Sunday, October 7, 2007

On "Lupang Hinirang"

When the girls were little, we'd have a little talk or story before bedtime. There was a night I decided to bring up and explain the National Anthem. I heard them use sing-song voices and syllabicate so I knew they had no idea what they were singing.

Their ears picked up when we got to: Duyan ka ng magiting, Sa manlulupig, 'Di ka pasisiil. (Cradle of noble heroes, Ne'er shall invaders, Trample thy sacred shores).* I swear there were tears in their eyes when we got to the last part: Aming ligaya, na 'pag may mang-aapi, Ang mamatay nang dahil sa 'yo (But it is glory ever, when thou art wronged, For us, thy sons, to suffer and die).* I was so proud of my girls!

Today, as we await the Pacquiao-Barrera rematch, I must admit feeling apprehensive about R&B Princess Kyla's rendition of "Lupang Hinirang." Remember Geneva Cruz? I'm not the only one who feels this way. The article "What’s The Proper Way To Sing The National Anthem?" by Eliza Victoria appears in today's Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Aside from [Sarah] Geronimo, singers Lani Misalucha, who sang in the first Pacquiao- Morales bout on March 19, 2005, and Bituin Escalante (July 2, 2006, Pacquiao vs. Larios at the Araneta Coliseum), also took vocal liberties in their renditions of the National Anthem.

Jennifer Bautista, who sang in the Pacquiao-Morales rematch on Jan. 21, 2006, went off-key on the song’s last word.

At the Sept. 16, 2007 match between reigning world bantamweight champion Gerry PeƱalosa and North American Boxing Federation bantamweight champion Bernabe Concepcion in Alabang, Christian Bautista delivered an abbreviated version of the song when he missed the lines, "Buhay ay langit sa piling mo / Aming ligaya na ’pag may mang-aapi."

How will Kyla measure up to previous performances? Azucena at the Peyups forums predicts:

na iimagine ko na ang version ni kyla ng national anthem..."bahayang maghiliw' heheh may kulot kulot pa... sa lahat ng kumanta ng ating national anthem eh dalawa lang daw ang nkakanta ng tama...c lea salonga n nkalimutan ko yung name ng isa. prang singer noon. galeng talaga ni leah!!!!

However, according to the Philboxing website:
There’s no stopping Solar Entertainment Corporation, MP Promotions and TV Partner “Kapuso” GMA 7, in making sure the Philippine National Anthem will be done in the most professional way. The partners agreed that GMA will handle the assigning of [Kyla], in this light, the partners have been careful in deliberating and painstakingly ensured that our national anthem will be delivered in accordance to world class standards.

Originally written as a march, it's frustrates me no end when Filipino artists of note stylize the song. They sing it to the tempo of "The Star-Spangled Banner!" Actually, it should be more like "Hail To The Chief" but prouder. How difficult is that!? The Inquirer article adds:

Teodoro Atienza, heraldry section head of the NHI’s (National Historical Institute) Research, Publications and Heraldry Division, said that when sung “at the proper pace,” the national anthem should last from only “53 seconds to less than a minute.”

I'm holding my breath, it's Kyla's turn to sing.

She was terrific! It was no more and no less than what "Lupang Hinirang" was meant to be. The Filipinos in the audience sang along, not worried that she was going to alter it midway. But doesn't Manny Pacquiao know the lyrics?

I now present my girl...KYLA!

*This translation was made by Senator Camilo Osias and Mary A. Lane and was made official by an act of the Philippine Congress in 1938. As such, it is the canonical English translation of Filipinas and is being taught in Philippine schools (along with the official Filipino text and the original Spanish lyrics). Source: Wikipedia

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