On OMs and Singing Celebrities

Completed YMO’s pranayama workshop last week. As I’ve always said, I find pranayama more stressful than the asanas. I can’t really extend my breaths (yeah, excuses, excuses) and my 1:2 ratio, which is supposed to be 1 unit of inhalation to 2 units of exhalation, takes on a new meaning: 1 set of YT’s inhale-exhale is equal to my two sets, ha ha!

Well, YT said it’s like voice training (talking from experience? 😉 ) and I agree (because my singing under the shower improved?). He said another thing about the 21-om chanting (or chanting in general): that even if we follow our own breaths, we have to listen to the rest of the class, and that somehow we need to learn to blend with the group (a lesson that’s applicable not only in singing but also in any group work). We did 21-om chants at least twice already at the studio and each experience was certainly beyond words. Were we on the right key, hitting the right notes? Nobody bothered to check…but my guess is as good as yours. 😉

And I remembered our lesson as I watched ASAP’s tribute to the late President Aquino earlier this afternoon (not yet in youtube as of this writing). They’re a bunch of talented singers performing superbly…when singing SOLO. But during the finale, when they’re all singing together, everyone’s singing his/her lungs out, seemingly afraid to be outshone. Turn-off really.

Lack of talent with teamwork sounds better than lots of brilliance with ego. At least to me. And that’s applicable not only in singing but also in any collective work…like building this country.

*****

Let me segue to honoring the late President Corazon Aquino with the lyrics of Bayan Ko. If only I could (extend my breaths and) sing….

 

Ang bayan kong Pilipinas

Lupain ng ginto’t bulaklak

Pag-ibig ang sa kayang palad

Nag-alay ng ganda’t dilag

At sa kanyang yumi at ganda

Dayuhan ay nahalina

Bayan ko, binihag ka

Nasadlak sa dusa.

 

Ibon mang may layang lumipad

Kulungin mo at umiiyak

Bayan pa kayang sakdal liyag

Ang di magsanang makaalpas!

Pilipinas kong minumutya

Pugad ng luha ko’t dalita

Aking adhika,

Makita kang sakdal laya!

 

 

Philippines! My country, my homeland

Gold and flowers in heart abound

Blessings on her fate did love bestow

Sweet beauty’s grace and splendor’s glow

How her charms so kind and tender

Drove the stranger to enslave her…

Land of mine! In fetters kept,

You suffered as we wept.

 

 

Birds that freely claim the skies to fly

When imprisoned mourn, protest and cry!

How more deeply will a land most fair

Yearn to break the chains of sad despair.

Philippines! My heart’s sole burning fire,

Cradle of my tears, my misery…

All that I desire:

To see you rise, forever free!

(translation by Ed Maranan; source: http://hubpages.com/hub/Bayan-Ko-My-Country)

This song has accompanied almost every struggle since the turn of the century to recapture the visions and ideals of the First Republic — from the anti-American protest movement and millenarian revolts of the 1920’s and 30’s, to the resistance against the Japanese occupation in the 40’s, the student revolt of the 70’s and more recently, the 1986 “People’s Power” revolt that toppled the Marcos dictatorship. Original Tagalog lyrics by Jose Corazon de Jesus, melody by Constancio de Guzman.

Source: Philippine Graphic Centennial Yearbook.

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