Chud Festejo Transforms our Childhood Chants Into Hauntingly Beautiful Music
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, October 08, 2019 6:00pm
Photo by Dani Elevazo/Inside Manila
“Nanay Tatay gusto kong tinapay. Ate kuya gusto kong kape. Lahat ng gusto ko ay susundin ninyo. Ang magkamali ay pipingutin ko.”
This game chant has been a part of our childhood. It’s an innocent rhyme accompanied by claps to complete the game. That is until a music artist from Davao named Chud Festejo used it to tell the story of our society’s realities. His song “Nanay Tatay” brought home the first prize at Philpop 2018. This new take on this Filipino childhood depicts the situation of street children, of how they are vulnerable to our society’s perils.
But Chud didn’t stop at “Nanay Tatay.”
Laro-Laro Lang Is Not a Game
On July 2019, Chud released an EP called Laro-Laro Lang. The EP and its four songs will remind us of our typical Pinoy childhood games: “Laro Tayo,” “Langit Lupa Impyerno,” “Si Nena,” and “Bahay-bahayan.” But Laro-Laro Lang is a story itself that is far from fun and play.
“Si Nena,” based on Chud’s storytelling, is a story of a young girl who grew up without a father and craves the attention of her mother. Her mom brings home different lovers from time to time, and one of them sexually abused Nena as a teenager. Nena is a work of fiction, but her story is the reality of many. Rape culture up to this day is still rampant, and more heartbreakingly, it happens inside one’s home.
According to Chud, he doesn’t have personal experiences about the social issues he talks about in his songs. He had to read and watch stories that are almost too painful to bear. But because of this, he is able to write songs and it became his artistic way to tell stories of abuse and violence.
“Listening to the songs, you might also think that it’s a game. But it tells about stories that are much deeper, darker. Putting yourself in the perspective of the characters in the stories, as a child, you’d think everything that’s happening is okay—that it’s just a game. But in the perspective of a grown-up it’s a different ‘game,’” Chud said.
Singing for the Voiceless
Chud wants to talk about these things through music and have people keep talking about our society’s problems. As a singer-songwriter, he wants to speak for the people experiencing these realities. He makes his songs as beautiful as it is haunting.
“After being able to write a few of these songs, I felt that these could serve as voices for people who have gone through these realities. I just felt like these things deserve to be talked about in songs as much as how romance, heartbreak, and partying are getting their spot,” he said.
As an artist, Chud aims to “comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” “Langit Lupa Impyerno,” “Si Nena,” and other songs in his Laro-Laro Lang EP do this in hopes to spark conversations and create awareness. He wanted to remind people that violence, poverty, abuse, and injustice are still happening up to this day.
“Nanay, tatay, pengeng pantinapay. Ate, kuya, pengeng pangkape
Lahat ng gusto niyo susundin ko. Sa mumunting barya ay may pangkain na ako”