Vispop 2

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Friday, June 27, 2014

I’VE been looking forward to listening to the finalists of Vispop 2, having been fascinated by last year’s output, especially “Balay ni Mayang,” which made it to the charts in Metro Manila, and my personal favorite, “Papictura Ko Nimo Gwapo.”

And wow did the organizers do one step better this time by producing for each entry lyric videos posted in Youtube. The six finalists are: “Dili Pa Panahon”; “Labyu Langga”; “Intergalactic Gugma”; “Habak”; “Kasikas”; and “Imong Bayani.”

Kenneth Corvera’s “Dili Pa Panahon” is a cutesy and funny song with a pop hook mixed with terrific rapping, definitely radio-friendly. Who can resist that the chorus, “Day ngisi gamay…”?


Jerika Teodorico’s “Labyu Langga” follows the familiar terrain that Marie Maureen Salvaleon started in “Papictura Ko..” Of course the playful arrangement of Jad Bantug makes the tune lovable and two to three replays make this addictive – an earworm.

Keith and Kaye Dinauto’s “Intergalactic Gugma” is highly ambitious and the computer-sound approach works quite well. At least there is now a Bisaya outer-space tune to connect to Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom,” Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” Carpenters’ “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” and the rock classic “Space Oddity” by David Bowie.

Gasser Perez is the brilliant standout composer in this year’s harvest with the all-out rock number “Habak” with its totally engaging lyrics about local mystical legends.

Eve’s Garden front man Bien Lobetos’ vocal delivery shines in this gem of a song.

This one can join the company of Visayan rock ditties such as Leon Kilat’s “Agta,” Ledger Line’s “Aninipot” and Junior Kilat’s “Hoy Agta.” The lyric video “Habak” is the best among the six.

Johnever Canlom ‘s “Kasikas” makes a statement on the tragedies that the people of the Visayas went through last year, and this could have served as anthem in the aftermath of the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda. The folk-rock feel of the song reminds me of two of the finest Cebuano artists in this genre, Manny Lapingcao and Rolly Wagas.

The “Made for Festival” entry is clearly “Imong Bayani” written by Michael Vincent Tuico. It has well-studied lyrics and pop-rock orientation that should please commercial radio stations. Hands down, interpreter Ralph Mallapre gets my vote as best vocalist.

Cebu radio stations should get these songs in their playlist otherwise they’d embarrass themselves when Manila and Mindanao broadcasters turn some of these into hits.

I take my hats off to the contest organizers and the music producers. You’ve done a great service to the advancement of Cebu music.

And to the public, let us support our musicians for they are genuinely creative and talented.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 28, 2014.


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