Costanilla: Dos Compañeros: teasing out laughter-A A +A
Sunday, January 27, 2013
OFFERING. Hours before the 33rd Cebu Popular Music Festival started, the Cebu Coliseum backstage was filled with smiling songwriters, interpreters and some friends as well as busy makeup artists and technical personnel. Co-emcee Apple Abarquez and this writer had to do a last-minute chitchat as we never had a lengthy run-through of our role prior to the grand finals night. Even the songwriting festival judges, led by Regional Trial Court Judge Simeon Dumdum Jr., had to converge at the backstage because the program director told them that each of them will appear before the spectators once his or her name is called by us after. Then they will go down and proceed to their respective seats fronting the stage. It was also an occasion for us at the backstage to renew personal relationships or mend broken friendships. But what made me happy was the collective statement of the participants: that they were there to perform for Señor Sto. Niño for whom the festival is dedicated as an annual event.
“It is our wholehearted offering for the Balaang Bata as He continues to bless and protect us Cebuanos,” they declared. What a wonderful manifestation.
Show. I also had a chat with Franklin and Bobby, a.k.a. Dos Compañeros, one of Cebu’s sought-after comic duos, about their participation as interpreters. “This is our debut appearance as Cebu Pop contestants but we are here not as finalists but as entertainers,” the two emphasized. They added that they just want to simply entertain the general public and that they are treating the festival as a show, not necessarily a competition. I commend the comic duo for their attitude. And they did entertain the crowd with their interpretation of an original composition written by Carlito Betito and Franklin himself, with matching backup dancers in colorful attire that we usually see in variety shows. Their song titled Entertainers Lang Kami tells the public that theirs is not an easy task. “Lisod pagpakatawa sa mga tawo apan mao kini ang among panginabuhi,” stresses a line of the composition. I fully agree.
Accompaniment. Then some of the interpreters sort of commented that there’s a big difference between live band and minus-one accompaniment in terms of overall performance when one sings before a large crowd. Again, I fully agree. True, there is really no substitute for live band accompaniment as it is more emphatic and powerful to hear compared to its canned counterpart. Of course, minus-one accompaniment is more economical for Cebu Arts Foundation Inc. and more practical on the part of the interpreters as they can rehearse their songs anytime and anywhere without live musicians involved. It has been five or six years already that the foundation resorted to the minus-one format; however, I heard from Didi Gullas that they may try to “resurrect” the live band accompaniment in next year’s Cebu Pop. He is the son of Rep. Eduardo Gullas, the father of the yearly competition.
Success. The success of this major cultural event can be credited to several factors but to me, the number one reason is the strong public support that it continues to enjoy since 1980. Every third Friday of January and wherever the Cebu Pop is held, people from all walks of life never miss it.
Yes, there were years when the festival was held in other venues like Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, University of San Carlos main gym and Sacred Heart School gym. The massive crowd has always been inspiring, a testament to their genuine love for Cebuano music. Long live, Cebu Pop!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 28, 2013.