Even before it took the grand prize at the 5th Philippine Popular (PhilPop) Music Festival and Janine Teñoso's version was used as the official soundtrack of this year's box-office hit Sid & Aya: Not A Love Story, the story behind "Di Na Muli" by The Itchyworms goes back a long way.
A 2016 collaboration between childhood friends Jazz Nicolas of The Itchyworms and Wally Acolola, it is about "love, loss, and words left unspoken," hence the melancholy that resonates throughout the whole song. It's as if someone is reciting a letter of regret to his/her lover.
Just when we thought the mood couldn't get any more wistful, the rock quartet recently launched the official music video for "Di Pa Muli," and trust, your tears won't stop falling.
It's no secret that The Itchyworms (Jazz, Jugs Jugueta, Kelvin Yu, Chino Singson) are great lyricists and interpreters, especially when touching upon matters of the heart—listen to "Akin Ka N
But what makes their latest offering more emotionally stirring than their previous works?
First, let's examine the minds behind the track. Wally admitted to INQUIRER.net that their submission to PhilPop was "a last-minute decision. We just wrote the song for fun, or maybe give it to another artist." Him and Jazz have been best friends since grade school, where they both failed Chemistry because they focused more on composing songs than listening in class.
The relationship between the longtime peers, as well as the unique dynamic of them working together, gave deeper significance to the project. When Wally ended the interview with, "This is a dream come true," we could really feel his sense of fulfillment brought about by being able get back to the drawing board with his "first songwriting partner."
The next thing they needed was the perfect script for the accompanying visuals, which turned out to be co-director Juno Oebanda's pitch: the love story of his late uncle Teodoro "Teddy" Hilado, who is considered as the father of lighting design in Philippine theater, and his wife, former Bayanihan Dance Group member Rosky Hilado.
On Facebook, Juno shared the inspiration for the music video, which was shot in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), where Teddy and Rosky's romance blossomed. Reading how Tita Rosky "took over and owned the song" upon her return to where it all started got us invested in this sentimental anecdote about people we don't even know.
In the end, everything just fell into place: The Itchyworms ditching their quirky ways, the stripped-down treatment of the overall aesthetic, masterful jobs from Ballet Philippines' Carissa Adea (who played the young Rosky) and lighting director Shakira Symes (mentored by Teddy), and most importantly, the enduring grandeur of the CCP.
All these elements come together for a heartwarming masterpiece.