Gary Granada Touches on Negative Comments Received on Philpop
by Philippine Popular Music Festival on Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 11:19am ·
Dear Len Clarino and Justice League Anonymous,
I am compelled to respond to comments pertaining to my inclusion in the Philpop music festival. I’ve heard that some people are questioning the integrity of the contest, but since I don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter account (Cooky Chua and my daughter helped me open one but after a short while I found it too laborious), I thought I had better things to do than take low blows from anonymous geniuses seriously. I suggest that you take up your cause in the open, invite the organizers and those whom you believe did you injustice in a public forum, or go full-throttle and file formal complaints or case before say the DTI for unfair competition or the regular courts for that matter. Nothing is more unhelpful than people who resort to name calling but disown their own names and conveniently hide behind a handle. So, come out in the open, organize a forum. I will attend. Tell it to my face.
The reason why I need to reply this time is because I personally read it myself in the Inquirer and the source whose name sounds familiar and real to me is actually mentioned. “Unprofessional” (by promoting a talent competition that will pick out 14 qualifiers with ‘one slot seemingly appearing reserved for you, in view of your endorsement.’) and “indecent” (you refused to accommodate a starving musician like the words to your song, “umusog-usog ng kahit konti?”), that’s what I’m accused of by a music industry professional named Len Clarino.
Why I appear in Philpop’s website endorsing the project? Because before Philpop launched the project, they asked for blurbs from people whose opinions they apparently thought would help promote the initiative. You do what little you can to help out.
Why I joined the contest? I actually told Ryan I may have to beg off because judging from what you hear over the radio these days, I am too old for such K-poppish stuff. Besides I stopped writing songs already since I turned 50, and limited myself to jingles and quick-buck projects. No more real writing for me, I’m in the wrong trade. I’m a dismal failure in this country. I probably hold the record for the most number of OPM songs recorded that Filipinos themselves never even once heard!
True-to-form optimist Ryan Cayabcab, however, dismissed it and even joked, “Sumali ka, idol ka nga e!” Again, if you really care about OPM, you put your slogans to actual work So I relented and wrote an entirely new piece, following the rules to the letter. You suggest that a slot was reserved for me? You are way off mark and completely out of tune. Mr. Len Clarino, you offend everyone involved in this little initiative, particularly the ones who screened the songs. But most of all, you offend me and my children. Do you have children of your own? Would they be happy to hear that their father qualified in a competition not because his work is good but because a slot is prearranged for him?
On the matter of giving others a chance, surely you don’t mean that if say Noel Cabangon needs materials for a new album he is making, the producers should exclude senior citizens and raffle off the tracks to young songwriters in the interest of OPM. The M in OPM is Music, not Musicians. What OPM needs in not young, old, amateur or veteran musicians. What is needs is literary and musical excellence alongside cultural integrity, from wherever and whomever we can source it.
Democracy is a most compelling idea. That is why we insist that everybody should have equitable access to food, shelter, health, education as well as be guaranteed free exercise of fundamental civil and economic rights. However, writing a novel, poem or song is a different animal. You want my job, show me what you’ve got. That’s what 10 of the 14 Philpop finalists were able to accomplish. They did not beg to be patronized. They earned their slots on the merit of their efforts and intelligence, not on your supposed sympathy for starving artists. So I treat them with due courtesy as my peers in this friendly and fun tournament. They paid for their ticket with honest to goodness creative labor, now they deserve to enjoy the thrill of the ride. Congratulate and honor them, just like they honored me when I was their age and competing with veterans during my youth not so long ago.
And then you offend my parents. I was not one who, as you say, “literally clawed his way up from the gutters.” I was a National Science Development Board scholar taking up Metallurgical Engineering at the University of the Philippines. That was what I gave up for OPM. But before I entered the music industry I was already doing movie themes and jingles for advertising which to this day remains to be my source of beer money. I was never a starving artist. I am of the conviction that a good artist who works hard enough will never starve. I chose to write songs, worked hard and never begged for favors or kind considerations from concerned good Samaritans like you.
If as you say I made it to a talent search you produced (frankly I don’t remember which one), surely it is not because you were the producer. You did not reserve a slot for me then, did you? I won it on the merit of my work. Give the Philpop organizers the same courtesy. You do not have a monopoly of decency and propriety in this world sir.
Finally, you speculate, “..wouldn’t you feel awkward that people would be talking (about) that somehow, (when) you shall receive your remuneration during the contest proper itself?” You seem to worry about me as though we were lovers. What people say about me is not your problem. In fact it’s not even my problem. And I doubt that the Filipino people will not make it their problem. People would be talking about me? That would be the day. Don’t flatter yourself dear.
I’ll tell you what my problem is. I’m reaching out to public institutions, policy makers, local government agencies, civil society leaders and the private sector in compiling resources for an advocacy towards local cultural content in the standard curriculum for basic education. Since you care about me deeply, would you care to contribute?