So far and as far as I know, there are five contemporary versions of the popular Kapampangan folk song Atin Ku Pung Singsing, each by different acts.
First is Totoy Bato's basulto version which has slight melody modifications in the repetition of the song and acoustic guitar accompaniment.
Second is ArtiSta. Rita's Broadway version which starts off mellow then proceeds to a vaudeville-like version in the latter part.
Third is the acapella version involving the impressive five voices of jazz singer Mon David with a Gregorian monk version inserted in the middle.
Fourth is the Millennium version (piano-laden) released by the Holy Angel University Center for Kapampangan Studies as carrier single to the Paskung Kapampangan CD. It has a Tagalog version sandwiched between the traditional Kapampangan lines, probably to cater to already Tagalized Kapampangans (shame on you!). It's the most emotional version I heard.
The fifth one is what I am actually featuring today. It's a hip reggae version by a band called Tropical Depression, which I commend for modernizing folk songs.
When I heard the song via a Friendster testimonial in the page a person I already forgot, I researched on the source of that version. I found out that it was Tropical Depression, so I looked them up through Friendster and asked them a few questions.
To my surprise, none from their group is Kapampangan by any means! And it's sad how it is a non-Kapampangan band who was able to think of modernizing the endeared folk song of Kapampangans. Here's the exact reply of the band to me:
It has always been the band's thrust to help re-introduce traditional songs to the youth as what we have done with "Atin Cu Pung Singsing", "Baleleng", "Dandansoy", a couple of Mang Levi Celerio's works and, hopefully, more in the years to come.
Although none of us are true blue Kapampangans, and had to learn the dialect [language] in three days, we felt the need to revive the song to show people that if we just took time out to learn the cultures of the different regions, then we might be able to bridge the gap between our divided country.
Mayap ayabak, abe =)
Unity through diversity. That's the way to go.
However, what surprised me more was the fact that it was Grace Nono who did the vocals! Grace Nono is from Mindanao and I, from now on, look up to her for having respect and appreciation to the diverse cultures of the Philippines.
I also read somewhere that she visited the Center for Kapampangan Studies once. Way to go. I hope there were more musicians like her (and Tropical Depression).
But then, there's only boom tarat tarat.
If you want, by the way, to listen to the lovely reggae version of Atin Ku Pung Singsing, click the title on my podomatic on your right.
Susug: Episode 2 of my Kapampangan YouTube magazine show Meto Kapampangan is out! Check out ini.