The Global Colors
A perfectly shot aerial view of Bohol's magnificent Chocolate Hills no longer seems much of a stunner to the Filipino viewer. But when the Hills and our other treasures fill the screen following CableNews Broadcasters cutting to commercial, local jaws have been know to drop in awe, and in pride. The successful series of ads promoting tourism to the foreign audience has garnered awards not only for its visuals, but for its outstanding soundtrack - a heady mix of ethnic instrumentation, modern groove and the fantastic chants of Bayang Barrios.
A global audience is always welcome, but this isn't breaking news for Bayang and her well-travelled guitar. A veteran of music festivals across the globe, the past year saw Bayang and her unique brand of world music travel to India and elsewhere to perform the "Panaw", a Davao-based theatrical concert with an all-female cast. Written by her friends Malou Tiangco and Geejay Arriola, "Panaw" sought to create an increased awareness on women's rights issues such as domestic violence.
DAMAYAN, a non-profit organization based in Europe, sought Bayang's help as well, and she sang in the Netherlands to help pay for the education of Filipino children languishing in our slums and in our dumpsites. Early this year, another unique honor was bestowed upon Bayang. She was asked to interpret the theme song to the CCP's "Asya" Festival, an annual gathering showcasing the finest plays, dances and songs of the Orient. Written by Ryan Cayabyab and the CCP's Fernando Josef, the song "Anak Asya", like its interpreter, was as beautiful as it was uniquely Filipino.
The CCP would also provide Bayang another avenue for her creativity shortly thereafter, as she was given the lead role in "Hudhud", an ancient Ifugao romance written and produced for the stage. At home in its delicate but deliberate rhythms and chants, Bayang played its colors and choreography as if they were the strings of her guitar.
New Delhi, Calcutta, Imphal, San Francisco and Phoenix.
A diverse mix of cities to be sure, but oddly in tune with the diversity in Bayang Barrios' music, as she was seen in both the United States and India over the last 6 months. Taking a brief hiatus from Manila, Bayang returned home to Mindanao last October to help flesh out "Panaw", a musical theater by Mebuyan Peace Project relating to the plight of abused women here in the Philippines and around the world. Debuting in Davao to critical acclaim, the troupe brought the performance eastward into India's cities, at the Asian Women's Theatre Conference and Festival.
The tour was a success, and hot on the heels of Bayang's August performances in the US., where she helped conduct creative seminars on Indigenous Filipino music and dance. Nylon string guitar in tow, Bayang would also perform her own songs at get-togethers and small shows, lulling newfound friends into her own brand of world/folk music, as showcased in her newest independent offering, the album "Harinawa".
Produced by Bayang early last year with renowned songsmiths Bob Aves and Sammy Asuncion, "Harinawa will soon be on it's second printingalmost unheard of an Indie release. Devoid of major label support, it nonetheless thrives on word of mouth and the intensity of her live performances. Composers Mike and Angelo Villegas help her on guitar and bass duties, while percussionist Zak Lucero has provided an ample backline to Bayang's wondrous interplay. This is truly music for the whole world to hear and heal together with.