HIMO’G HUNI: Beyond Music and Lyrics (Part 2)

Part Three of the Himog Huni Series

Home and Away
It was Raymond Cagampang who first arrived at Paulene’s house. And even though he had to wait for all of us for more than an hour, we heard no fuss. When the camera started rolling during the video shoot, he filmed his promotional video with a breeze after a couple of rehearsals. After the shoot, he sat beside on the sofa where I was. We said casual greetings and he greeted mine with a very meek smile.

This was how I saw Raymond — meek, gentle, and soft-spoken. Behind his very calm demeanor is a profoundness engraved in the narratives of his songs, inspired by both personal encounters and the accounts of those he knows which he translates in music and lyrics.

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His entry Lagyo showcases Raymond’s depth as a person and as an artist, cultivated in the twelve years that he has been making music. Written while on board a bus, Lagyo is a song of both longing to come home and fear that comes with being away from home to seek greener pastures.

His experience in working in Manila might have helped him draw inspiration to breathe life to the song, Raymond also claims that it is the experience of others who were cheated in their relationships while working abroad that really helped him helm the song.

Mae Angelyn Te, JCI Boholana Kisses Executive Vice President, sings praises to the song. In a private message, she said “Downloaded Himog Huni on Spotify [and I’m] enjoying Lagyo. [It’s] reality, deep. And you can feel a pink of pain listening to the lyrics. [I’m] just amazed how the tune gave it a joy despite the story.”

Every song is a story and Raymond Cagampang’s Lagyo is a bittersweet tale that speaks so much truth and depth in a way that it shakes you when it hits you but leaves you unscathed. And this is how music captures the soul that one’s song becomes your own favorite soundtrack.

A Toast To Friendship
I first saw Serj Atup, or Brother Serj as he is fondly addressed, in The Feast, a weekly prayer meeting. The Feast was my usual Friday night date and Bro. Serj is one of the guys who takes the mic and sets the mood for worship through the praise songs they lead us to sing. However, we never got a chance to interact — perhaps just casual hellos and nods I don’t have any memory of — up until the day set for this interview and who I saw was a generous fellow with so much chill and positive vibes. We can even add the word generous as the cherry on top of the cake.

He lent his voice for #ATM both for the demo and the final track. Written by his good friend John-Ace Llera, #ATM is a good background to sing along to when you are a young professional out on a Friday night with your squad sharing a bottle of cheap local wine and tons of stories as you wait for payday.

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“Ang #ATM, pwede siya mupasabot ug Automated Teller Machine ug pwede sad ug At The Moment. Ang kanta, it’s all about seizing the day nga pwede mo maglipay-lipay, bisan pa ug wala moy kwarta,” Brother Sej shares.

(#ATM may stand for Automated Teller Machine as well as At The Moment. The song, it’s all about seizing the day while you can share good times, even though you don’t have that much of cash.)

This song could reverberate to something personal since Ace, the composer, as Brother Serj shared, is migrating to Canada this year. The line ‘Kina nga gabhinuna, dili na mabalik busa ayaw ug palabya’(This night will never come again so do not let it pass) could be an ode to Ace and arguably, the most pivotal lines in the entire song.

The third track on the Himog Huni Unang Hugna soundtrack is not just an ear candy but a celebration of friendship, both in triumphs and tribulations. It is about seizing the day when laughters and hugs are not reduced to two-dimensional icons in your chat groups and stories are not yet lengthy texts to backread — even if funds are running low.

Isaka ang baso!

Here Come The Boys
Babay Inday composed by Rizalde Coscos and interpreted by Sigbin Puti is a cool song with a very catchy, infectious beat. This could come in contrast to its rather sexist, misogynistic theme as the song is about a guy who refuses to return the affection of a girl who he previously liked because the girl is ‘napusgay’. The boy even describes the girl’s confession of love as ‘ijara’ (distasteful). This might be another’s cup of tea but for someone who believes in empowerment, I’m not digging this song. Sorry not sorry.

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On the other hand, if you first encounter Jian Daluperit’s song Kung Wala Si Jah, you might think that it is another lovestruck song dedicated to a certain Jah. But when the track starts playing, the first verse already gives away the answer as to who is Jah. Yes, this song is a love story, but of a different kind.

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Jah, or Yah, is a short form of Yahweh, the proper name of God in the Hebrew Bible. The song, hence, is an homage to God and his wonders. The wordplay on Si Jah to make it sound like sija, a more Bol-anon variation of the word siya, a singular third-person pronoun in Visayan, is commendably smart.

To be continued

The Grand Finals of Himog Huni Unang Hugna will be on January 6, 2018, 7 pm, at the Buon Pastore Community Center, Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, Taloto District, Tagbilaran City.

All photos courtesy of Himo’g Huni.

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