Be pleased, surprised, or pout – by perusal of many Cordillerans when, recently, they discoursed their feeling and discretion on country music.
Pleased, because they have tender ears for country folk songs. Recipients of different modulations of music sounds, they still, are peculiarly acute to country music.
Surprised? Various music forms have filtered in Cordilleran atmosphere. But country music piled a record of not being swept away into history’s trashcan. Instead, it kept lock in step with other music forms, often leading ahead.
Pout? Well, this occurs to kids born in the 80’s and 90’s who go for modern music, particularly rap or, say, Korean pop. They find it irritating, “ta ti dadak-kel da, iparparikna da kayat da country music, kem ti musika mi, di da pay denggen pulos.”
What? Kasla da la imbaga naimbag pay diay al-alya ta agparikna, ngem diay nakautang, pulos!”
Many parents succinctly describe pop music as, “Anya met nga music dagita ubbing – aglaglagto, ah?” Oh, oh, jumping music, eh?
Now, these kids, miffed by snub of parents to pop music, get back to their parents by retorting, “Humph, palibhasa, old-fashioned kayo ngamin, isu saan yu ammo mang-likes iti music mi!”
Well, well, daily laborers say, “To each’s own delight and taste.”
There are youngsters of today who dream of pop music their capital to stardom someday.
Talking of capital, a Chinese student was asked by a teacher, “What’s the capital of the Philippines.”
The student, truthful to the core, replied,” Ma’am, kahit ako Intsek, ako alam Pilipinas. Pilipinas, wala capital, pulo utang!
Retired teacher, Hilda Tadaoan, of Baguio City, may well deem it’s a capital for the soul and mind of anybody listening to music in whatever form. Likewise, there’s nothing wrong at all liking country music, in like manner, others love pop.
Businessman, Bert Sandoval, of Baguio City, says, “Country music is like a file (garugad) that removes the edges of any bad day, particularly when recouping lost capital invested.”
He goes on, thinking there seems to be a mania among youngsters who sing for mere execution, which drives harmony and melody at once into the shade.
Many Cordillerans, those born in the 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s, say, while modern pop music comes and goes like changing clothes or diapers, country music seems to stay in the wallet – for goodness sake and often bringing a tear to the listener.
As such always happens to Ah Kong. How? Ti sibuyas, makapasangit nu ukisam. Kasla met la ti pitaka ni Ah. Ta nu lukatam, ket gapu awan ti karga na a siping, makapasangit.
One doesn’t be an expert to notice country music has carved a niche into the ears of Cordilleran highlanders. To them, country music is like an earring worn at the earlobe.
Benguet State University (BSU) Professor Silvestre Aben likens listening to country music is receiving auricular gratification from sweet and simple sounds, commended delectably to the sense.
Cordillerans’ senses are delicate, and country music melts into their souls, kindle up their hearts whether in bad or better days, charm their recesses of thought and feeling with influence truly harmonious.
Enchantment of country folk songs twines itself among the notes, awakening dreams of the past, ‘till a tear is on the eyelids, and throb of remembered delight tremble in Cordillerans bosoms like weeds shaken by the wind, as believed by friend, James Toribio Lingbanan.
Such can be traced in “Red River Valley” song. Its lyrics: “From this valley they say you are going/We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile/For they say you are taking the sunshine/That has brightened our pathway the while…”
Lots of highlanders know this song.
Bet your only cintimo that, mortals like La Trinidad mayor Romeo Salda, Baguio City mayor Manong Mauricio Domogan, city councilors Peter Fianza, Faustino Olowan and human rights lawyer Joe “Joemol” Molintas – good men as God ever made – are intimate with Red River Valley like they know the palms of their hands.
Friend and former student Ju Mayos Tarnate, from Mountain Province and employed at La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post, may well regard that listening to country folk songs is like returning with the elastic and visionary tread of memory, into a happy scene of youth, where one spent sunny mornings of days, and looking into the future.
Such observance can be gleaned in the song, “Auld Lang Syne.”
When Cordillerans see streams sparking blue and bright along meadows, birds chanting in the wildwoods fading forever away or wishing well a son going off where danger lurks, they hum the song, “Oh Danny Boy.”
Its lyrics: “Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling/From glen to glen and down the mountain side/The summer’s gone and all the roses falling/It’s you, it’s you, must go and I must bide…”
On the one hand, there are the young generation members of today, truly in admiration of country folk songs, often relating these to bloodline. They, too, follow in the footsteps of their country-music-loving parents.
Take the song, “Grandpa.” Its lyrics: “Grandpa, tell me ‘bout the good old days/Sometimes it feels like this world’s gone crazy/And grandpa, take me back to yesterday/When the light between right and wrong/Didn’t seem so hazy…”
Environment-loving Cordillerans won’t beat war drums when they see hillsides green, herds are cropping herbage in shady places and lashing summer flies that murmur as they sting. Above all, swells the pomp of the unsearchable sky and gorgeous companies of clouds.
They cringe for lost trees other greenery. And they croon, the “Greenfields.”
Its lyrics: “Once there were greenfields kissed by the sun/Once there were valleys where rivers used to run/Once there were blue skies with white clouds high above/Once they were part of an everlasting love…”
Cordillerans, too, appreciate scenes of a panorama, ever to arise at their mental vision at the sound of country music, such as heard in other times. Mornings and sunsets, and landscapes, dear to them of old, throng around them. They can live in the present, but don’t forsake the past.
They sing, “When You and I were Young.” Its lyrics: “I wandered today to the hills, Maggie/To watch the scene below/And the creek and the creaking old mill, Maggie/They are still back like in the days of long ago.”
“But the green grasses are gone from the hills, Maggie/Where first the daises sprung/And the creek and the old mill is still, Maggie/Since you and I were young…”
Cordillerans are no strangers to emotions. When a member of a family has been called by the Almighty to report before the Pearly Gates, they often sing, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
Its lyrics: “I was standing by the window/On one cold and cloudy day/When I saw the hearse come rolling/For to carry my mother away…”
When pictures have faded from their minds, they hum, “Where have all the Flowers Gone.”
Its lyrics “Where have all the flowers, long time passing/Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago/Where have all the flowers gone/Gone to young girls everyone/When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn…”
These are just some of the numerous country folk songs well loved by Cordillerans. These can be sung during funeral watch.
Ah, who always travel on some kind of business – monkey business, his sons swear – have yet to hear pop music being sung in any somber funeral watch. No, never did hear.
Sing pop music in a funeral watch and for all you know, somebody in the crowd will become irritated, enough to knock some sense into your head. Or, instead, the dead will rise and be the one who will happily do it.
Sam Kit Chan, lovely lady from Guisad barangay, Baguio City, offers her thought about country music, chiming, let’s have sincerity in country music; it’s sweet and acceptable.
Fair enough. Let the ear have its honestly-desired fruition of harmony, and not be mocked with the shadow of music and feeling, when the substance is wanting.