Sunday, June 23, 2013


Joey Ayala, in his trademark shirt, speaking on behalf of other 2013 Philippine Popular Music Festival finalists who bested 3,3

José Iñigo Homer Lacambra Ayala is three years short of getting a new citizenship, that is, becoming a Senior Citizen!

Yes, Joey Ayala just turned 57 last Saturday.

And he is showing no sign of singing his swan song.

In fact, he still made it to the finals of 2013 Philippine Popular Music Festival with another veteran singer-composer Jungee Marcelo.

Through his composition Papel, Joey adds prestige to Philpop, where he couldeasily become a member of the Board of Judges, with the Angry Young Musicians who wrote these potential big hits in Askal by Gani Brown; Segundo by Paul Armesin; Sana Pinatay Mo Na Lang Ako by Myrus Apacible; Sometimes That Happens by Adrienne Sarmiento-Buenaventura; Space by Raffy Calicdan of Take Off; Araw, Ulap, Langit by Marlon Barnuevo; Sa 'Yo Na Lang Ako by Lara Maigue of the Opera Belles; Do, Do, Do by Marion Aunor; Kung `Di Man by Johnoy Danao; and Dati by Yumi Lacsamana and Thyro Alfaro whose entry Himig Ng Panahon made waves last year.

Win or lose, Joey has proven his relevance to others, and to himself of course, after besting 3,383 music artists from Australia, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Macau,

Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom, and United States.

It was no less than Ryan Cayabyab -- Philpop Executive Director – who led the screening committee composed of more than 140 performers, composers, record label executives, academic professionals, to name a few.

By next month, 6 July to be exact, we will know who will take home the pot -- one million pesos -- and other major prizes and surprises from Maynilad, Smart, Meralco, PLDT, Resorts World Manila, TV5, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, NLEX, Sun Cellular, First Pacific Leadership Academy, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, and Philex.

Such support, material or otherwise, which the young blood enjoys has been denied of Joey and other music artists who, to this day, can be considered as alternative.

Thus, he came up with the word -- Bagong Lumad – bago or “alter” and lumad or “native.”

In Davao City, way back in 1982, he blazed the proverbial trail by recording albums like Panganay ng Umaga (Firstborn of the Morning) and Magkabilaan (Dichotomies) in a makeshift studio combining the bago – via electric guitar, bass guitar, synthesizer/sequencer and drums – and the lumad – through such ethnic instruments as include kubing, kulintang, and hegalong of the T’Boli and other ethnolinguistic groups mostly from Southern Philippines.

What was known as a band – that introduced guitarist Onie Badiang, vocalist Bayang Barrios, and the late drummer Noe Tio (who at times collaborated with Joey’s wife Jessie and sibling Cynthia Alexander) – is now a brand.

Or is it a philosophy?

Better known today as Bagong Lumad Artists Foundation, Inc., BLAFI is a United Nations Development Programme Responsible Party.

With co-organizer Pauline Bautista, Joey advocates SiningBayan or Social Artistry capacity-building programs with the University of the Philippines, Civil Service Commission, the Department of Education, and other GOs and NGOs.

Our Foundation AWIT or Advancing Wellness, Instruction, and Talents had the chance to work with BLAFI.

And it is based on friendship rather than partnership.

In fact, the last time we saw Joey perform was when he sang our love theme – Walang Hanggang Paalam -- during the birthday blowout for our wife, Ellay, the Foundation AWIT president, right after a “meeting” last 11 April in her office at the UP Open University where she runs the Multimedia Center.

Up to now, we are harvesting the fruits of our labor from producing the Palay Bigas Kanin project with the UNDP andNational Commission for Culture and the Arts where he served as the (2008-2010) Chairman and Vice-Chairman (2011-2013) of the National Committee on Music, currently headed by Prof. Felipe de Leon Jr. who is also the incumbent NCCA big boss.

How’s Joey?

After 14 albums that include Mga Awit ng Tanod-lupa (Songs of the Earth-Guardian); Lumad sa Síyudad (Native in the City); Lupa't Langit (Earth and Heaven); 16lovesongs ; Awit ng Magdaragat (Songs of the Seafarer); Organik; Basta May Saging(As Long as There Are Bananas!); JoeyAyala: RAW; Encantada (Music from a Ballet Philippines dance-drama, 1992.); Parol(Music from a Ballet Philippines Christmas dance-drama, 1995.); and, of course, Palay Bigas Kanin?

And, yes, after Sita at Rama or puppet theater production with his sis Cynthia Alexander and Professor Emeritus Amelia Lapena Bonifacio?


Vim Nadera: How was it growing up in a family of artists, with a painter father and poet mother ?
Joey Ayala: We had lots of books, there was always music playing, and both parents were always busy with some project - cooking, writing, making scale models, painting, reading, etc. I was never in any other situation so that was "normal" for me.

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