This is the fifth year Vispop has been active in helping to change, form, and challenge what Visayan pop is currently like. With no age limit, many contenders from all over, even from abroad, joined the music competition, with an overwhelming 350 entrants for the organisers to screen through. This took them approximately 10 hours to do, and, at last, Vispop 5.0’s 6 finalists have been announced.
Just as the music has “levelled up”, so did the art in the lyrical videos of each of the songs.
Music and lyrics: Dexter Latosa and Bingbing Veloso
Performed: Bingbing Veloso of Karumata Repablik
Definitely written to be jazzy and smooth, it has this sort of lounge room feel that relaxes, while Bingbing Veloso of Karumata Repablik croons of her intoxication to her and Dexter Latosa’s lyrical prowess. Quite a sexy tune, if anything can be said about it from first impressions.
“Kung Di Man Gani Kita”
Music and lyrics: Jerika Teodorico
Performed by: Davelyn Cuenco
Written by Jerika Teodorico, Davelyn Cuenco provides the vocal interpretation of “Kung Di Man Gani Kita”. With her full and raspy voice, signature of most strong belters, she adds great emotion to this very true and relatable sad song.
“Kung Di Pa Lang Ko Buang”
Music and lyrics: Chai Fonacier
Performed by: Chai Fonacier
With a relatively electropop sound to it, Chai Fonacier, who has established a firm standing in Cebu’s local film and music industries, thoughtfully sings about reflections on one’s own nature (her own?) in a fun and easygoing manner.
“Siya Ra Taw’n Ang Nahigugma”
Music and lyrics: Winset Jacot and Jane Abaday
Performed: Winset Jacot and Jane Abaday
A duet of a unique kind, Winset Jacot and Jane Abaday sing two very different distinct voices in the realm of love; the love that has dried up and the love that is unrequited. With angst on both ends, “Siya Ra Taw’n Ang Nahigugma” is one for both feeling hugot and, well, not.
Music and lyrics: Jeremy Sarmiento
Performed: Jetz Tacsanan of Zhalia
Another hugot song for those who aren’t being taken seriously by those who they pine after, “Kurog Ko” features Jetz Tacsanan of Zhalia very cool chilling voice, characteristic of easy listening songs. Definitely a yearn-and-relatable song, nganong mokurog man jud ka?
“Unsa Ning Tamaa”
Music and lyrics: Ram Jay (RJ) Ensalada
Refrain brings a pop boy-band feel to RJ Ensalada’s “Unsa Ning Tamaa”, with their expert vocal blending. With well-timed inflections, the song really makes you feel like suavely dancing along to it. Boy-band style of course.
“It’s a milestone for us.” – Ian Zafra
The show itself will be happening at SM Seaside’s SMX Sky Hall A, on the 29th of July this year. Vispop 5.0 will be right in line with Linggo Ng Musika Pilipino, which was declared for every last week of July each year by former Philippine President President Noynoy Aquino in his Proclamation No. 933.
WHAT: Vispop 5.0
WHEN: July 29, 2017
WHERE: SM Seaside – SMX Sky Hall A
WHY: Linggo Ng Musika Pilipino
As Ian Zafra says, with this positioning for 2017’s Vispop, they want it to be special for its 5 years; “It’s a milestone for us.”
Starting with just around 100 entries and with entrants solely from Cebu at the start, Vispop has indeed grown since then. And after 5-6 years, many more have joined, and entrants aren’t concentrated in just Cebu anymore. In fact, three of the six finalists are from Mindanao.
“Apan bisan ang kalibutan may tumoy ra gihapon” – Jerika Teodorico (“Kung Di Man Gani Kita”)
Jerika Teodorico, a veteran Vispop songwriter who bagged first place in Vispop’s second season with her song “Labyu, Langga” and a player of 4 instruments (guitar, piano, some beatbox, and ukulele), is proudly Bisdak. And this time around, her entry “Kung Di Man Gani Kita” reached the final round yet again, with Davelyn Cuenco performing the vocals.
This song’s conception has an interesting back story to it that most wouldn’t really think of straight away as the emotional fuel for her writing. As Jerika Teodorico revealed, she wrote the title some 5-6 years ago while still in her fourth year at high school, but left it unfinished until she decided to revisit it in 2016 for Vispop. Unlike her former entries that were acoustic in nature, she went experimental with piano accompaniment, but didn’t really get far until December came and her beloved pet dog died.
“Mao na siya. Didto nako gihugotan ang feeling sa song ba.” It may be a love song, but her only thought while writing it was of her dog, and not knowing what could happen and needing to always be prepared to be left behind. “Kay bisag sa kadugay sa inyong pagkaubanay, naa gyuy end tanan.”
“Kung naa man gani illegitimate nga anak and kanang Cebu Pop ug kanang BisRock, mao nang Vispop” – Jude Gitamondoc
At the start, there weren’t very many avenues for local song writers to be heard, but with Vispop, they envisioned providing just that for young song writers to express their creativity.
When Jude Gitamondoc proposed the project to Artisko, he had a mixture of Cebuano Pop and BisRock in mind, wherein Vispop would, in his words, “combine competition and the rebellious aspect of it wanting to push boundaries”, with the end goal of challenging listeners to the ever dynamic music scene.
“Promote the language through music.” – Insoy Niñal
Badoy, tiniguwang, kinaraan. As Insoy Niñal says, that’s how most people saw Bisaya years before Vispop began, which is the opposite of how the language is perceived now: “A lot of people now are into Bisaya, which was not the case 5 years, 6 years, 10 years ago.” But now, with Vispop, they hope that they are bringing the Bisayan language slowly closer and closer to the younger generation.
The music scene in Cebu has always been colourful though, with all sorts of genres mixed together to define what it was like; Reggae, BisRock, Indie, Max Surban, etc. Vispop just serves as the channel to organise all of those. As Jude Gitamondoc says, “A lot of the past contributed to what Vispop is now.”
“It’s the entries that dictate where we go.” – Insoy Niñal
Asked about their plans for the future, they don’t exactly have any direction in mind, because it really all depends on the musical entries that come their way. For Insoy Niñal, he wants to make it bigger every. “For next year, as far as production is concerned, it has to be bigger.” More people should know about it and be able to join.
As to why they can only allow 6 songs into the finals, it really is all down to their budget. What they have now is enough to produce just 6 songs with quality, but there’s still a chance this number will increase in the future if the budget does grow. After all, whatever the budget can take, that’s what they’ll make.
For now, they encourage people to support Vispop, because who else could the Bisayan music genre depend on to grow?
“Pakita sa amo nga dili unrequited ang among gugma para sa musikang Binisaya. Show us that you love Bisaya music by supporting the artists.” – Jude Gitamondoc