If the music is so good does it matter if you understand the lyrics?

If the music is so good does it matter if you understand the lyrics? In this case, does it matter if you understand Basque/Euskadi or not to appreciate good music.

My latest musical discoveries are the band, Ken Zazpi and singer, Sa Ding Ding.

Song: Bihar (Tomorrow)
Album: Argiak

The group is a Basque language band from the Basque Country, Spain.


Song: Alive (Sanskrit language version)
Album:  Alive

She is a Chinese singer who sings mostly in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Mandarin.  Some consider her has as Bjork’s equivalent in Asia.

Karl Jenkins and Stabat Mater

I have just received my copy of Karl Jenkins’ new classical album, “Stabat Mater.” I bought it from Amazon.com and had it delivered to my friend’s address in Michigan who was returning to Manila.

Stabat Mater is Jenkins’ rendition of the the medieval Roman Catholic poem. The name comes from the first line of the poem which is, Stabat mater dolorosa (The sorrowful mother was standing). It is a meditative poem on the sorrow of Mother Mary during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I has eleven other tracks related to the central theme.

I enjoyed the album. It is so beautifully composed.

Selected lyrics (English translation are italicized):

Cantus Lacrimosus

Stabat Mater dolorosa
Juxta crucem lacrimosa
Dum pendebat Filius.
At the cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful mother weeping, 
close to Jesus to the last. 

Cujus animam gementem
Contristantem et dolentem
Pertransivit gladius.
Through her soul, of joy bereaved,
bowed with anguish, deeply grieved, 
now at length the sword hath passed.

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater unigeniti!
Oh how sad and sore distressed
was that mother highly blessed,
of the sole-begotten One!

Quae maerebat et dolebat,
Pia Mater, dum videbat
Poenas nati incliti.
Christ above in torment hangs; 
She beneath beholds the pangs 
Of her dying glorious Son.

Vidit Jesum in tormentis

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
In tanto supplicio?
Is there one who would not weep, 
Whelm’d in miseries so deep
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

Quis non potest contristari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
Dolentem cum Filio?
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother’s pain untold?

Pro peccatis suae gentis
Vidit Iesum in tormentis,
Et flagellis subditum.
For the sins of His own nation,
she saw Jesus wracked with torment,
all the scourges rent.

Vidit suum dulcem natum
Moriendo desolatum
Dum emisit spiritum.
She behold her tender Child,
saw Him hang in desolation,
till His spirit forth He sent.

Eia Mater, fons amoris
Me sentire vim doloris
Fac, ut tecum lugeam.
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord.

Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
In amando Christum Deum
Ut sibi complaceam.
make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to grow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

Sancta Mater

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Pone nostro ducas plagas
Cordi fixas valide.
Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.

Tui nati coelo lapsi,
Iam dignati foeno nasci,
Poenas mecum divide.
Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Fac me tecum congaudere
Iesulino cohaerere
Donec ego vixero
Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn’d for me,
All the days that I may live.

Juxta crucem tecum stare,
Et me tibi sociare
In planctu desidero.
By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Namets! at Cinemalaya 2008

I was fortunate enough to watch feature films at this year’s Cinemalaya independent film festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines yesterday. (I was fortune because I had the luxury of time to travel from the hilly North Eastern Metro Manila to Manila Bay.  My friends and I jokingly dub the event as “cinemalayo” because of its very far venue.)

A film worth mentioning and is worth recommending is the digital film, “Namets!”  Namets is the Hiligaynon word for masarap/sarap in Filipino, yummy in English or sedap in Bahasa Malaysia.  The film was mainly in Hiligaynon (with English subtitles), a regional language (not a dialect) spoken in Western Visayas (Panay, Negros and Guimaras Islands).  As a Tagalog/Filipino speaker, I did not have any problem in watching the movie since Hiligaynon for me has similarities to Tagalog.

From the Cinemalaya programme:

Namets by Emilio “Jay” Abello is a colorful celebration of food as well as love, and the love of food above all, which is central to being Negrosanon and being Filipino. It follows the flirtation between Jacko and Cassie, two Negrenses who grew up in Bacolod, and whose lives revolve around food.

Aside from the main story, the movie interjects funny, delightful and amusing side stories in between scenes which are (not in order of appearance):

  1. Negros cavemen from pre-history accidentally discovering how to roast chicken while having a brawl.
  2. A young boy saving his pet chicken named Leonard, pet goat (I forgot it’s name) and his pet dog named Raymond.  He was saving them from his father who was starving for meat.
  3. A siopao maker who kneads his dough by squeezing it in between his hairy and sweaty armpits. He also sold an highly potent aphrodisiac to a wife of a security guard.
  4. The café manager who finds out why his Bacolod branch consumes the most sugar than other branches in the Philippines.
  5. The dialysis patents who is dying to eat his favorite Napleones (a famous pastry in Western Visayas) during his treatment sessions.
  6. The father who teaches his kids the proper and systematic way of eating Chicken Inasal (a barbecue chicken delicacy).

