Musika ang lahi na aking pinagmulan.
Sa dugo ko’y dumadaloy ang himig at pagmamahal.
Musika ang dahilan kung bakit ako nabuhay.
Ang musika ay regalo ng Poong Maykapal.
So goes the first stanza of Handog Ko’y Musika, the carrier song in the first album of Jopper Ril A, an upcoming singer in the mold of Boy Mondragon.
From the songwriting skills of Jaybee Ramos to the extraordinary arrangement of Jun Garlan, the said album has become a family affair. Jun, the father, Jaybee, the mother, and Jopper Ril A. the son.
First of all, what’s with the name? “Jopper is a combination of our name. Josefina kasi ako,” says a smiling Jaybee. “Yun ang Jop. Tapos ito naman,” pointing to her husband Jun, “Perfecto siya kaya ayun ang Jopper.” The Ril is a short cut for April, the month when the boy was born. And what’s with the A? The parents smilingly refused to answer.
As what his song said, Jopper was born because of music, he lived with the music so it’s not surprising that he had learned music by himself. “Nakagisnan niya kasi yung mga instrumento sa bahay,” explains Jun who is a band singer, a musical arranger and an active member of the UFIMDAP (United Film Musical Directors Association of the Philippines).
“Siya lang mag-isa ang nag-aral.” Jopper tinkered with the drum set even before he went to grade school. Later on he toyed with the keyboard. “Kahit sa keyboard walang nagturo sa kanya,” says Jun.
Perhaps Jopper’s musicality was due to the early orientation he received from his parents but on second thought, music is an art and an artist needs talent. It’s a good thing the little boy’s innate talent was noticed by his parents.
After learning how the instruments work, Jopper’s next mission was to learn the proper use of the instruments. Without any help, Jopper was able to create an arrangement. For the layman, an arrangement is a simple accompaniment. But for professionals, an arrangement is the specific role of each instrument that would contribute to the beauty of the musical piece.
“Meron kasi siyang oido,” says Jun. From the spanish word meaning ear, oido is the natural talent of determining the tune. “Kahit walang chords, nakakasabay siya sa kanta,” meaning Jopper could do the accom-paniment with his instrument even if he is not very familiar with the song.
“Gusto raw niyang maging musician,” his mother Jaybee recounted the boy telling her this when he was still five. Although against the idea, the parents did not try to push Jopper to other directions. “Kasi talaga raw gusto niya ang music,” says Jaybee with apparent surrender.
Proud parents: Jaybee Ramos and Jun Garlan
From time to time, Jaybee and Jun would feel the pressure from their son. Not because Jopper was persistent or makulit. The boy actually had a way of his own. He would showcase his talents at home such that the time came for Jun and Jaybee to finally succumb to the boy’s wishes.
At 10 years old, Jopper’s dream was granted by his parents. Ako Po Si Jopper Ril A. is the title of the album containing 10 songs plus 1 instrumental version of I Love U, Mama and a minus one version of Happy Birthday.
1. Batang Masigla
2. Libre ang Mangarap
3. I Love U, Mama
4. Unang Guro
5. Mag-aral Mabuti
6. Happy Birthday
7. Bata Batuta
8. Magbago Ka, Bata
9. Pamana ng Lahi
10. Handog Ko’y Musika
From the title alone, one can already deduce the theme of the album. “Ginawa ko kasing talagang pambata. Kaya yung mga words na ginamit ko, ano…” Jaybee had wanted the songs in the album to be decent enough for children to sing. “Yung mga kanta kasi ngayon sobra ang lyrics, hindi na maganda sa bata.”
The lilting voice of the young boy is reminiscent of Banig Roberto, a child singer of yore who made it big in the international music scene. Since the songs were tailor-made for Jopper, one can expect the full exploitation of his vocal prowess.
Jopper had a hectic schedule during the holiday season. He had performed at the Christmas party of NMPP (Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Pelikulang Pilipino) held at Mowelfund in Q.C. He had also performed, as a way of promoting his album, to minor parties and gatherings.
To further hone his skills, Jopper is open to doing live performances. “Hindi naman talaga professional. Yung paminsan-minsang raket lang para mahasa sa audience,” explains Jaybee to allay the suspicion that her boy is being exploited.
“Hindi lang sa kanta ang hilig niya,” adds Jaybee. “Mas type nya yung kantang may sayaw.” Jopper is a big fan of Michael Jackson and it’s a given that his dancing moves were taken from the King of Pop’s style. In fact, his attire in the album’s cover was supposed to be a native Filipino version of the King of Pop.
And for a warm closing, Jopper leaves a very intimate message to everyone:
Ang adhikain ko kayo’y mapasaya
Kahit na sandali, mabigyang ligaya.
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