Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Non-Travel: EARTH DAY 2001

It was billed as a musical rally, not a concert. It called to mind the image of fly-overs full of people in black, doing the can-can while an orchestra played Broadway music from the Shrine. The soundtrack is made available on compact disc and cassette. The curtain call took days.
Back in the land of we all like to call Reality…

I pull the last piece of tissue from its packaging to mop up the sweat pooling on my nape. Who knew the Folk Arts Theater could get this warm? Seems like it gets hotter and hotter in there every year. Could it be, gasp, global warming? I would soon find out as the Philippine Male Chorale launched into their mucho masculine take on the national anthem. Men who sing in harmony, bless them.

A musical rally, apparently, is a show that combines musical guests and socio-political discussions. Speakers from organizations like Greenpeace, COCAP, and Sagip Pasig introduced the issues while host Jamie Wilson and musicians filled the time in between.

After an informative discussion on clean air - and how in Manila this phrase is a myth - the Makiling Ensemble chanted up a storm. As usual, they sounded solid, paying homage to Mariang Makiling and our tribal roots. Following the alter-native slant of the evening Noel Cabangon reprised his role as Christ in last year's JCS production by performing a minor miracle - changing his guitar string while singing. His was a soulful voice that walked on air. I vowed to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle from then on end.

Bands usually dedicate their songs to loved ones, children and people they are courting. Not Color It Red. In the spirit of eco-friendliness, it was dolphins that got a shout out from Cooky Chua. Might I just mention that they sound even better with a saxophone? Color me green and blue and call me Mother Earth's newest planeteer.

What is the sound of DNA strands tweaking? Listening to Cynthia Alexander play and then recalling sibling Joey Ayala's music might give you an idea. Damn but that woman can sing! A long time planeteer herself, Lou Bonevie came out strong as the evening's resident Ms. Energy. Asin added smack to the evening while salt flavored water continued to run down my neck. Then Grace Nono's haunting voice floated through the air. I was caught in the moment.
Perfect sequencing brought on Pinikpikan to close the evening's rally cum concert. As expected, they rocked. And the weary masses boogied on their feet to the tribal beat. Millions of miles away, a baby seal was dying so that a Manhattanite could have something chic to wear.

All in all the show ran too late and too long. There were speakers who got carried away in the fervor of their speeches. And artists who played longer than they should have. But in the end, what's a little time and sweat when it's for a good cause?

Go forth and litter no more!


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