Two years after Rock Ed Philippines debuted some of the first tracks in its multiartist musical tribute to the country’s national hero on his 150th birth anniversary, “Rock Rizal” remains as new, as provocative, as ever.
From the start, the album was designed to be shared. “Technically, the songs are donations to the country by the musicians,” Rock Ed founder Gang Badoy told the Inquirer’s Pam Pastor in 2011.
The sharing continues. On SoundCloud alone, Rock Rizal tracks have been played more than 81,000 times.
Badoy has not kept track of the total number of times the album has been shared, but the total includes compact discs given away in schools and retail stores, tracks downloaded from Rock Ed’s Facebook page and even MP3 copies sent by e-mail.
The album features all-new songs about Rizal from some of the country’s best musicians, including Ely Buendia, Sandwich, Peryodiko, Jett Pangan, Aiza Seguerra, Ebe Dancel, Hijo (former Bamboo minus Bamboo), Gab Cabangon, Gloc-9 and Radioactive Sago Project, and more, Badoy said.
“Many other musicians pitched in to collaborate on one track over and above their individually submitted tracks,” Badoy said.
Marking the album’s first anniversary last year, DigRadio’s Jason Caballa wrote, “Some of the tracks, especially Buendia’s ‘Bungo Sa Bangin,’ are among the best songs these artists have ever put to tape.”
The Buendia song begins with a haunting image of Sisa, the persecuted mother of two boys and who turns mad in Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere”:
Sisa, tuwing umuula’y nababalisa
Dasal mo ba’y wala nang bisa
The most played song in the SoundCloud set, “Kung Tama Siya,” by Gloc-9 with Jaq Dionisio of KissJane, asks the same questions Rizal raised in his novels:
Aanhin mo ang kalayaan ng mga tinatapakan
Kung bukas sila naman ang syang maghahariharian.