Friday ∗ 13 Mar 2009

FrancisM! National Artist?

it’s just too much. maybe, too soon.

anyone who has seen me since FrancisM’s death, anyone who has read this blog’s past two entries, would know that I love FrancisM. that i’m a fan, that i respect him as an artist and person, that i admire the kind of convictions that he had, the lines he crossed to prove that he would die for them.

but even to me, pushing for a National Artist Award for FrancisM is like shooting from the hip and getting all overwhelmed by emotion. yes, he has affected this nation, he has spoken about it with honesty, has stood up for the Pinoy and Pinay. but is he the only one who has done this? is he the one who most deserves this award at this point in time?

this is not to question the amount of work that he has done, nor is it being ironic about the fact that FrancisM can’t create new songs anymore and build on his existing work — i will get to that later. this is to be truthful to the fact that death shouldn’t be the deciding factor in choosing who will be National Artist of this country at any given time. yes, it should be life lived, it should be creative output, it should be affecting nation, as so many have said (check out this rundown) about FrancisM. but this may be said of so many other artists, and in which case, it is imperative to look at who else should be up for the National Artist Award, dead or alive. who else is both artist and citizen like FrancisM, and has had more years to prove it.

there’s Heber Bartolome. there’s Freddie Aguilar. there are Pepe Smith and Mike Hanopol. there’s Ryan Cayabyab. there’s Joey Ayala.

i can’t imagine FrancisM disagreeing. anyone who listens to his songs will know that while he stood for the present and looked to the future, he had a pretty good sense of the past in his hands. this can only be proven by the kind of respect he had for the artists who came before him, a respect that’s made real by his effort at collaborating with them.

with Bartolome in “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy”, the original of which he sampled. with Ayala who wrote the lyrics to and played instruments for “Halalan”. with Hanopol for whom he wrote lyrics to the song “Namamasyal” for Hanopol’s all-guitar album Lagablab. if you read his blog entries on working with Cayabyab, it is clear that FrancisM had utmost respect for him as well (calling him Maestro, or Mr.C). and then there’s Smith: who will dare say that he isn’t the living rock god of this country, and that he doesn’t deserve the National Artist award as well? Pepe has changed the way we view ourselves, as much as FrancisM has.

it is because of these collaborations, alongside the many FrancisM’s songs that talk about respecting those in the past, learning from what they’ve done, standing up for what they’ve gone through, that i can imagine FrancisM saying: no, don’t give it to me just yet. no, let me fall in line. let me see all these people i respect, from Bartolome to Ayala, Hanopol to Smith to Cayabyab, get what they deserve first. and then think about me. then, consider me.

so no, this shouldn’t be about whether FrancisM is able to fulfill all the requirements to be National Artist as Smoke was able to show, nor should this be about his death. it should be about his work and what else his estate can come up with, by him, from him and for him after his death. many things can be done, beyond FrancisM’s life. he had projects lined up, and given the outpouring of support upon his death, this work can appear in tranches and we would all be falling all over ourselves to get to them. FrancisM’s body of work also goes beyond music and rap, because he was also photographer and video director, he was host, he was artist and clothing designer. there is so much more that FrancisM can offer at this point in time despite, and maybe precisely because of, his death.

and once we have seen the true breadth of his work, once the family has been given a chance to prove the value of their patriarch to this nation, then let’s talk about the National Artist award. Then, let us discuss what it is that makes FrancisM more deserving of it, than those guys he had admired, respected, and collaborated with. then, let us imagine him as National Artist, because he will finally deserve it, and would’ve wanted it himself if he were only alive to see it.

Posted in: komentaryo, tugtugan

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7 Comments/Pingbacks

  1. herbs
    March 14, 2009 at 1:47 am

    filipinoes can be quite irrational. gawd.

    is it just me or is anyone else just fed up with all this drama? okay, he’s dead. sheeesh. give it a rest already.

