Last night, Joey Ayala returned to the Music Museum stage for the first time since playing there 25 years ago.
Along with his band, Ang Bagong Lumad, the legendary singer-songwriter proved to the crowd that he’s still one of the country’s best.
His unconditional love for the environment, our culture, the people, and our country was felt with every song that he sang. The award-winning artist performed his greatest hits like “Karaniwang Tao,” Tabi Po,” Walang Hanggang Paalam,” Agila,” “Padayon,” “Dumaan Ako,” and more.
Special guests Gloc-9, Bayang Barrios, Dong Abay, Bullet Dumas, and Juan Miguel Severo, made the night even more special as each of them showed their uniqueness and combined it with Ayala’s signature style—from folk, hip-hop, to rock, and spoken word art.
In between sets and while drinking beer, Ayala bantered with the crowd and talked about music, art, politics, and life.
With every strum on his guitar, and his voice that hasn’t changed a bit since we first heard him years ago, everyone was mesmerized.
And how wonderful to hear the indigenous elements complementing perfectly with the more modern instruments—as if it they were made to be just one.
They say music is a universal language. They say it transcends all barriers and time itself.
We guess it’s true. Because last night, we witnessed how the ‘Mandiriwa’ was able to erase the gap between the generations of yesterday and today.
Another realization: In these trying times, the songs of Ayala helps us to make sense of the sad realities we continue to face as Filipinos—climate change, poverty, corruption, loss of cultural identity, colonial mentality, sadness, blood, and senseless death. It inspires us to think, pushing us to stay vigilant.
Just like his songs, our distinguished Mandiriwa will always be relevant.
Photography Lian Hammer Dumas