Sunday, June 23, 2013

JOEY AYALA’S SOCIAL ARTISTRY (Third of four parts) (June 17, 2013)

Palay Bigas Kanin on

VN: As we celebrate the National Year of the Rice, could you share with us our project Palay Bigas Kanin? How is it now?

JA: Palay Bigas Kanin (PBK) is a “CoreBook” – a term coined to mean “a set of learning-teaching material organized around a core of artwork”. The CoreBook idea occurred to me while contemplating the many practical applications of art for development. As I put it in my intro: “It is a set of educational material grown around a core of artistic work. In this case the art-core is a set of songs inspired by the image of rice – thus, the title, Palay Bigas Kanin. If it is true that all things are actually just one thing, or that all things are interrelated, then it must be true that one can teach practically anything starting from practically anywhere. PBK tests this premise by radiating into a broad spectrum of content coming from a simple, mundane, objective reality -- Rice.”

After you wrote all the lyrics except for last verse of rap in Magtanim Ay Di Biro by OG Sacred (a.k.a. Sheilbert Manuel), I farmed it all out to other composers, performers, and arrangers. Sagot Na O Sirit Na is by Errol Marabiles a.k.a. Budoy of Cebu-based Junior Kilat. Nick Devroe arranges. Contains a chanting loop from PBK 02.

By that, I mean Hindi Lang Ang Ifugao which was sung by Katz Trangco, backed up by Onie Badiang and I. Gangsa and tongatong performed by Mlou Matute, Grace Bugayong, Tapati, Onie, and me who also did the synth tracks. Halina At Hain Na is by Onie backed by Tapati. Dalit Kay Dalacdac is by Ronolfo "Popong" Landero all the way! In Aking Paaralan Ang Aking Palayan, Noel Cabangon did the vocal, guitar and composition. Arrangement and backing instruments are by Bob Aves. Pasyong Mahal Ng Maylupang Panginoon Namin is by Ira Peñalosa of Reggae Mistress duets with Onie, backed up by Tapati. Composition and vocal arrangement are by Maricris Joaquin, instruments arranged and played by me. Ambahang Sambahan is by Gruppo Musica Mundi, Marawi State University-based all male choir. Composed, arranged and directed by Frank Englis. Tapati sings Dasal sa Ghazal which is Mlou Matute who also does the instrumentation with Grace Bugayong and me on synth tracks. For Atin Cu Pung Singsing/Ako ay May Lupa, Ira Peñalosa of Reggae Mistress is on lead vocals. Counterpoint and bungkaka are courtesy of Onie. Areglo and synth instrumentation by Erwin Galang. Rene Chong Tengasantos on various percussions. Kasal, Binyag, Libing is my collaboration with Onie and Tapati. Composition, areglo and synth tracks are mine. Oryza Sativa! is my sis, Cynthia Alexander, all the way! Ang Bansa Ng Pambansa is by Lourd de Veyra and Radioactive Sago Project. Francis de Veyra is the arranger. Kakanin is mine backed, again, by Onie and Tapati. Bass by Onie while banjo, octavina, rainstick by yours truly. Magtanim Ay Di Biro is by rapper Sheilbert Manuel a.k.a. OG Sacred of Sigaw ng Tundo. Ira Peñalosa comes in at the end. I recomposed the in-between verses. Backing tracks by Tapati and Onie who is on bass. I am responsible for the guitars and octavina. Banduria is by Junn Esteban. Noon Po Sa Amin is by Onie. Vocals, bass, guitars, and arrangement. Tapati sings backup. Me on guitars. It is composed by Westdon "Dong" Abay of Yano and Pan. Eat All You Kan-on is by Onie. Again, on vocals, bass, guitars. Me on guitars too. It is composed and arranged by Onie. Once more, Kahit Palay, Bigas, Kanin ay Kaunti is Cynthia Alexander all the way! May Mito, May Totoo is by Irma "Chang" Tengasantos of Reggae Mistress backed by Onie. Composition, areglo and synth tracks by Jun Latonio. Gluten is by Onie who is on vocals, bass, and guitars too. I am on guitars and synth tracks. Onie and I collaborated on this composition. Last but not the least, on Track 20, is Bangkakawan – a communal performance by the Tigwa Manobo of Bukidnon. It is recorded by Pio Pataganao.

On the other hand, our Palay Bigas Kanin CoreBook, using National Artist BenCab’s Napuwing on its cover, includes your essay and mine, together with the works of Prof. Felipe De Leon Jr., Dr. Elena Mirano, Dr. Jose Buenconsejo, Arch. Bobby Mañosa, Prof. Christine Bellen, Director Grace Pascua, Totet de Jesus, Prof. Jocelyn Guadalupe, Dr. Estrella Agustin, Mr. Felipe Latonio, Prof. Lucy Magalit, Marisa Marin, Prof. Emeritus Steve Villaruz, Herbert Alvarez, Angel Baguilat, Marili Ilagan, Dr. Jessica De Leon, Susan Balingit, Prof. Isabel Colendrino, Dr. Isagani Serrano, Dr. Ramon Clarete, Congressman Teodoro Baguilat, Tina Arceo Dumlao, Dr. Nieves Dacyon, Dr. Alex Brillantes Jr., Alma Quinto, Dr. Prospero Covar, and Dr. Zeus Salazar. Playwright Boni Ilagan and Dempster Samarista did the video while Micheline Rama did the design and the layout. Ms. Pauline Salvaña-Bautista is the Managing Editor as well as the organizer and networker!

PBK attempts to lead its users to a broad range of “subjects” – nutrition, choreography, spirituality, music, pedagogy, poetry, economics, politics… as a demonstration that, theoretically, one can learn-teach anything coming from anywhere (such as palay-bigas-kanin). Ang lahat ng bagay ay magkaugnay. The project is done in the sense that the songs are recorded and available on youtube together with video conversations with many of the participating artists, including yourself, the author of the songs’ texts. The non-song/video materials exist so far as a file downloadable from and I hope to see a more formal presentation of PBK as part of the NCCA’s Music Committee’s website within the year, PBK being a project initiated by the said committee when I was the chairperson.

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