This Fun Exhibit Lets You Sing Along to a National Artist's Compositions

Indeed, "kay ganda ng ating musika!"

( Even before hugot songs (those with very relatable lyrics about love) become so popular, Filipinos were already singing their hearts out to local classics like "Kailan," "Can This Be Love?," "Araw Gabi," and "Maalaala Mo Kaya." And it was Ryan Cayabyab (a.k.a. Mr. C) who gifted us these songs that express all kinds of love—love for a person, love for motherland, and love for music. An exhibition at the College of Saint Benilde’s School of Design and Arts in Manila gives tribute to such talent, who was conferred the title National Artist for Music in 2018 and presented the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2019. Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika, as the show is aptly called, runs until April 18.

Ryan Cayabyab Exhibit

The exhibition also presents an overview of the life and works of Ryan Cayabyab from 1954 up to the present time. 

It is a challenge to show a very abstract form of art, let's say music, into something visual, especially in an exhibition. "Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika" finds a way to engage the audience visually through various interpretations of Cayabyab's songs in the form of tapestry, sculptural pieces, and other installation works by art students from the College of St. Benilde (CSB).  

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Art students from the College of St. Benilde interpret selected songs of Cayabyab into tapestry and installation pieces.

Through the exhibition, the audience gets to know the story and inspiration behind every well-known song composed by Mr. C. Take for example the song "Tunay na Ligaya," which according to him was a gift to her wife Emmy Punzalan before tying the knot. 

Part of the exhibition are anecdotes and personal stories from former students, long-time friends, and colleagues of Cayabyab who is popularly addressed by everyone in the music industry as Mr. C.  

What better way to experience the maestro's music? The exhibition features a karaoke area where visitors can sing along to their favorite Cayabyab composition, such as “Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka,” “Kailan,” and “Can This Be Love?” 

Get ready to sing a Cayabyab classic. 

"I was able to influence many of my younger colleagues in the music industry to adopt the same vision: to enable the new generation of songwriters to be better than our generation, so that our music community can move forward,  and thus bring the entire creative industry to new heights, and hopefully help the country to move forwards by becoming leaders and songwriters of new music for the world to hear," he stated during his Ramon Magsaysay Award acceptance speech, which was on display during the exhibit.  

There is no denying the significant contribution of Cayabyab to the country through his compositions that encompass different generations of music lovers. His songs have captured the joy, pain, and even the realities that come along with being a Filipino. 

Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika runs until April 18 at 12/F School of Design and Arts, De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde, Pablo Ocampo Street, Malate, Manila City.


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