I learned about Negrense cuisine and contemporary culture. It made me realize that the 7,107 islands of the Philippines is unique and has its unique taste.  (In nearby places like Metro Manila and Rizal Province, local dishes such as Adobo and Menudo have their own twist.)

The acting of Angel Jacob and Christian Vazquez, while not worth an Oscar was good.  There was chemistry between the two.  

I would also commend the supporting role of Peque Gallaga. who played Boss Dolpo, mob boss.  His character did not speak at all except for his gibberish in between munching on his food and shouting “namet” in a scene while sitting in his pool.  He made his character funny and despicable yet memorable.  If Dame Judy Dench won a supporting actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love while delivering a few lines, Peque Gallaga perhaps deserves a similar accolade.

I encourage everyone to watch and support the film.  It was worth my time and the 100 pesos I paid for the ticket.  The film is not only recommended but also memorable.  I will not forget the funny scenes, how it made my mouth water and how hungry I was for Negrense food after watching the show.  I hope there really was a La Cucina Negrense in Bacolod.  It would have been a good excuse to fly to Bacolod City just to taste the dishes featured in the movie.

While I am not a film or entertainment professional who would know what makes a good film, Namets! is surely a good film and is perhaps one of the best and most unique Pinoy films this year.  The story telling, execution and technical aspects was superb.  

Namets has local commercial potential and is a nice entry for international film festivals.  It would be a big hit from the millions of Hiligaynon speakers alone.  It would be a great introduction to Pinoy food and culture abroad.  I hope the producers make DVDs soon.  A coffee table book or cookbook featuring Negrense recipes and food should also be developed.  I will be the first ones to buy them for myself and for my family and friends overseas.  

For more info on the movie please visit the official website (http://nametsmovie.com) and Multiply.com site (http://namets.multiply.com).  The film will be shown on 30 July 2008 at 7:00 PM at the Cine Adarna (UP Film Institute), University of the Philippines Diliman.

Ploning The Movie

I will surely watch this movie come April 30!
Official Trailer below: 

Official Website

Television Ad Clutter in the Philippines

Last Thursday night I had a chance to watch Ms. Cheche Lazaro‘s “Media in Focus” show on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC). It is an intellectual talk show on everything and anything about media in the Philippines.

The episode was interesting. It was about the imposition of the 18 minute per hour ad load for all the members of the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcaster ng Pilipinas (Association of Philippine Broadcasters) or the KBP.

The show had an interesting panel of guests and resource persons.

The first guest was Ms. Maloli Espinsa, who is the current President of the KBP. She talked about the stricter implementation of the load limit.

She said that the 18 minute rule is one of the higest in the region. [I did some research on Wikipedia and found out that 18 minutes was also the standard in US television.]

Asked about why 18 minutes, Ms. Espinosa said it was the optimal amount that will be quitable to the broadcaster, the advertisers and the viewers (in terms of clutter).

The penalty for members who are found guilty of violating the rule is 120% of the ad revenue in excess of 18 minutes.

Two years ago, the rule as relaxed because KBP members were at a commercial dissadvantage to those who are non-members of the KBP, namely GMA Network, Inc. (GMA-7).

Apprently, GMA-7 withdrew from the KBP last August 2003. Some people say that GMA quit the KBP because it was found guilty of violation to the ad load limit and was supposed to be heavily fined. [I now understand why the channel is full of ads and ever extends the time slots of its shows.] [Read news about GMA leaving the KBP here.]

Continue reading

Sarah Brightman – Let It Rain

Sarah Brightman performs Let It Rain, part of her new album, Symphony in Vienna, Austria

Sarah Brightman on the Early Show on CBS

Source: Wikipedia

Sarah Brightman performs two new songs from her new album on CBS’ Early Show. These songs are Symphony and Fleurs du Mal.

The video below is the German band, Silbermond’s original version of Symphonie. (in German)


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The Nannie Diaries

Source: Wikipedia

I was fortunate to watch the movie, “The Nanny Diaries,” staring Scarlet Johansson. This movie was touching and I had shed a tear in some endearing moments of the movie.

The movie is about a recent college graduate named Annie, played by Johansson, accepted the job of nanny to Grayer the child of Mrs. X.

It shows us the amazing role of nannies in today’s society not just in the United States but everywhere.

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I hope that nannies or household helpers around the world are treated as human beings and not as emotionless robots. They too are as human as their employers, they have the same needs as anyone else.

Quezon City court issues TRO against AGB Nielsen

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