The person I cannot really forget about grade school is our Music teacher, Mr. Meynardo Lansangan. Apart from his odd and hilarious way of teaching, what he imparted to us remains so vivid in our memories. The reason for that is, what he taught us came through the world of music, that even if we don’t remember every line in every song, we can hum along the tunes of the Kapampangan songs that he taught us.
Instantly, all of us can sing "Atin Cu Pung Singsing", the most popular Kapampangan folk song. But because of Mr. Lansangan, I have in my mind and heart a lot of Kapampangan songs that maybe aren’t taught to young students nowadays. Kapampangan folk songs carry a playful and lively tune, and my personal favorite is "Iniang Malati Cu." The song speaks about how a kid spent a fun-filled childhood with his playmate. It also promotes traditional games such as piko and sintak, and even relates how simple life was back in the days when the song was written.
Other Kapampangan songs that I remember include Oyan na Ing Papel, O Caca O Caca, Aro Katimyas na nitang Dalaga, Ating Metung a Dalaga, and O Patag a Bunduk. Each of these songs has an amusing story that many of us can even relate to. How could I forget these songs when Mr. Lansangan let us memorize all of them and sing them in front of the class? Back then, we all made fun and took for granted learning these songs, but now as I look back, I would like to actually thank him for teaching us these songs.
As a member of the UAHS Choral Group, I remember the fun-filled days of practice that we have gone through in preparation for a local competition. One of the songs that we performed is "Iniang Malati Cu." Although we did not take home the prize, the experience and the opportunity to represent our school is indeed a valuable memory that I treasure until now.
One of the guilty feelings I have now that I am a parent is that my children grew up speaking Tagalog instead of Kapampangan. Both of them struggle in conversing and understanding our dialect and are more adept at speaking in English. I know I am not the only Kapampangan parent with this dilemma but all I can say is that our children are born at the age when technology is right at their fingertips. I am not saying that technology is to be blamed for this but I acknowledge that we parents also had a shortcoming when it comes to exposing them to the right environment and resources.
Fast forward to now that my older son is in Grade 7, and they are requested to sing Kapampangan songs. I find it very amusing that they are still being asked to learn these Kapampangan songs in the MAPEH subject. Then recently, I came across a very amusing music video of Arti Sta. Rita singing the "Pepatagal mu kung ASU" and "Ing Malsinta / Berya."
It was around 2004 when Arti Sta. Rita redefined Kapampangan music by giving new life to folk songs and even introducing new and original Kapampangan melodies. I was a part of Infomax Channel 8 when Personalan hosted by Ms. Mau Aquino and Mr. Rey Yumang first featured the group handled by Andy Alviz. I was lucky to have a copy of their album Pamanuli where my favorite Kapampangan ballad of the same title was included. The song lyrics are so touching especially the chorus where it sings, “Ika’y kanakung dalan, ika ing kanakung sikanan; Keng pangalili ika’y pamanuli; Ika ing sala ning kanakung bie.” Arti Sta. Rita now has become very famous both here and even abroad.
And so, I would like to commend Arti Sta. Rita and Mr. Andy Alviz for these efforts, especially for being visible on social media to advocate for the Kapampangan songs which we must always treasure and promote so that the next generations of our Kapampangan descendants will still be able to sing these wonderful songs and pass them on to the future Kapampangan generations.