Red Red Wine

Live Concert at the Magayon Festival 2008 in Bikol.

NEVER GIVE UP mudflow's cover

NEVER GIVE UP Mudflow's cover

Reggae and ‘kundiman’

SANTO DOMINGO, Albay, Philippines -- While rock and bubblegum music are still the rage, a young band in this town chose to experiment with an old Bicolano song that kids would be hard put to remember.

Fusing reggae and kundiman, the band Mudflow overhauled the folk classic “Sarung Banggi” (“One Evening”) and turned it into an unlikely pop hit.

“Sarung Banggi” was written by Potenciano Gregorio Sr. (1880-1939), a native of Lib-og town, now known as Sto. Domingo -- the place where the band was formed.

Created awareness

The attempt to update a traditional Bicolano folk song through the infectious beat of reggae was Mudflow’s way of encouraging its peers to rediscover their own cultural heritage.

The modernized “Sarung Banggi” succeeded in creating an awareness when it was included by Manila FM radio station Jam 88.3 in its music compilation album, “Doobie Nights” (Galaxy Records), released in 2006.

The song tells of a man who was roused from sleep one night by what he thought was a songbird. Realizing it was not a dream, the man rose and soon discovered it was his lover’s voice that had awakened him.

“We picked that song because it’s our town’s heritage song. As Bicolanos, we wanted to promote our own culture through music,” said Mudflow vocalist and main songwriter Abraham Defeo, 23.

Bridged gap

Defeo added that the remake has bridged a generation gap, with young and old equally appreciating it during the band’s gigs.

The other members of the five-man group are drummer Ray Gerard Marquez, 23; bassist Fidel Balin Jr., 25; lead guitarist Fidel Balin III, 22; and guitarist Mark Andrew Ortiz, 20.

Mudflow got its name while the guys were on their way to Legazpi City, from a road sign alerting travelers to overflowing water from the gullies of Mayon Volcano. The sign read: “Warning: Mudflow ahead.”

In 2002, Mudflow won in the regional Battle of the Bands held annually at the Magayon Festival. The band released its first independent, self-titled album the following year. It had eight songs, four of which were originals.

The album was recorded and reproduced using a desktop computer.

For P5,000 Mudflow churned out 100 copies burned on compact discs. The guys sold the CD for P120 each.

Several tracks, including the now-famous “Sarung Banggi” remake, have gained regular airplay on local radio stations in the Bicol region.

More than music

The band members insist reggae is more than music.

“It is idealism conveyed through music,” Defeo said. “It is performed for a cause.”

One of Mudlow’s original compositions, “Paraisong Panaginip,” discusses environmental degradation.

Another song, “Ay Naku Po,” is about young people dealing with pressure.

Mudflow lamented insufficient support or recognition extended to fledgling bands in the provinces.

“We have a lot of serious and talented musicians here but their potentials do not fully develop due to lack of equipment,” said bassist Fidel Balin Jr.

Missed opportunity

Defeo recounted that Mudflow once had to decline a Manila-based director’s offer to make a video for “Sarung Banggi” because equipment rental alone would have cost them P50,000.

He noted that it’s hard for a full-time musician to provide for a family, and so many have left the country to pursue careers abroad.

Mudflow does not buy the idea of working as well-paid musicians overseas.

Balin explained: “Even if we try, we won’t be able to play together for sure, since it is the practice of recruitment agencies to screen musicians and form new bands from among the ones that they like.”

Mudflow clings to the hope of entering the mainstream Filipino music industry and still popularize music that reflects the unique culture they represent.


Sarung Banggi Lyrics

Sarung Banggi

Sarung banggi, sa higdaan
Nakadangog ako nin huni nin sarong gamgam
Sa loba ko katurogan
Bako kundi simong boses iyo palan

Dagos ako bangon
Si sakuyang mata iminuklat
Kaidtong kadikluman ako nangalagkalag
Si sakong paghiling pasiring sa itaas
Simong lawog nahiling ko maliwanag

Listen or Download Sarung Banggi by Mudflow

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