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Bullet Dumas recounts writing ‘Usisa’ as ‘Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis’ premieres on YouTube

/ 12:06 PM June 12, 2020
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Image: INQUIRER.net/Jester Burgos

Folk singer-songwriter Bullet Dumas recounted to fans how he wrote his song “Usisa,” which he said was heavily influenced by Lav Diaz’s eight-hour epic “Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis.”

Dumas shared the story behind the said song to mark the premiere of “Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis” on YouTube on Independence Day, June 12.

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“Oh man, finally. Nung sinusulat ko yung ‘Usisa’ at kinailangan ko ng mga salitang tutugma sa mga naisulat ko na, kasama sa research ko ang panonood ng pelikulang ito,” the musician said on Facebook yesterday, June 11.

(Oh man, finally. When I was writing ‘Usisa’ and I needed to find words to fit in with the ones I have already written, part of my research was watching this film.)

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“Sa SM North 4 hours ta’s 10-min break ta’s 4 hours ulit. Tinype ko muna sa phone yung mga salitang kailangan kong hanapan ng katugma ta’s kunwari may narinig akong tutugma sa mga yun, type agad. O may magandang salitang pwedeng gamitin, type ulit. Pag-uwi, edit ng kanta. So malaking bagay sa akin ang napakagandang pelikulang ito,” Dumas added.

(At SM North, 4 hours, then a 10-minute break, then another 4 hours. I typed on my phone the words that I needed to find rhymes for and whenever I heard some, I typed them immediately. Or whenever I heard a nice word I could use, I typed it too. Then I edited the song when I got home. So, this fantastic movie is really important to me.)

Oh man, finally. Nung sinusulat ko yung Usisa at kinailangan ko ng mga salitang tutugma sa mga naisulat ko na, kasama sa…

Posted by Bullet Dumas on Wednesday, June 10, 2020

“Super worth it! Ang ganda pa ng kwento. Paano kung itinuloy yung El Fili (El Filibusterismo) at naging parte ng buhay natin? Panonoorin ko talaga ‘to ulit. Matagal na akong naghahanap ng mabibilhan ng kopya nito eh,” the singer stressed.

(Super worth it! And the story is great. What if El Filibusterismo was continued and became part of our lives? I am really going to watch this again. I have been looking to buy a copy of this for so long.)

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Dumas, who is among the many celebrities calling for the scrapping of the controversial anti-terrorism bill, also quipped: “Ang timely kasi may mga salitang kailangan ko ring hanapan ng katugma ngayon tulad ng ‘terorista.'”

(This is very timely because there are words that I really need to find rhymes for, like the word “terrorist.”)

“Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis” is a historical fantasy revolving around interconnected narratives during the 1896 to 1897 Philippine revolution against Spain. One arc tells the story of Gregoria de Jesus, Andres Bonifacio’s widow, as she searches for his husband’s and his brother-in-law Procopio’s remains in the mountains.

The film also notably features characters inspired by Jose Rizal’s novels “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo”: Simoun (Crisostomo Ibarra), played by Piolo Pascual, Isagani by John Lloyd Cruz, Basilio by Sid Lucero and Padre Florentino by the late Menggie Cobarrubias.

Dumas’ “Usisa,” which came with his debut album with the same name, was released in 2018. The track, which runs for eight minutes and 31 seconds, talks of the singer’s plight as he seeks the truth in a seemingly indifferent society.

Ideas for songwriting

Dumas also shared some tips for fans if ever they have a song that they cannot finish, especially amid the anxiety-inducing pandemic.

“[It] helps kung ipilit niyo bahagya pero kung ayaw na talaga pahingahin niyo muna ang sarili at ang akda, magnilay-nilay at humugot ng inspirasyon kung sa’n sa’n; manood ng pelikula, makinig ng musika, maglakad-lakad o magbike, magbasa ng libro o mas mabuti mga articles ng current events, at kung anu-ano pang maaaring gawin,” Dumas said.

(It helps if you really push yourself to write, but if you still cannot come up with something, you should allow yourself and your piece to rest, go reflect and draw inspiration from all sorts of things; watch a film, listen to music, go for a walk or bike, read a book or better yet, articles about current events, and any other thing you can do.)

“Always keeping in mind kung ano ang mga kinakailangan. Kasi madalas biglang may mapupulot kang ideya kung sa’n sa’n. Ta’s banat ulit!” he continued.

(Always keeping in mind what you need. Because you often get ideas from just random things. Then go for it again!)  /ra

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Lav Diaz’s 8-hour epic ‘Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis’ to stream on YouTube

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TAGS: Bullet Dumas, folk singer, Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, Lav Diaz, Songwriting
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