PRODUCTION – LIBRETTO Nonoy Gallardo RESEARCHERS Aurora Quadra / Miralyn Gamba LYRICS / MUSIC Gary Granada FEMALE VOICES: Bayang Barrios / Lani Misalucha MALE VOICES: Noel Cabangon / Gary Granada AUDIO ENGINEER Benjie Sengson PRODUCER Angie Quadra
May I dedicate this little work to a town called Maco where I was born and raised (though not vertically) not through formal piano lessons (for I have yet to learn how to read music) but on affirmations from family, friends and teachers in a joyous community. There, for six months, I worked on the songs of this musical as a commissioned professional, but what truly sustained my spirit was the very same candid folksy affection of a lively people in a small place with a big river and a bigger heart that can only be Maco, ever my home.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE
This is not the soundtrack of the actual musical, obviously. This recording represents the original intention of the composer (sort of a composerâ€™s cut). A recording of the music used in the play should be available soon. We are quite sure you will enjoy both versions, but expect a couple of differences. One, as compositions, the emphasis of this version is the melodic line rather than the orchestration and choral harmony (note the very bare instrumental arrangements and choir parts rendered in unison). And two, in this one there is a deliberate attempt to engage Rizal in a theoretical mess. For instance, while admiring Rizalâ€™s El Filibusterismo, Jaena questions the vagueness of Rizalâ€™s political agenda. Also, Bonifacio is dismayed by Rizalâ€™s apparently confused loyalties while living his own confusion in continuing to use Rizalâ€™s name as figurehead of the Katipunan. And so forth.
On the side, all these talk about revealing â€˜the human side of Rizalâ€™ doesnâ€™t make sense, as if to be truly human is to be truly mediocre. Rizal is human, because it is truly human to be very passionate about oneâ€™s convictions and pursue such very truly human things as liberty, equity, justice, progress and self-determination. It is truly human to be really intelligent and to work real hard and to have real fun. It is truly human to invest the prime of oneâ€™s life in humanityâ€™s enduring quest for human compassion and human solidarity. Unless of course weâ€™re saying there arenâ€™t too many human Filipinos.
The Musical Sino Ka Ba, Rizal
Andres Cristobal Cruz
Asking “Sino ka ba, Rizal,” and attempting to answer it through a musical is risky. But Rizal himself might have enjoyed the musical, on both the tape and the free to the public Quirino Grandstand presentations. There is no question mark to the title.
I watched ringside, as it were, the musical on People’s Television. And either the stage microphones or the channel itself was defective. What I could have done was to play the four tapes as the musical progressed from Rizal’s Ateneo to Madrid, Hong Kong, Dapitan and Bagumbayan. But Sino ka ba, Rizal on stage and the musical on tape were different, very different from each other
The stage production was by Music Theater Philippines (Celeste Legaspi sent me an invitation). On television, however, whoever was director should be given minus-A for effort, but a bravo! for focusing on Ogie Alcasid’s real tears in his last scene (I could almost hear the girls in the audience in front saying, “Umiiyak! Umiiyak si Ogie!”). People’s Television directors for musicals in the future should study the play, the characters and the episodes well. It would help to have more cameras. We need not remind PTV-4, directors hired and otherwise that a musical or a play or an opera is not news coverage.
The musical on stage, although with no sets (except a poorly made papier-mÃ¢chÃ© statue of Rizal, a chair and a table for Rizal) was much too episodicâ€”one song, one scene with dim lights in between. But then the musical moves in time and space, from Rizal’s boyhood in Calamba to his execution at Bagumbayan.
The recorded musical
The original libretto of Sino ka ba, Rizal is by Nonoy Gallardo and the music was written by Gary Granada. The four tapes to the musical are sung by Lani Misalucha and Bayang Barrios, by Noel Cabangon and Gary Granada. Granada, as his admirers say, has long gone back to the family bakery in Maco, Davao, where Gary says he worked on the musical which he dedicates to Maco.
Gary adds that “what brought out the better composer in me…was the very same candid, folksy and real affection of a lively people in a subtle place with an attitude that can only be Maco. Ever my home.”
Gary composed 36 songs for Sino ka ba, Rizal.
The melodies are very fluent. Words and lyrics can be sung easily, and some are even memorable. I liked best “Leonor, Leonor,” which recalls the movie West Side Story’s “Maria, Maria”:
Si Leonor…si Leonor…
Leonor, Leonor, Leonor, Leonor
Mi solamente amor
Tuwing ang mukha mo’y nasisilayan
May kung ano’ng tumutunaw sa tuhod ko
The musical’s libretto on tape has Rizal singing Di na nakapagpaalam, but on stage at the Quirino Grandstand it was Rachel Alejandro who sang the song beautifully. The stickler to the original libretto would object because the sentiment in the song is Rizal’s, not Leonor’s (Rachel). For 1997 (proclaimed Diwang Filipino Year, not Bonifacio Year to mark the centennial of his death on May 10, 1997), we need a musical like Sino ka ba, Rizal on tape and on stage, and certainly on television for appreciation by Filipinos here and abroad.
Site Editor’s Notes: MTP originally comissioned Gary Granada to write the songs for the stage musical. These compositions for Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal are recorded on a double cassette, boxed album (now in double-CD) released by Backdoor Records. The music used for the staged MTP musical, however, was not Granada’s.â€“mabq
photo by joshbousel