scales, and just grasping the beauty of music as an amalgamation of science and art, yet flexible enough to make it one’s personal burst of expression.

Playing music is fun – with every chord strummed or strings plucked, with lyrics written and sang, it provides a liberating experience that is similar or even greater than the itch to scratch one’s creative expression.  But now, instead of treating it as a hobby, I think I should pay closer attention to the process.

If I should choose one learning from Kobe Bryant, it is the appreciation of the process.  I want to apply this to learning music.

No shortcuts.

Impatience not for the reward, but impatience to constantly improve one’s self.

Working for a reward.

And should it be possible, even if just a microcosm, hopefully I can enjoy my music journey the same way Kobe enjoyed his last game.

The dribble and the beat of music synchronizing with heartbeats – feeling more alive.

The pass and assists or taking music rests to let others put imprint in the songs and life we experience.

The swish of the net or the sweet note played – savoring the indescribable eargasmic feeling it provides.

And finally, diving for the loose ball- amidst mistakes or playing wrong notes and chords, having the tenacity to recover and play the game of basketball and music, the way it’s supposed to be played.

The mind appreciating the intricacies and complexities.  The heart appreciating the elegance in simplicity and the emotions roaring to be released.  The soul eager to transcend worldly and heavenly existence, even for just a split second.

Picture courtesy of www.reverb.com – Epiphone ES-339 P90 Pro

Uwi – an original song about love and traffic

To those living in Metro Manila, we are all familiar with the bumper-to-bumper carmageddon traffic that EDSA passers-by struggle to live with.  This was the inspiration behind a Filipino love song I wrote, entitled “Uwi” – describing my personal experiences as I drive my car to bring my girlfriend home (uwi can be loosely translated as going home).

Perhaps for lovers (at least in my perspective), a long way home aggravated by heavy traffic is not so bad after all, since it lengthens that always-split-second-moment that we are together with our respective special someone.  Even after hours of snail-paced traffic, we dare ask, “Father Time is unfair – he passes slowly when we are alone, but flies fast if we are with our beloved!”

Lyrics and chords below, in the beautiful Filipino language:

Intro and Verse
C9-GM7

Matulog ka muna
Mahaba-haba pa ang byahe, patapos na ang gabi
Iyo bang napupuna?
Kahit barado’ng trapik, may ngiti sa aking labi

Refrain
Am7 – Bm7 –
C9 – D – D7

Eh pano ba naman
Ayaw nang mabitin pa
Kapag ang aking kanan
Hindi bakanteng silya

Chorus

C9 – D – Em9 or G/B – G
F/C – C – F/C – D – D7

Madaya, madugas, nakakainis ang oras
Ang bagal kapag wala ka’t pag katabi na kita mabilis lumipas

Ayos lamang bang tayo’y magtagal
Pag-ibig ko sayo ay lalo ko pang ipaiiral

(In terms of music, I am very heavily influenced by sir Ebe Dancel’s work lately.  For this particular song, I think the most dominant flavors present are Sugarfree’s Telepono and Hangover.  Thank you very much to Sir Ebe for showing that OPM or original Filipino music can really pull the strings of the heart!)

Photo from http://preen.inquirer.net/files/2015/09/sept-8-carmaggedon-EDSA-heay-rain-rush-hour-traffic-preen-e1441795982162.jpg

Carousel (Bamboo Acoustic Cover)

This song emits a feeling of liberation, of a journey to one’s home.  The voice of the song exclaims on how excited he is to go back to his roots, and live life anew.  Here is a take on Bamboo’s latest single from No Water No Moon repackaged version entitled “Carousel”.  You can visit the original version here.

Picture perfect
Starting to hold on
To these new eyes
My (my) worlds drawn out in crayon
All the lives we come across
We shine a light to see our own

Remember back to every story told
Who you were
Before the rush hour
Carousel
Dared to see the world
With your own two eyes
So you’ve made mistakes
Now who’s wide awake
It’s a tidal wave

Our worlds collide
Become one in the starlight
Forget perfect endings
Let’s dare and live for the day
Today
Today’s like no other

Words come alive
In the story of our time
Let’s all quit pretending
Let’s dare and live for the day
Today
Today’s like no other

I am home

Hit a wall
But there ain’t no shutting this door
We’re gonna live
Keep faith
We gonna soar soar soar
To a higher ground
We charge to claim our own

Remember back to every story told
Who you were
Before the rush hour
Carousel
Dare to see the world with your own two eyes
Yeah you’ve made mistakes
Now who’s wide awake
It’s a tidal wave

Hello world
Forget what’s the play
But we’re gonna look to shake this rust away

Our worlds collide
Become one in the starlight
Forget perfect endings
Let’s dare and live for the day
Today
Today’s like no other

