Life’s playlist

I never really thought about making a playlist of my life, but sometimes, you hear certain songs and you go “I want that to be played in my (insert monumental life event here).”

Sometimes it scares me, because there are times when I don’t want to think about some of those events. For example, while I don’t want to think about my death, I knew I wanted Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” to played during my funeral. You might think it’s pretty weird to play that song, given its title, but somehow, I find its beat appropriate. Especially since there’s a part near the end where I feel like getting up and dancing. Incidentally, the song is from their album entitled “Funeral” so I guess it still fits.

Then there are the love songs. I don’t particularly think of myself as a fan of love songs, even though I do like a good romantic movie or story. More like, I don’t subscribe to the blatantly obvious and much overly used love songs, like “It Might Be You” or whatever comes from the discography of bands from the 70s and 80s. I like the songs that aren’t obviously about love, but when you listen closely, you go “Hey, it is about love!”

Take this song, Fiction Plane’s “Denied“. Again, you wouldn’t think of it as a particularly romantic song given its title, but it’s one song I wouldn’t mind being played at my wedding (whenever that is).

I can actually add a lot more to this not-really-love-songs list, but I’ll leave it as is.

One of my writer friends has a playlist for each book she writes. I don’t know how effective that is, because I haven’t really tried, but sometimes you do hear a song that you know fits a particular moment. Whether it’s the lyrics or it’s the tune, you know that song fits just right there.

Maybe the next song I’ll be able to place in my life playlist would be for when I win the lotto? :p

Drumming the night away: Wadaiko Yamato

I remember hearing about Yamato: Drums of Japan from my cousin Miel a few years back. Japan Foundation Manila invited them for a performance and she was able to attend. I’ve been wanting to see them but I somehow keep missing the schedule and ending up hearing about it after the event.

Thankfully, through the power of social media, I was able to learn about it early on. I called JFMO to reserve some seats for tonight’s performance (July 10) and dragged various family members to go with me. Partners in crime: my sister Oski, Miel and her boyfriend Vero. Did I mention that this is for free?

Yamato, or Wadaiko Yamato is a performing group of taiko drummers formed in 1993 by Masa Ogawa in Nara, Japan. Ogawa was originally part of another wadaiko group but left to form Wadaiko Yamato. Initially, the group had ten members, five men and five women. While it wasn’t unusual for women to play in such a group, the female members of the Wadaiko Yamato play the same drums as the male members.

In an interview with BBC some years ago, Ogawa said that Japanese drums have a similarity to African drums, where they were used mainly for communication either amongst the people or to their gods and ancestral spirits. Western drums are mostly instrumental in fuction. Wadaika Yamato tries to combine both. (You can read more about the interview with Ogawa here)

We arrived just minutes before the performance began. There was already a huge crowd inside so even if we had reserved tickets, we weren’t able to get seats. No matter, since Sky Dome’s structure made it possible to view the stage from any angle (so long as someone doesn’t stand in front of you). Flash photography was prohibited, although there were marshals asking people not to take pictures at all. After I got told off after taking several pictures, I turned it off.

It’s not my first time to hear a taiko performance, but obviously, it was my first time to hear them live. The first strike of the drumstick on the surface of the drum is unforgettable. It reverberates deep down, you just don’t hear it, but feel it as well.

For nearly two hours, we were treated to a world class performance by excellent artists. It wasn’t just a musical experience, but also a visual one. The Yamato performers moved along with the beat of their instruments, and even had entertaining skits that had the audience laughing and participating.

It wasn’t just all drums too. One of the performances had the female members all playing shamisen, a three-stringed guitar-like instrument that is played with a bachi (think of big guitar pick). Another performance had the male members playing with small cymbals, while in their encore number, one of the female players had a flute.

Watching them perform would give you an idea that it wasn’t just a matter of hitting the drums. For one, the muscles on the drummers’ arms would tell you that it takes a lot of effort. Each member, including the females, would definitely need to have have strong arm muscles to be able to play tirelessly for nearly two hours. And it wasn’t just the arms. They moved around the stage, jumping and dancing. Sometimes they’d carry the drums around while playing them. I tell you, the energy that’s flowing from them will make you feel like you’ve performed as hard as they have after the show.

I’m stoked that I was able to get the chance to watch them. If they come back, I’ll definitely go see them again.

The Final Set

I’m betting that there’s already plenty of blogs out there talking about last night, The Eraserheads: The Final Set. I don’t think I’ll add my thoughts, as I still don’t feel quite organized about it. Just that it was truly amazing. Especially after the guys came back onstage after the grand finale and tribute to Francis M., to sing three songs that wasn’t part of the playlist. Ely even fumbled the lyrics to “Ligaya” but the guys just went along and at the end, he just said “Tapos na?”

Amazing.

My post about it before I headed to sleep.

another day

I realized that I have an entry for each February 14 since I started blogging. Reading back, they were mostly write-ups about my day more than being about the holiday itself, though I also realize that I wasn’t really at home during those days. Some, I was at work, then out with friends. It was only once that I was home because I was sick.

Today, I was out again. Spent most of the day with Den, sending out the books we sold as well as going on a food trip. I indulged in some ramen, strawberry milk tea, gelato, New York Cheesecake from KK and coffee. Hungry much?

Met my cousin Miel later on to watch Boyce Avenue at The Block. I’ve heard of them before but haven’t really listened to any of their songs (covers or original), so I checked them out on mySpace. I like their cover of “Disturbia”.

They’re pretty good musicians, and good looking guys too. A few of their songs remind me of the Goo Goo Dolls, maybe due to the guitar intros. I’m crushing on Stephen Hatker hehe.

There were some “fail” moments though, but it was mostly thanks to the girls behind Miel and me. They were noisy, rude and complaining how boring the band was if they didn’t play cover songs. Well, duh. They’re not a cover band, even if that’s where they started.

Winner moment: During the intro of one of their songs, Miel and I were guessing what it was. I said, “Wonderwall yan. Oasis,” and I was right. However, I heard one of the girl shout, “Thunder!” Later on, she (or her friend) said, “Ay, Winding Road ata.” Miel and I just about died laughing.

Dinner was a gourmet home-cooked meal. Watched Ploning and now planning an inuman session. Happy V-day to you all!