I may have shed a tear or two
On its 25th year, Fête de la Musique is back in the country in collaboration with Alliance Française. We were all in attendance at the global phenomenon where music is celebrated in 700 cities in 120 countries yearly (for free!). The 55 themed pocket stages were set in different parts of the country, most notably in Poblacion, Makati where it turned into a full-fledged street party.
The Acoustic Sessions were held at the _GALLERY at ASPACE Greenbelt last June 22 where fans and music aficionados alike gathered at an intimate setting where artists can be vulnerable and share stories behind their songs—which admit it, at some point in our lives we related to. This year’s line-up included local acts I Belong to the Zoo, The Bloomfields, Johnoy Danao, Maya’s Anklet, Bea Lorenzo, Hoochie Coochie Mikkie, Reese Lansangan, Maude, Clara Benin, Sleep Alley, She’s Only Sixteen, Bita and the Botflies, Cheenee Gonzalez, Fitz Shioda and Inky De Dios.
I Belong to the Zoo
In true Pinoy hugot fashion, Argee Guerrero of I Belong to the Zoo proves that unrequited love remains a universal experience. He dedicated his most popular single Balang-Araw for the martyrs: “Para ito sa mga nagmamahal ng lubos pero hindi pinipili, at higit sa lahat, para sa mga tangang katulad ko. (This is for those who love fully but are never chosen, just like me.)” He ended with advice for would-be musicians, “If you are an aspiring singer or songwriter, ituloy mo lang…as long as it’s from the heart. I’m so happy that something negative in my life turned [into] something positive. Mag-aral ng mabuti at mag-trabaho ng maigi bago kayo lumandi. (Study and work hard before flirting.)” I concur!
The Bloomfields is back with their signature mellow sound—ala The Beatles—but with an edge. They’ve become unapologetic, with lyrics like “I don’t want another lover, but I don’t want to be alone” and “Don’t walk away from me!” (All we want to know is who hurt you?) They released their new album, A Drop in the Moon, this month eight years after Hit The Ground Running. This may have been the Acoustic stage but it didn’t feel like one for awhile; I'm not complaining at all.
With feel good love songs na sapul sa puso, it’s impossible not to be captivated by Johnoy Danao. His ballads encapsulate both beginnings of a relationship and being in the depth of it. He indulged the crowd with a sit-down performance—quite literally. He played his new song Harbour Bridge, which is a love letter from his wife. (Was that a tear?) Listen to his latest EP Troubadour Tales Chapter 2 here. A confession: I may have sheepishly smiled the entire time.
A crowd favorite was newcomer, Bea Lorenzo, who giddily graced the Fête de la Musique stage for the first time. The one-woman wonder simultaneously used instruments including a kalimba, an indigenous African instrument. She opened with her own rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. She expressed her intent behind her original single Imaginary Love: “A lot of people enter relationships thinking they’re ready for it but they realize they’re not. It talks about the certainty before you enter the relationship.” She ended with Ili (Hush), her “first child”. With her unique take on R&B and soul, watching her is truly a transcendental experience.
Hoochie Coochie Mikkie
Hoochie Coochie Mikkie delivers original singles fused with rock and roll and country; trust me when I say you’ve never heard anything like it. Though it was already his third stage for the day, he still delivered infectious energy, ending his set with Sagad—rousing both laughter and awe from the fired up audience.
The internet’s favorite multi-talented artist, Reese Lansangan, opened with Trophy Boy—the ultimate (throwback) single on unrequited love—much to her fans’ delight. She shared, “I wrote it for a classmate in college. Fast forward to now, I’m gonna sing at their wedding day.” (Ouch) A feeling of melancholy wrapped the room as she performed Machines and Men, which she wrote for her late father whose death anniversary she commemorates this week. She ended on a light note with the feel-good ballad Tenderfoot, a reminder to prioritize our hearts, mental wellness and health.
Pop-rock band Maude's vocalist shared his experience about entering a relationship that needed to stay hidden, which eventually bore fruit to Takda. He then dedicated the song Habol “para sa mga ka-text ‘yung ex kahit hindi na dapat.”
One of the most otherworldly voices around is Clara Benin. She opened her three-song set with Parallel Universe with Tom Story’s Gabba Santiago on the guitar. She recalled a vague memory from her first time attending the Acoustic Stage, soaking in the intimacy of the affair and promising herself that one day she’ll perform here too. Dreams really do come true because it’s her third straight year of doing so.
Photography Elisa Aquino
Art Alex Lara