From pain to pop

Connecting hearts through Bisaya hugot songs
Mau Ria
Mau RiaPhoto by Ikaura Studio Panabo

Cata Mauria Pama, known affectionately as Mau Ria by her fans, is a Davao-based musician whose heartfelt songs and empathetic nature have made a significant impact on the local music scene. Her melancholic nature fuels her music.

"I am deeply affected by the world around me. I channel this empathy into my art, creating works that evoke strong emotions," Mau Ria shared in an interview with SunStar Davao. 

Mau Ria's musical journey began in Grade 5 when she turned to songwriting to cope with the pain of losing a close friend who transferred school. 

"Wala ko kabalo unsaon bitaw pag deal sakong pain so didto gisulat nako akong gibati sa notebook, mao to akong unang kanta nga nasulat," she recalled. 

Her passion for songwriting grew, leading her to join workshops that refined her skills and set her on the path to music.

Songwriting became an avenue for Mau Ria to express emotions she couldn't otherwise convey. She realized that her experiences and those of others could be shared through music, which is the best she can offer to others. 

Her songs, often written in Bisaya, resonate with themes of love, heartbreak, and personal growth, aiming to create a deep connection with her audience. 

Mau Ria's style is modern pop, with a significant portion of her repertoire consisting of "hugot" songs in Bisaya. She continues to experiment with different styles, always striving to grow as an artist. Her music not only entertains but also conveys powerful messages about human experiences and emotions.

Winning the MinPop 2020 (Mindanao Popular Music Festival) with her heartbreaking song A.M., was a pivotal moment in Mau Ria's career, opening doors to numerous opportunities. This victory also allowed her to connect with other artists, which then led to the formation of the "Tagum Songwriters" community, dedicated to elevating the original music scene in Tagum. 

"My most rewarding experience is hearing my fans sing along to my songs at gigs," she said, highlighting the personal impact of her music on her audience.

Mau Ria acknowledges the challenges she faces as a musician, particularly self-doubt and financial sustainability.

There are always 'what ifs,' but I remind myself that life is short, and the things I worry about now won't matter in the end.
Mau Ria

She emphasizes the importance of persistence and finding ways to sustain her art, such as DIY production and securing paid gigs.

The Tagum Songwriters community and Holodeck Productions have been significant sources of inspiration for Mau Ria. Their support and dedication to the Davao music scene motivate her to continue creating and performing. 

"Ilang pagpaningkamot na mahatagan ang tanan og platform para madungog, it keeps me going na buhaton nako ang best para mahimo sab nga inspiration sa uban nga magpadayon nga dili mahadlok mogama og mo-awit sa iyang kasing-kasing," she said. 

Mau Ria is committed to promoting the Davao Region through her music.

Daghan kaayo tag ika-offer labaw na sa atong musika, tinuod man gyud tung ingon nila na 'dili lang Manila ang OPM.
Mau Ria

Mau Ria also strives to create Bisaya songs and support homegrown talents not just in Davao but throughout Mindanao. Her latest single, "Ugma Mamatay Ra Ta," with J Florence, emphasizes the beauty and worth of Mindanao and its people.

To aspiring musicians, Mau Ria advises: "SHOW UP and embrace all discomforts. You never know if the next 'hit song' will come from you, but it won't happen if you don't start now. Timan-i, your stories are worth telling ug hibaw-i nga naay padulongan ang tanang pagpaningkamot."

"Mo-undang ra ta’g sulat og mamatay na ta, nya kay buhi pa man ta... Hala! Abante, Songwriters!" she said.

Mau Ria is enthusiastic about upcoming events in Davao's music community, including the Kadayawan Festival, MinPop 2024, and the Mindanao Tour with J Florence and other Mindanaoan artists. 

"The recent success of Duaw Davao and Fête de la Musique Davao has set the stage for more exciting happenings," she ended. 

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