Lea Salonga, traditional songs ang laman ng bagong album

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Ni NOEL D. FERRER

BAGO tumungo sa Broadway para sa paghahanda sa kanyang bagong musical na Once On This Island, nag-iwan ang ating Broadway Diva na si Lea Salonga ng isang groundbreaking recording project. 

LEA copy

Siya mismo ang pumili sa mga kantang kumakatawan ng three cultural regions at maraming wika, mula sa lifetime’s worth of research ni Maestro Ryan Cayabyab. 

Pinili ni Lea ang mga kanta base sa artistic at personal appeal sa kanya. May impluwensiya rin ang kanyang ina na kumanta sa kanya noon ng lullaby na Ili-ili pero ang buong album ay tatak Pinay Lea with all heart and grace. 

May titulong Bahaghari (Rainbow) ang bagong album ni Lea na nakatakdang ilabas sa November 3 via Naxos Distribution, “GLP Music’s latest release chronicling the traditional songs of the island nation,” sabi ng international releasing company. 

Namili ang producer ng young arrangers na sasakto sa musical settings ng powerful voice ni Lea, kasama na ang kapatid niyang nag-birthday kahapon na si Gerard Salonga.

“They are straightforward, highlighting the songs’ melodies, words, and Lea’s wonderfully expressive voice,” sabi ng producer. 

“This project felt like the perfect opportunity to introduce the languages of my country to a bigger world,” pahayag naman ni Lea. “A world that might not be aware of the intricacies and differences between these languages. As a Tagalog speaker, many of these tongues feel very foreign and strange, and since there’s always a danger that these languages won’t be spoken by future generations, there was a need on our part to preserve them in some way.”

Bahaghari joins GLP Music’s growing catalog. Founded by Angela Jackson and Rex Niswander, the label aims to deepen connections to language learning and preservation via compelling music.

Si Jackson ay may background sa media at corporate communications, a highly successful career that brought her into collaboration with international colleagues. Ito ang nagbukas sa kanya sa kahalagahan ng pagpapahayag ng wika sa kabila ng limitasyon ng panahon at distansya. 

She launched an education nonprofit Global Language Project, which brought language learning to under-resourced schools and learners. Jackson teamed up with Niswander to create musical projects that furthered these same goals — ang pagpapalaganap ng musikang nakabase sa kultura na maaaring mawala kapag hindi napangalagaan. 

Kaya aawitin ni Lea sa ilang endangered languages ang ilang laman ng album – at gagawan ng paraan na maiparinig ito sa lahat.

“There is a large Filipino diaspora in the US and around the world. They have very tight ties to their homeland, yet many children in the diaspora don’t learn Tagalog or one of the other languages,” paliwanag ni Lea. “We hope this album can become a resource for families and young learners in these communities, inspiring interest in these languages and their wonderful songs.”

Bukod kina Lea at Ryan, ang album designer na si Lucille Tenazas ay Filipina din; and the liner notes were written by Floy Quintos. They all share a real passion for the country and the language and the culture, a passion that’s audible on Bahaghari.

Ni-research ni Ryan Cayabyab ang musical traditions sa Pilipinas, at ang malalim na kaalaman niya sa Filipino music ay malaking bagay sa project.

“I had to choose the most popular folk songs from each region – but there are many to choose from!” sabi niya. “The Visayas region has other subregions but I chose one song each from the Cebuano and the Hiligaynon languages. In Mindanao, the main economic and cultural centers either speak Cebuano, Hiligaynon, or Tagalog.”

Gusto ni Mr. C na magkaroon ng diversity ng languages at maging musically interesting ang album na ito ni Lea. 

“The songs had to be varied in subject, in emotion and in tempo and rhythm,” sabi ni Mr. C. “The collection could not all be slow songs or only celebratory songs. We had to have a good representation not only of language but of a variety of subjects and emotions. This would hopefully make for a lovely aural spread.” 

Kasama sa Bahaghari ang Leron Leron Sinta, Sitsiritsit Alibangbang, Magtanim ay ‘Di Biro, Matud Nila, atbp.

“Because the arrangements were all so different from one another, I needed to stylistically adapt my vocals to fit them while holding on to my own voice and how I sing,” sabi ni Lea. “The more playful stuff, like Pobreng Alindahaw, was just so much fun to do in the studio, and some of the more dramatic music, like Matud Nila, was straight from the heart. The melodies are just as informative as the lyrics, so I latched on to them.” 

Kaya hindi lang magiging pang-aliw ang album kundi panggising din sa ating kamalayang pangkultura at makabayan. 

Kapuri-puri ang Bahaghari project na ito ng ating national treasure na si Lea Salonga.