Sunday, January 18, 2009

To cope with the crisis, sing with 1622: Unang Usbor—in Lipa

The global financial crisis may have forced the United States not to invite any king, queen, prince, emir, caliph, czar, emperor, prime minister, or president to the Barack Obama inauguration on January 20, and although this may not be the reason as I only took my creative license to insinuate it, the news that no world leader had been sent an invite to the Obama swearing-in was a mild surprise.

Are the Americans again reverting to its insular attitude amidst the globalization of, well, the globe?

Or, ging iismot si Obama sa kalibutan?

Another news, the one that says the Arab world lost trillions of dollars in the current global financial meltdown, was expected.

Who will not lose stratospheric amounts if you produce the world’s oil and then suddenly find yourself waking up in the morning that people are using gaos it amo—not oil—to run their cars? You will lose. Terribly.

But it’s not only the Americans and the Arabs who have lost their shirts because of the crisis. Wide swaths of the population in Europe, Africa, Oceania and Asia are agroaning under the crushing weight of the crisis.

Joblessness is beginning to take its toll in many countries, including the Philippines. If there is high unemployment, hunger could not be far behind and after that could follow social and political upheaval that could engender a war.

Pray, therefore, that the world would not be plunged into another horrific spectacle of nations fighting one another, although if that could not be prevented, I doubt if it would last long given the technology and instruments of death that man has developed. We could evaporate in a touch of a button if a war erupts.

Some may scoff at my pessimistic reading of the current global situation, but actually this is just my way of taking off to a more positive look at what’s happening around us.

Here in Lipa City, for example, one such happening that excites me is a concert.

Yes, a concert. You will ask why, in the midst of a crisis, one would go to a concert?

The answer is simple.

It is because during a crisis, the best way to cope is to sing. Sing when you can not laugh your way to the bank. Sing when many people around you are weeping.
Or about to weep.

Just sing.

But don’t sing alone. Sing in a concert with a band that’s not affected by the crisis because in the land where its members come from, the sea and the mountains are generously sufficient to meet their and their neighbors’ needs.

That’s true. People are fond to recite an aphorism that “no man is an island”—that’s poet John Donne’s line, but I tell you, island peoples such as us, the Sibalenhons, the Banto-anons, and the Simaranhons, are abundantly satisfied with what we have, which are the simple things in life.

1622: Unang Usbor is not simple, however. It is grand. And it will come to Lipa on the 15th of February, not just to sing and entertain, but also to unwrap for our delectation and delight a unique musical culture, aged and sweetened by time—and timelessness.

1622: Unang Usbor is Romblon’s first homegrown musical group whose repertoire is completely in Asi, our identity and our language.

Asi is an ancient tribe with a rich language heritage. It is this heritage that the concert will highlight, through music. The concert aims to instill among the Asi Romblomanons pride of their identity, to reawaken their consciousness about their cultural legacy, and to promote Asi music outside of Romblon.

If this does not appeal to you, I don’t know what will. Perhaps you are busy coping with the financial crisis. You might have just lost your job or still finding one. You might have a problem that presently occupies your mind, preventing you from wandering into the music world. Or you might not be interested in anything related to your cultural roots. You might not even have an ear for music.

That’s fine. But did you know that many Romblomanons are coming to the concert not simply because of cultural reasons?

They will watch the concert because amidst the global noise emitted by the current crisis and by shrieking politicians, they know that music, in whatever form or language, is the only art that affirms the certainty of hope.

And who will not want to have a hope certain in a world where disease, war, poverty and environmental degradation are suffocating us to death?

Who would not want to hope that life would be better in a world where uncertainty and doubts cloud the mind almost every second of your waking hours?

Indeed, who would not want a day off from the demands of work and spend it in the company of friends while listening to true musical sounds by the gifted band?

Kusog Sibalenhon, which is organizing the concert, the band’s first in Lipa, is nervously excited about the event because it may run out of tickets and seats to the 1,000 person-capacity CAP Auditorium. That’s along the national highway before the Lipa City bus stop.

So, if you are not doing anything worthwhile on Sunday, February 15, (or even if you are doing something which you believe will affect world history, but think it could be deferred for another day), come to Lipa City for the concert.

Bring your date if you have to because there will also be a post-Valentine dance at the concert.

How’s that for a hard sell?

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