Who doesn’t respect Ryan Cayabyab? Respectin' Ryan, that’s what you do. It's almost automatic, actually, because you know, he’s great. He’s the maestro. He can play the baton and he gives sound advice whenever he plays judge in these music competitions, and he has stuff like Smokey Mountain as his brainchild.
But he is nowhere, you know—is cool the correct word? The kind of cool that comes from behind, mindfucks status quo, changes the game mainstream radio, and makes a home out of it all. If that's what cool means, then no, The Maestro isn't cool.
But that's where we're wrong. Little do we know that there was a time when Mister C was the outsider. There was a time when he was the one being ignored by the record companies and there wasn't anything he could do but subscribe to that whole punk DIY ethos. There was a time the Maestro challenged the mainstream, and there was a time when he did get them listening.
Consider the premise: An acapella album of ten songs sung in 16 voices all by one man. Think: Christmas carols sung by a army of angels only it’s actually just an army of one and that one was him, Ryan Cayabyab. What he did was record each song 16 times, layering the different voices until what remained was a sing song sung by 16 different times. It’s pretty incredible, no? And then you learn he did that in 1981.
Thirty years later, a random listen to One proves the record is still a pretty strong mindfuck.
That’s not mentioning the songs. Mister C mixed classics like “Maalala Mo Kaya” with his originals like “Limang Dipang Tao,” making a most pop, the most unapologetically pop, of collections, we say. But just ‘cause they aren’t crude-cool doesn’t mean they’re blah. One has some of the most mean pieces of music! “Dahil Sa Yo?” Now, that’s music tradition. “Saan ka man, Naroroon?” Now, that’s OPM.
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