Posted in Shutterbug Blues, Verses

A Final Taste of Summer

"Bandung [Milk with rose syrup] for One" - BGC, 29 May 2015
Bandung [Milk with rose syrup] for One” – BGC, 29 May 2015
the taste

of roses

lingers

on my

lips

like a

kiss

from a

lover

much yearned

for;

a lasting

sweetness

pleasant

pleasurable

memorable.

 

the flavor

of a

summer

rapidly

inexorably

drawing to

a close

draws my

thoughts

over to

you.

Posted in Shutterbug Blues, Verses

Love in the Good Old-Fashioned Way

"The Romualdez House" - Pandacan, Manila, 2012 (Edited with Snapseed)
“The Romualdez House” – Pandacan, Manila, 2012 (Edited with Snapseed)

once

there was

romance:

doe-eyed

maidens

peering through

windows;

enamored swains

singing

heartfelt tunes

as if

their very

souls

melded with

melody,

merged with

lyrics

honeyed

beseeching

yearning

for a

glimpse

of a

hand

waving shyly,

a bit / of lace

fluttering

in greeting,

perhaps a

face

downcast eyes

lips twitching

at the

corners:

flattered

appreciative

appreciated.

 

once

there was

romance:

lovers waiting

patiently –

no rush,

no fuss,

none of

the brashness

the abruptness

of this

jaded

of this

impetuous

day and age;

when kisses

were worth

waiting for,

when an

embrace

meant everything,

when love

meant forever.

 

where

have those

days gone?

will they

ever return?

does love

still mean

anything

in this

maddened

impatient

impersonal

world?

 

i still

hope

i still

pray

it does.

Posted in Coming Up Quick, Music = Magic, Reviews and Previews

Review: “Constellation” – Stars and Rabbit, 2015 (Green Island Music, Indonesia / Lilystars Records, Philippines)

ac-starsandrabbit

Tracklist

  1. Like it Here
  2. The House
  3. Catch Me
  4. Worth It
  5. Rabbit Run
  6. Cry Little Heart
  7. I’ll Go Along
  8. You Were the Universe
  9. Summerfall
  10. Man Upon the Hill
  11. Old Man Finger

For those of you whose exposure to Indonesian music has been seriously limited to the gamelan recordings in Asian Music class, you have no idea as to what you’re missing.  Modern Indonesian music, particularly among its independent acts, is rich, vibrant, and more than a little intriguing

One such example would be the sound of Stars and Rabbit.  This two-person act is made up of vocalist Elda Suriyani and guitarist Adi Widodo.  Individually, they’re stellar: Suriyani’s soft, whispery, little girl voice is enchanting; you will find yourself thinking of Bjork during her early years with the Icelandic band The Sugarcubes, perhaps a little of a much younger Tori Amos during her Cornflake Girl period; there’s also a rich, sometimes growling rasp to her voice that calls to mind old-school chanteuses such as Eartha Kitt. Widodo’s guitar-playing is easy on the ears; somewhat restrained yet you can feel the musician’s sentiments through the rhythm, the melody.  Together, they are unusually dynamic: the sound is a little whimsical, somewhat eerie to the uninitiated listener.  But paired with wistful lyrics that call to mind quiet days spent engaged alone with one’s thoughts, the end result is fascinating and is bound to pique a listener’s curiosity.

ConstellationStars and Rabbit’s newest album, spreads that dynamism through eleven tracks.  Mostly ballads, the album nevertheless exudes an energy all its own; each song seems to have been written with an edgy sincerity, raw emotions coming into play through the intensity of Suriyani’s singing.  Widodo’s strumming a soft counterpoint serves as a backdrop for lyrics that tell interesting, poignant stories.  The feel is intimate, bordering – pleasantly, if I may state here – on slightly voyeuristic: listening is like catching a glimpse into a friend’s journal: deeply personal, honest, compelling.

Certain tracks stand out for one reason or another.  Cry Little Heart features a lover torn between adoration and contempt for a partner, with the dichotomy between the two extremes threatening to rip the narrator apart; yet the speaker/singer is so caught up in the situation and unable to walk away.  You Were the Universe, on the other hand, is a forlorn-sounding ditty at first; yet as it builds up to a crescendo, you could hear the narrator’s strength – and the pathos becomes a battle-cry for moving on and starting over.

The cheerful, playful, folksy intro of Rabbit Run is a pleasing contrast to this.  Your story is my story, Suriyani sings.  My story is my story.  The bright, rambling rhythm makes this particular tune a great thing to play on a morning run, a quick ramble or hike.  It has this uplifting vibe that, really, makes one feel alive.

I would recommend Constellation – and the bulk of Stars and Rabbit’s repertoire – not just for the indie-inclined.  This is music for the thinkers and the dreamers: those of us who live with our hearts on our sleeves, those of us who believe in the power, in the magic of raw emotion.

Stars and Rabbit’s Constellation was released last 15th May 2015.  In the Philippines, the album is released by Lilystars Records under license from Green Island Music, Indonesia.  Listen to the album on Soundcloud as above or click here to buy the album online.

Incidentally…

mla2015-8x11-03

Stars and Rabbit will be performing live in Manila on Sunday, 07th June 2015 at the SaGuijo Bar in Makati.  Tickets are available online via https://starsandrabbitsmanila.eventbrite.com/.  For inquiries and additional information, call or text 0905-3849495 or 0916-4004343.

