Wednesday, August 24, 2005

An orange tale

i remember i was in a bookstore inside one of these malls here in manila. i think i was browsing through jostein gaarder's the orange girl and was actually about to buy myself a copy. when i suddenly found myself listening to these songs from an album being played at a nearby music store. the tunes were quite familar. at first, i thought some recording company has put together a compilation of morrissey's and the smiths' rarerities. not a bad idea at all. though i doubted very much then that there were still some of those old smiths' songs not covered by the dozen or so album releases since the early 1980s. and i was right. after a while, the voice which i thought belonged to morrissey started singing a tagalog song (i think it was isang gabi). certain that morrissey hasn't been learning the local language these past years, i went to the featured album section to check it out. and that was my first encounter with orange and lemons and their first release love in the land of rubber shoes and dirty ice cream.

and how to describe their work? there's something nostalgic about their songs. not that i'm getting old. maybe it has to do with the simple but attractive melodies that can make even a two-year old start wiggling and dancing to the beat within seconds. listening to the chorus line of just like a splendid love song in my bedbug-infested room, my mind travelled back to the time when DZRH was still playing the famous sunny orange jingle on AM radio (the one that goes like "sunny orange i love you/ lemon drink and strawberry/ sunny orange sweet, sweet drink/ sunny orange super quality"). and you wake up on sunday mornings to daniel boone's beautiful sunday with all the loud static from your mother's old vinyl record and turntable. some of orange and lemons' lyrics, like that of my butterfly and pabango ng 'yong mata (from the second album, strike whilst the iron is hot), reek of melancholic longing that almost border on angst.

the second time i was in the same music store, i was trying to find very expensive books to buy for our office library. and orange and lemons, all four of them, was there for the launching of their second album. so i was able to see them perform live for the first time. observing them and the young crowd that afternoon, i was reminded of tagalog movies from the 50s or 60s with images of teenagers watching their screen idols do all these song numbers. everybody was absorbing with subdued intensity the band's new tunes. and the four guys seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage. which in turn brought to mind the image of an orange-robed buddhist monk in sri lanka listening to discussions on efforts to help people in tsunami-affected communities. but that's another tale.

now this angel has flown away from me
i thought i had the strength to set her free
i did what i did
because i love her so
will she ever find her way
back home to me

heaven knows (this angel has flown)
strike whilst the iron is hot
orange and lemons

1 comment:

Cecile said...

Wow...all I can say is WOW! So, do not tell me that you are not a good writer...I will write more...keep writing, my friend...your heart is in the right place...