  2. luisbatchoy
    March 14, 2009 at 4:47 am

    may I add Lea Salonga, Canseco who made Sharon songs, and I agree with cayabyab

  3. E.P.
    March 14, 2009 at 7:12 am

    kung titingnan, mas sentimental at romantikong nosyon pa ng nasyunalismo ang pinapanukala sa mga kanta nya. nakakatulong ba ito sa pagbubuo ng isang bansa? ewan. nakakatulong ba sa tumbang preso kung may bandila ng pilipinas ang pamato?

    tsaka bakit wala sa listahan ng prospect mo si dong abay? aber, bakit? hehe.

  4. ina
    March 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    hey herbs, well, i think for many of us naman the mourning and sadness is real. but yes, you can tell it has gone too far when what was in the news last saturday, is still in the news now, when all those interviews we heard throughout the week, is still being imposed on us now. gah!

    luisbatchoy! kumustaaaaa? absolutely to Canseco, i actually thought he got it na. sad that he hasn’t. :( but parang too early for Lea Salonga — she had yet to truly do something for nation other than her international career. monique wilson’s involvement in local politics and feminism trumps Lea’s uncertainty about politics.

    E.P.! oo ngaaaaa! si doooooong na mahal ko lang. pero kase i think in terms of the National Artist award, kailangang tingnan ang seniority. wala na bang deserving of the earlier generations? kase unfair na wala pa si Canseco pero meron na ang generation ni FrancisM.

    at actually, kung mababasa mo ang lyrics at mapapakinggan ang mga kanta ni FrancisM post-MgaKababayan, malupit na ang stand niya, at malinaw na na ang uri ng nasyonalismo niya ay may tapang, grounded sa katotohanan ng pagkaapi at kahirapan, mulat ang mata at isip. :)

  5. toy
    March 20, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I, too, was skeptical at first. But upon seeing the criteria para sa National Artist, I realized na pasok na pasok s’ya!

    Not a lot of people know this, but he was given the opportunity na magpagamot sa US. He declined. Sabi n’ya, mawawalan daw ng saysay ang pagiging makabayan niya. And besides, ‘yung magagaling na doktor, mga Pinoy din! Malaki ang bilib at tiwala niya sa mga kababayan niya. Sana nga malaman ‘to nung lahat ng mga OFWs na pinagsisilbihan ang mga banyaga e. Mas malaki nga ang kita abroad, pero mas malaki ang pangangailangan ng mga Pinoy.

    Ok, medyo nawawala na ‘ko sa punto. Another thing na magpapatibay ng position n’ya for National Artist is the Presidential Medal na ibinigay sa kanya recently. I’m a fan din of Lea Salonga but she’d rather live in the states! Where’s the Patriotism in that? Ganun din sina Mr. C. at si Canseco na, although magagaling na kompositor, e maliit na porsiyento lang ng mga likha ang totoong makabayan.

    Francis has been like that ever since. Even “Baw-waw-waw!” is strictly Filipino! And he wanted everyone to change for the better! We, oftentimes overlook the message because of the medium pero grabe ang mensahe ng mga lyrics n’ya. Kikilabutan ka. And the reason why he didn’t want to die yet is because, feeling niya, hindi pa s’ya nagiging catalyst for change!

    You may have your opinions but I most certainly disagree with you. Francis deserves it. At oo, mga ilang taon pa ang hihintayin natin bago ma-process ang botohan but if my voice matters, number one siya sa listahan ko.

  6. ina
    March 20, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    hey toy! thanks for passing by.

    oo naman, to me, without a doubt, FrancisM deserves it. for his life’s work, and with more to come, i can imagine, from his estate. walang duda naman talaga. the question really is, whether it is time. whether he is the most deserving at this point. because even he had a sense of those who came before him and what they deserves, as i say in the post.

    hmmmm… george canseco and mr. c. i think that then the debate should be about the definition of being nationalistic or makabayan. because that is not a clear-cut definition at all, and this is why we have strange combination people on the national artist list. sa tingin ko, diyan dapat ang debate ngayon, hindi lang in relation to francism, but in relation to the whole national artist awards.

    salamat ulit sa pagdaan! :)

    yes, i agree about lea salonga — yon ang mas marami pang kakaining bigas, mas marami pang kailangang gawin — sus, mas bongga pa ang pagiging makabayan ni monique wilson kesa sa kanya.

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