Posted in Art and About, Verses

I Didn’t Want to Talk to You Today

"Hard Thoughts Soften Over Dinner" - Izak, c. 2003
“Hard Thoughts Soften Over Dinner” – Izak, c. 2003

i didn’t

want to

talk

to you

today:

i was

angry,

more than

annoyed,

fuming at

my desk

burdened

as i was

with cares

duties

responsibilities;

i wanted

nothing

to do

with you.

 

‘grow up’

you tell me;

‘grow up’

i tell you –

behaving like

irresponsible

madcap

sulky

teenagers

as we

once were;

both of us

unwilling

unlikely

to give up

to give in

both claiming

to be

right;

neither wanting

to be

wrong.

 

but

you said

hello:

brightly

politely

in that

irrepressibly

perky way

of yours;

and i

dither,

and i

fume,

and then

sigh…

 

life is

too short

to stay

angry

at anyone…

 

…especially

you.

Posted in Shutterbug Blues, Verses

À Propos de la Mort et la Renaissance

"Le Mort" - Muntinlupa, 22 May 2015
“Le Mort” – Muntinlupa, 22 May 2015

we stand

at the

crossroads:

each dying

a hundred –

a thousand –

little deaths

with each

day

that passes.

 

each death

each sorrow

each fall

that happens

is not

the end,

is never

the end;

but

each is a

beginning

each is a

rebirth.

 

we are

phoenixes

rising from

the ashes

of our

trials

failures

foibles

faults;

made stronger

made wiser

with each

day

that passes.

 

lessons from

the past

experiences in

the present

hopes for

the future:

everything

is a

new beginning;

everything

is a

rebirth.

Posted in Shutterbug Blues, Verses

Bloom

"A Bouquet in May" - Muntinlupa, 17 May 2015
“A Bouquet in May” – Muntinlupa, 17 May 2015

no one

ever

gave me

roses.

 

i used

to think

i wasn’t

pretty enough

good enough

sweet enough

to have

any.

 

but even

girls

like me

have our

days

and these

days

i’ve roses

aplenty,

i’ve roses

to share

with which

to spread

magic

meaning

mirth

to those

who need

miracles.

Posted in Shutterbug Blues, Verses

Standstill

"Gridlocked" - South Luzon Expressway, 20 May 2015
“Gridlocked” – South Luzon Expressway, 20 May 2015

everything

at a

standstill:

no one

move

or speak

let alone

breathe.

 

everything

gone static

going nowhere

tied up

tangled

immobilised

by unseen

systems;

gobbling goblins

in power

who toy

with our

lives

fancying themselves

gods

amongst men.

 

i sit

here

impatient

infuriated

made irate

by these

circumstances;

but i

hold my

tongue

i stay

silent

for the

gods

and the

fates

do not

take kindly

to those

who abuse

the power

in their

hands.

 

this standstill

this stalemate

may soon

be broken –

may the

gods

may the

fates

shift our

lives

for the

better.

Posted in Music = Magic, Shutterbug Blues, Verses

A Song to Walk Me Home

"Twilight Along Thirty-first" - 31st St., Bonifacio Global City, 19 May 2015
“Twilight Along Thirty-first” – 31st St., Bonifacio Global City, 19 May 2015

i say

my goodbyes

to our

crowd

even as

the fun

is just

about

to start;

an obvious

reluctance

on my

part

wishing

to stay

longer:

hear more,

know more,

feel more.

 

but

the world

reels me

back;

telling me

playtime

is over

is done

is through

that the

morning

brings more

responsibilities

to see to;

but i

want to

hear

one more

song,

one more

verse,

one more

tune…

 

no matter:

your voice

rings in

my ears

as i

walk down

the street

keeping me

safe,

keeping me

company

on my

way

home.

Posted in Shutterbug Blues, Verses

This Magic We Call Our Own

"To Build a Charm..." - Muntinlupa, 17 May 2015
“To Build a Charm…” – Muntinlupa, 17 May 2015

everything

we do

is an

act of

magic

waiting to

happen:

every word

we say

is an

enchantment,

a spell

waiting to

be cast.

 

for words

have power

and words

have might;

more than

movement,

more than

thought,

the words

we say

are weapons

are tools

are instruments

of purposes

that

drive us

shape us

change us

in millions

upon millions

of ways –

some drastic,

others discreet.

 

be wary

be canny

be savvy

about the

spells

you speak

you think

you do:

nothing is

free

and words

are never

truly harmless

nor do

they come

cheap.

Posted in Pure Fiction, Shutterbug Blues, Verses

A Story to Tell

"Where Stories Begin" - Muntinlupa, 2012
“Where Stories Begin” – Muntinlupa, 2012

‘tell me a

story,’

you beg me;

‘spin me a

tale,

one that

captures

my imagination,

freezes it

in place;

mesmerise me,

enchant me,

leave me

breathless

spellbound

by the

magic

of your

words.’

 

very well,

my love

my heart

my muse:

once

there was

an elfin

prince

who roamed

the world

in search

of expressions

honest,

of sentiments

pure,

of intentions

sincere

and true;

of memories

lost

one way

or another.

 

he sought

light

in darkness,

harmony

in discord,

love

in hate.

 

he wanders

alone

to this

day;

a verse

on his

lips,

a song

in his

head

a void

in his

heart.

 

i stop

and you

ask:

‘what happened

next?’

 

oh,

my love

my heart

my muse:

where

he goes,

why

he roams,

what

he’ll do,

how

it ends

is entirely

up to

you.