‘Cause I’m just gonna live my life
Pick up the pieces
Of what’s been left behind
Bring back the memories
Of that special time
No doubt
No fear
No question I know what’s gotten me here
My sweet escape
Hello long goodbyes

I am

Our worlds collide
Become one in the starlight
Forget perfect endings
Let’s dare and live for the day
Today
Today’s like no other

Words come alive
In the story of our time
Let’s all quit pretending
Let’s dare and live for the day
Today
Today’s like no other

I am home

Remember who you are
Remember who you are
I am, I am, I am
Home

Our words come alive
In the story of our time
Between wish and the waiting
Let’s dare and live for the day

 

The Story Behind “Overprotective”

Was there ever a time when you’d imagine yourself as a fairy tale character in a fairy tale ending?

One peaceful afternoon, I just wanted to be alone in my room, with guitar at hand.  It was one of those days when I’d just like to play songs, covered or those that I composed.  As a songwriter, I know that I lack technical music stuff and the theories and the godly skills, but heck!  Songwriting, for me, was an avenue of expression.  Much like this blog.

For some reason, I plucked a variation of the C#m, A, and B chords with open 1st and 2nd strings.  I was, hmm, hypnotized by the tune then boom! Like a spark waiting to be ignited to the fullest, all these words flowed in my head.  The story began to unfold myself.

Suddenly, I was this prince charming guy in my own fairy tale world, where I can’t help but feel overprotective for the princess or heroine.  In reality she’s strong, but in my bias and behind these eyes I exaggerated her weakness – all in the name of painting myself as the “overprotector”.

The end product of the massive imagination – my original song entitled as “Overprotective”.  Below is one of its renditions, featuring a violinist – and amazingly, the one the song is dedicated to.  Haha!

I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Lyrics:

You make it seem
That you need a guardian
You can trigger the dormant chivalry in man’s heart

‘Coz your heart
Brittle as glass
And your skin
So silky delicate

Well that may not be the case
But you got me believin’

That I am your knight and surely I’ll treat you right
That I am your knight and surely you won’t need to fright

You got me
Very anticipating
Of every move you’re gonna gonna make
You make me want to ride my horse
and save a princess in distress
Drive the monsters away and
Keep the bad dreams at bay and
Hug as night turns to day and
Kiss the worries away

Like a fairy tale, you got me overprotective
A gentleman’s wish – to keep his princess safe

Circadian – The song of sleeping to escape reality

“Mayday, somebody save me now! I’m closing my eyes ’cause once the sun rises it’s out of my hands.”

I am a David Cook fan. As you may have guessed, the line above is from the eargasmic opening track of his sophomore album “This Loud Morning” entitled “Circadian”. If you wanna know more about Circadian, feel free to consult Google or Wikipedia because I don’t have the patience to tell you what it means! Haha! (Well, if you guessed that I also don’t know what it means, then you’re a good Nostradamus.)

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Circadian – The song of sleeping to escape reality

“Mayday, somebody save me now! I’m closing my eyes ’cause once the sun rises it’s out of my hands.”

I am a David Cook fan. As you may have guessed, the line above is from the eargasmic opening track of his sophomore album “This Loud Morning” entitled “Circadian”. If you wanna know more about Circadian, feel free to consult Google or Wikipedia because I don’t have the patience to tell you what it means! Haha! (Well, if you guessed that I also don’t know what it means, then you’re a good Nostradamus.)

Enough with the corny formalities! So, what’s so inspiring about this song that it pushed me to write something about it? And, hell, I even attempted to record my own cover of it!

Reality sucks, and dreams don’t. Some of you will even attest that nightmares are sometimes more pleasurable than having to wake up in the ungodly hours of the morning just to face problems that you can never escape! This is what the song is all about.

When things come undone and with no shoulder to lean on, the next best thing is to be embraced by your blanket and lean on your soft pillow. Their cloth will wipe your tears of grief, as you scream for help. You pray that for eight hours, everything will be okay. The quiet night can be the sanctuary that the loud morning cannot be. This is the escape one needs before facing the painful realities.

“The light pulls me under and I keep on caving in!”

The short yet ever-so-powerful bridge blasted with distorted guitars clearly embody the nocturnal point in time when you can’t sleep because of your thoughts, but you force yourself to close your eyes and throw it all out of your hands.

You can’t sleep.

The clock still ticks.

The loud morning you don’t wanna face bothers you like hell.

“Somebody save me… now.”

Your plea for help echoes through your mind as your pillow and blanket serve as your confidant. Then it all ends.

The quiet night welcomes you to your dreams of reality.