Nag-iisa lang ang Bayang Barrios.
70s Bistro packed. Shrieking audience. The artist in her element. The band ready.
She opens her show with Popong Landero’s “Malaya.”
Singlaya ng ihip ng hangin
Singlaya ng agila sa himpapawid
Singlaya ng agos ng batis
There isn’t a song to throw away in her new album, MALAYA, her fifth, a re-birthing to songs of her heroes—Lolita Carbon, Gary Granada, Joey Ayala, Sammy Asuncion, Onie Badiang, and husband Mike Villegas.
She tells a story or two about the songs, saying for example that “Gising na Kaibigan” of Lolita Carbon is a favorite since her high school days. “Alam ko lahat ang kanta niya,” she says.
She tells how she misses singing Joey Ayala’s “Bathala,” that she would exert every effort to follow him in his gigs so she could sing it with him. Bayang profusely thanks Joey for allowing her to include the song in this album; and for adding two more, “Bata Batuta” and “Awit ng Mortal.”
The artist and the song, “Bathala” could be a most solemn prayer one could ever recite, or sing.
Gary’s “Iisa” is her favorite, too. Two of my favorite artists sharing the same stage blows me away.
Ang kalayaan mo’y kalayaan ko
Ang digmaan mo’y digmaan ko
“Sa kadulo-dulohan handang sumama sa iyo.” — Gary’s “Iisa” is romanticism in tune.
There are 12 songs in MALAYA, which are Bayang’s expression of her call behind the album—Nasa sa iyo ang kapangyarihan upang maging malaya. Isulong natin ang ating kultura. Mahalin nating ang sariling atin. At iba pa.
To paraphrase Aia de Leon, who indulged the audience with her “Sundo,” when Bayang asked her to jam, ‘Bayang is gold of the industry.’ I agree; she is.
Thank you, Bayang, for sticking to your dream of having us listen to the culture, the wisdom, and the message, and how wonderfully and pleasingly to our sometimes deaf ears.
“Sana’y maraming ang makarinig.”
Yes, Bayang, we are listening.