Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Very Best of Gary Granada (For Me, Anyway)

As  I mentioned in the previous post, I'm a big fan of Gary Granada, one of the Philippines' premier songwriters/musicians.

Not only is he a talented musician, he is also a great entertainer. I remember a concert I attended where he launched the album which contained "Pag Natatalo Ang Ginebra", and, in between songs, he was fiddling with his guitar, when he said, "Alam nyo, kung may PBA nung panahon ng Katipunan, siguro si Bonifacio, Ginebra. (guitar fiddle) At si Aguinaldo, Alaska. (more guitar fiddling) Di ba, pareho silang American-coached?" to wild applause.

While I enjoy a lot of his music, several songs stand out, and, I've listed my personal favorites below. Note that I haven't listened to all of his music; looking at this particular site, I realize I still have a ways to go before I can say that I've listened to all of his work.


1. Bahay (lyrics here)

This is probably his seminal work; "Bahay" is the song which people tend to think of when Gary Granada is mentioned. It's not surprising, as it is a compelling social commentary on the way those in power treat the poor. What's sad is that, even more than two decades after this song was written, it's still relevant even today.

2. Pag Natatalo ang Ginebra (lyrics here)

I have to say, I'm not a Ginebra fan; I grew up with the Shell teams of Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, and Bobby Parks. That may explain why I love this song, but it's just so comical, as, in the song, Ginebra builds up a big lead, only to lose it all in the second half.  And Gary, the die-hard Ginebra fan, writes to express his rage at the loss.

3. Earthkeeper (lyrics here)

A number of Gary Granada's earlier work tended towards the spiritual. "Earthkeeper" was both spiritual and environmental. The Bukas Palad Music Ministry had a version of this that was wonderful to hear.

4. Salamat, Salamat Musika (lyrics and chords here)

An entry to the 7th Metropop Festival in 1984, and sung by Nanette Inventor, "Salamat, Salamat Musika" is Granada's answer to Abba's "Thank You For the Music", albeit with a jazzier tune. 

5. Philippines 2000 (lyrics here)

"Philippines 2000" is Granada's send-up of former President Fidel Ramos' plan for the Philippines, that the country would be developed by the year 2000. In the song, he pokes fun with a serious tone at the possible implications of Ramos' plan. Of course, Joseph Estrada became President in 1998, which probably put an end to Philippines 2000.

6. Kung Ayaw Mo Na Sa Akin (lyrics here)

In "Kung Ayaw Mo Na Sa Akin", Granada pokes fun at himself for his height, but manages to get the last laugh. 

7. Asin (lyrics here)

Salt is a necessary part of our lives, and Granada captures this, in the song "Asin", a folksy, catchy tune. 

8. Eroplanong Papel (lyrics here)

Former President Gloria Arroyo had her bangkang papel. I much prefer Granada's "Eroplanong Papel".

9. Thank You Once Again (lyrics and music here)

I like this song, and, sometimes, if I'm close to a particular class, I'll play it for them at the end of the school year. It's poignant, and yet it doesn't close the door on friendships made.

10. Aw, Shur

"Aw, Shur" is a skeptical look at the way politicians and government officials treat the environment.

11. Matandang Musikero (lyrics here)

"Matandang Musikero" is Granada's tribute to some of the older Filipino rock musicians, Jess Santiago, Heber Bartolome, and Pol Galang. In the last stanzas, he includes himself, and wonders if he will also be considered as one of them (of course, he is.). The last line, though, is hilarious.

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