Bagong Bida Songwriting Winners Announced in Star-Studded Concert

Dec 15th 2009

Ten finalist songs for CFA’s 1st National Youth Songwriting Contest battled it out for two months on the internet and on radio stations all over the country before the top three winners were finally decided in a live concert on November 28, 2009. The star-studded concert took place in Assumption Antipolo before a crowd of more than a thousand excited youngsters who were participants of the Bidahan II Youth Conference, which was organized by the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) in association with the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA) and Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB).

The 2-hour concert, which featured some of the big names in the music industry, showcased the creativity of our composers and gave them a chance to voice their views on good governance, leadership and active youth engagement, which were the themes of the songwriting contest. Cesca Litton and Eri Neeman hosted the concert and gamely jammed with the crowd. From 11:00pm to well past midnight, the CFA website showed the concert on video livestreaming, which allowed viewers to post their comments and chat.

The very able panel of judges was headed by Philippine Daily Inquirer music and concert reviewer/contributor, Pocholo Concepcion. Joining him were Ms. Alvina Sy, award-winning lyricist and composer; TV and movie star Jay Perillo; Actor/composer/Y-Speak host and Aliw Awardee Ricci Chan and BIDAHAN’s very own Rene San Andres, a folk music songwriter and composer. The ratings from the panel of judges represented a higher proportion of final scores, which also factored in the results of the earlier public votes from the CFA website and the texting from radio listeners of the Catholic Media Network (CMN).

Winning the first prize was 16-year-old Christine Mae Argante’s song BAYAN, a pop rock song urging society to stand up and continue fighting for truth and change in the country (‘Pagbabago, ‘yan ang hangarin ko/ Sa lupa ng ninuno’t kababayan ko’). Christine, a graduating high school student from Don Bosco in Manila, calls for hope and unity in her song. Its positive message and catchy melody was brought to vibrant life by the vocal prowess of Frenchy Dy.

Coming second was Jacelle Soleil Manara’s AWIT NG BAGONG KABATAAN. Soleil is an 18-year old college student from St. Scholastica’s College, Manila. She hopes for a new breed of young Filipinos who are aware and involved (‘Tanong ng paslit na bata/ Saan patungo ating bansa? Sino ang dapat mamuno? Ang makabayan, makaDiyos, makatao?’). AWIT was given an ethnic rock flavor in Bayang Barrios’ duet with Jenny Opiana.

Faye Danica Abadicio’s composition KKK (Kabataan, Kaisa sa Kaunlaran) was the third place winner of the contest. The 19-year old Miriam College student ‘urges Filipinos to have one voice in pursuing the nation’s objective – to escape the clutches of tyranny and raise the dignity of Filipinos (‘Tumayo at humayo/ Na tayo, Pilipino/ Ihalal at bigyang parangal/ Mga pinunong may dangal.’). A band composed of her six younger siblings accompanied Faye in her performance of the song, joined by the sultry Arnee Hidalgo.

Other guest performers included Meagan Aguilar for Liga ng Kabataan, Miguel Escueta for Now or Never, RJ Jimenez for Tambol at Gitara, Salbakuta for Sigaw ng Kabataan: Kurapsyon ay Paglabanan, Cookie Chua for Pakitang-Tao Lang, Kris Lawrence for One Vote and Dingdong Avanzado for Tuloy ang Laban. Each appearance of the star performers was greeted by screams and wild applause from the appreciative students.

CFA’s Awit ng Mga Bagong Bida contest is part of its new citizenship education project entitled “Engaging the Youth in the Campaign for Good Governance” supported by Misereor. The main aim of the competition is to use music, which has popular appeal for the youth, as a medium for advocacy. The tremendous youth response to the contest and to the concert showed just how rousing good music can make our spirits — and project aims — soar.


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