Monday, May 18, 2009

The Philippine Anthem Brouhaha

Brouhaha -"A confused disturbance far greater than its cause merits". The outburst of sentiments caused by balladeer, Martin Nievera's vocal rendition of the Philippine national anthem during the Pacquiao-Hatton boxing match in Las Vegas last May 3, 2009, is unnecessary. It stems from the National Historical Institute's (NHI) claim that the singer broke the law by altering the patriotic song's interpretation which should be based on Julian Felipe's original score. On a personal note, one should not be punished for singing the national anthem with pride and from the heart- which Mr. Nievera did. Unlike the visual arts, music is a dynamic art and subject to various interpretations depending on the emotion of its interpreter. I believe this law should be revised. To avoid this incident, the Pacman is volunteering to sing the National Anthem in the next fight.

Julian Felipe was born in Cavite City, Cavite on July 28, 1861. A dedicated music teacher and composer, he was appointed by Emilio Aguinaldo (a general and politician who became the first president of the RP), as director of the National Band of the First Philippine Republic. He died in Manila on October 2, 1944. A bust of Felipe can be seen in Cavity City and Makati City (where the photo above was taken).

Julian Felipe was featured in Philippine stamps twice, the first on July 26, 1972 as a definitive stamp as part of the Revolutionary Heroes Series II. The second was on September 3,1999, as a commemorative issue of the Centennial of the National Anthem. In this issue, he was featured together with Jose Palma, the anthem's lyricist.