Melody Road 2019 is fast approaching. Before we witness their anime feature concert on Sunday (November 10) at Green Sun Makati, I asked this year’s Radical Dreemers ensemble a few questions about their love of music and perhaps their future.
(Now, this piece is intended for you readers outside the Philippines – maybe someone, anyone from the west or the northeast parts of the world may be reading this – so I took the liberty to translate some answers.)
Question 1: What is music to you?
Lourdes Miguel (Radical Dreemers 2019 Concertmaster): Music is another language that enables us to understand stories that are untold: purely from the heart.
Kevin Mikhail Gomez (Choir Lead of Radical Dreemers): Music is life. Life without it doesn’t really make any sense. It’s so natural for a human being to make music, especially now that aesthetic doesn’t necessarily constitute what music is.
As long as it’s man-made sound, organized, and logical, it’s already considered music, or even art, for that matter. Music is something, I think, that really strengthens and aggravates communal and cultural growth, as well as exchanges, that’s why it is essential for globalization, and nation bulding.
Frances Dennease Fernando (Music Director and Founder of Radical Dreemers/Melody Road): It’s hard to answer. (laughs)
Honestly, I don’t think I can ever answer this question but please allow me to leave you with a wise quote by Daniel Barenboim (my favorite conductor). I agree with his belief whole-heartedly:
“Music is not about pointing out different elements.
Music, a work of music is about integrating all the elements.
If you are able to say ‘this is a very rhythmical part’, or ‘this is a very emotional part’, ‘this is a very technical part’, ‘this is a very atmospheric part’- you are not making music. You are only maybe producing some (could also be very interesting and very beautiful) sounds)…
The difference between just sound and music is that when you make music, everything has to be integrated, in that you are not able to detect the different elements.
Actually, you must always, always think of music. Music is about integration. This is why it is such a sad fact that there is no (serious) music education in schools. Because a child learns who from early on to really make music, learns about integration. Learns all about how all the different elements are interconnected.
He learns about the fact that there is no independent element. That tempo is not an independent element, that expression is not an independent element, that everything is constantly and permanently connected. I don’t know of a better lesson in life than that.”
They say music is life. It is actually the shortest but most complicated answer.
During my study of music in college, it was very easy to learn the theory, to dedicate hours and hours of your time to practice. But real music actually takes place when you’ve expended all aspects of life.
I had this very emotional piece before. I knew the history, I knew the how, the when and the why. My prof said I needed to experience being broken-hearted first to be able to give justice to the piece.
He said there’s something lacking. It sounded so innocent, my prof said. Until now, I have never given it proper justice. So yes, music is an integration of all aspects of life. They really say music is life. ?
Question 2: Do you believe you can continue doing these concerts five years from now?
Lourdes: Yes. I’m passionate about this kind of music!
Kevin: With the right kind of support and planning, we don’t see why not. ?
Frances: Of course! It really all comes down to planning. Professional musicians are very underpaid in our country.
During my first year for Radical Dreemers in 2018, it was my own budget, my own everything (think of me as a very passionate fan; something like that).
This is our 2nd year! Hopefully, with the right kind (support the arts properly; that is why I pushed for licenses) of support, we can surely keep doing this annually
Question 3: Do you foresee a future generation of Radical Dreemers?
Lourdes: Yes. A lot of musicians are gamers and anime lovers.
Kevin: A new generation right away? We’re just a ragtag group of young musicians banding together for the first time. Maybe we can start thinking about a new generation when we’ve already finished our work! (laughs)
It might not be soon, considering the average age of most of our musicians, but a fresh group for the future, if there will be one, would definitely be welcome.
Frances: Why new generation right away? Let us do it first, Jay! (laughs) But if you’re referring to: If someday, we would pass on the helm? why not! My vision for Radical Dreemers is for our group to keep representing classical music through the use of Japanese media.
Music Education in our country is not a well-supported field. It’s just there. People who actually take the course seriously cannot find the proper means for support and that is why I think it is a fading art.
The study of music is a life-changing act. I integrated this with my love for anime so that people who love both may appreciate the discipline of studying a musical instrument and being appreciative of the things you love. I have this belief that the things you love are better appreciated when shared.
That is why (I think), people flock to conventions and the reason why people get so sentimental around old anime (hello Batang 90’s!), because it is the sharing of the giddy, the soaking-in of the happy, and the feeling of being able to tell people that you are part of such an amazing community.
Music has the same effect. We just combined it so it can v-together . So yes, I honestly see a new generation of Radical Dreemers. But not now, we’re still enjoying it.
Melody Road 2019 is happening at The Axon of Green Sun Hotel (Chino Roces Extension, Makati City – a jeep ride away from MRT3 Magallanes Station) on Sundays of November 10 (Anime Feature) and December 8 (Video Game Feature).
You can buy tickets for the anime, video game or both features, still available for purchase over at melodyroad.ph.
This event is presented by Independent Play with keepsakes. as a media partner. Thank you Melody Road for accommodating my questions, and I hope this piece help propagate the Julie-O in our otaku hearts.