It’s about freakin’ time!
Pinoy rock band Bamboo has recently come out with a cover of the Buklod classic “Tatsulok” as part of their third studio album. The song has been getting quite a lot of radio airplay, creating a buzz among activist circles familiar with the Buklod anthem. http://www.bamboo.com.ph/discography_tatsulok.html
Originally, the song Tatsulok was part of Buklod’s second album of the same title. The song deals with militarization in the countryside, and the root of the armed conflict in the country. It was released at the time of the Total War policy of then president Corazon Aquino. The Total War policy then, as is with the “all-out war” policy of current president Arroyo, intended to crush the insurgency. But instead of defeating the armed revolutionary movement in the countryside, the militarization campaign’s first casualties were civilians.
Totoy bilisan mo, bilisan mo ang takbo
Ilagan ang mga bombang nakatutok sa ulo mo
Totoy tumalon ka, dumapa kung kailangan
At baka tamaan pa ng mga balang ligaw
At the time of the song, memories of anti-communist vigilante groups were still fresh in the minds of the people, especially with the rise of such infamous groups as the Alsa Masa and other “death squads” tolerated by the Aquino administration and the militarists in the regime.
Totoy makinig ka, wag kang magpa-gabi
Baka mapagkamalan ka’t humandusay dyan sa tabi
Totoy alam mo ba kung ano ang puno’t dulo
Ng di matapos-tapos na kaguluhang ito
Quite interestingly, the same incidents of death squads have come to the fore again with the rise of extrajudicial killings under the Arroyo regime. Those killed have been conveniently called “NPA supporters”.
Hindi pula’t dilaw tunay na magkalaban
Ang kulay at tatak ay di syang dahilan
Hangga’t marami ang lugmok sa kahirapan
At ang hustisya ay para lang sa mayaman[Chorus]
Habang may tatsulok at sila ang nasa tuktok
Di matatapos itong guloLumilikas ang hininga ng kayraming mga tao
At ang dating munting bukid, ngayo’y sementeryo
Totoy kumilos ka, baliktarin ang tatsulok
Katulad mong mga dukha, ilagay mo sa tuktok
In the end, the song tells us that the armed conflict is not just about fighting between the NPA and the Aquino regime at that time (pula’t dilaw). The root causes of the fighting are poverty, the social pyramid.
The song is tight, lyrically and musically. Hands down, it is one of the best songs by Buklod (even better than the other popular Buklod song used in a McDonald’s commercial).
The remake is long overdue. The airplay is much deserved. The timeliness is beyond question.
I only hope that the impact transcends the traditional rock song airplay-sales-awards cycle. I do hope the song raises questions about how things are being run in the country today. Tatsulok does not mince words in describing society and the justice system. It is straightforward in “sticking it to the Man”.
Bamboo does an excellent job in covering the song, though I personally feel that the intro sounded too much like the intro of Hallelujah. One misses the original Buklod strumming and flute background. The vocals are great and invoke strong emotions and are almost like the subdued anger of the original Buklod. The percussions seem to be holding back, unlike the guitar riffs which are let loose, almost like in a fit of rage.
The remake of Tatsulok raises the bar in socio-political songwriting and performances for this generation’s rockers. A trail has been blazed anew for the current crop of bands and singers. This is no longer uncharted territory for mainstream acts.
And as for our friends abroad, we hope they could catch the following tour in the
US. Check it out. Let’s hope “Tatsulok” gets to be played live and loud, in the belly of the beast!
US TOUR BAMBOO & PNE PART 1
MARCH 16, 2007- SAN DIEGO/ EPICENTER
MARCH 17, 2007- LOS ANGELES/ AVALON HOLLYWOOD
MARCH 18, 2007- LAS VEGAS/ GOLD COAST CASINO
MARCH 23, 2007- CHICAGO/ PARKWEST
MARCH 24,2007 – NEW JERSEY
MARCH 25, 2007- NEW YORK/ KNITTING FACTORY
MARCH 30, 2007- SAN FRANCISCO /SLIMS