MUSIC REVIEW: Global Cooling: music from the “great peaceful womb”

Thus sings Maree Contaoi in the song “Inang Kapayapaan,” which she wrote for Global Cooling: the first Mothers for Peace Singout and Songwriting Competition.

A competition designed solely for women, Contaoi is one of the 10 finalists whose entries are now recorded in the CD of the same title.

Global Cooling is a merry mix of beautiful women’s thoughts and voices ages 21 to 52, and of various musical genre—folk, pop, rap, r&b, soul, and jazz.

Grand prize winners Maan Chua and Gauss Obenza make us proud with “Dahon, Puno, Ugat, Lupa,” a song thanking nature.  Obenza embeds rapturous, mantric music to Chua’s down-to-earth lyrics, and Maia Tampoy’s piano instrumental tickles and embraces the heart as sweet mother to a child:

          Dahon, dahon, hatid sariwang hangin / Leaf, leaf that brings fresh air
          Hayaang langhapin mapayapang hangarin / Breathe in the peaceful aspiration
          Puno, puno, punuin ng pagmamahal / Tree, tree, fill with love
          Puso ng bawat mamamayan / The heart of every person

Second prize winner Gauss Obenza takes us a-thompin’ with the sound of soul in “Celebrate, Glorify, Spread the Peace,” a piece that calls on women to come out and rock the world:

          Women from everywhere, come, initiate
          Reclaim your power and run your fate
          At home or at work we’ve a mission to embrace
          Let’s celebrate womanhood

Marstephen Bajao’s arrangement lends vibrance to third prize winner Sheila Labos’ upbeat and electronically programmed “Time to Be Free,” a song that provides hope amid images of poverty and destruction:

          There are faces of war  That we long to erase
          There are faces of hope  That we want to embrace
          We still have our chances  This is the time to be free

The voice of the youth speak through Angel Josol’s verbose and hummable rap number “Ang Buhay.” Curiously delightful, the song posits several views on humanity’s situation and the confusion and determination that accompanies life’s contradictions.

          Ang kapalaran mo ikaw ang siyang gumagawa / You carve your own fate
          Gumawa ka ng tama at hindi masama / Do what is right and not what is wrong
          Mag-isip ng positibo at hindi negatibo / Think positive and not negative
          Para pagbabago sa buhay tuluyan mong matatamo / So that you will eventually
                    achieve change in your life

Nice Montante’s “Magakos Kang Muli” is a sorrowfully sweet song about an unknown,  nameless dead child in the hands of a woman, exquisitely woven in both Tagalog and Bisaya languages.  Sheena Mae Onlos’ flirtatious “Supermama” avers that ordinary mothers may not have Darna’s stone or Krystala’s stars, but they have powers of their own:

          I don’t bring weapons
          Nor ammunitions
          Love is what I bring  
          Peace I will sing

My second favorite song, “Katumanan” by Maia Tampoy is an inspiring piece of luscious pop melody and simple words of encouragement:

          Apan dili sa tanang panahon / But not at all times
          Mubundak ang kusog nga ulan / Does the rain pour heavily
          Mulurang ra kini sama sa pagsulay / This, too, shall subside, like all trials
          Kung musalig kita / If we have trust

Lynne Prieto Bustamante’s “Wish Ko Lang Naman” transports me to the early ’80s when folk songs backed up by an acoustic guitar and a flute were the fashion.  Joy Lapinid provides the perfect girl-next-door voice to the simple wish for a peaceful life.

And Boots Dumlao’s incantation in “I am You are We are” sung by Fayebelle Mayo, embraces humanity as one, and “of the great peaceful womb.”

This album is, by far, my greatest gift to myself.  I can listen to it every hour, everyday.  When women’s voices come to me in song, not in slogans, in poetry, not in political statements, I listen. Because music speaks through the heart, and to the spirit.

The competition and CD production, organized by the Mothers for Peace movement and Mindanao Commission on Women is supported by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).  Go to www.mothers4peace.com to listen to sample cuts and find out how to get your copy of this great collector’s item. (Geejay Arriola/MIndaNews)

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