By JOAN GARCIA
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte–One would not normally hear the blaring guitars and growling of heavy metal bands coincide with that of the beats of the tongatongand the soft chants of a salidummay.
However, on December 11, youth artists from Ilocos Norte came together with the Salidummay of the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera (DKK) to call for the protection of human rights.
The first song of the Salidummay, Adda Kami said it best:
Amin tayo a naggapo/ ItikabanbantayanitiAmianan/ Amin tayo Pilipino/
Agkaykaysa a pagilian (All of us came/ from the mountains of the North/ We are all Filipinos/ United people)
Salidummay is a cultural group that uses indigenous instruments such as the tongatong, nose flute and gongs in their performances. Their songs are mostly about the struggles for land and life of the indigenous people of the Cordillera.
The concert, which was spearheaded by the Kabataang Artista Para saTunay na Kalayaan (Karatula)- Ilocos aimed to not just showcase the talent and skill of the bands that participated but to also demonstrate the youth’s capacity to unite in seeking for justice and pushing for change.
“The human rights situation in the country did not improve as President Aquino took power this year. The victims of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and other human rights violations committed during the Arroyo administration have yet to be given justice. The concert today is one way of telling the Aquino government that the youth would continue to fight for human rights,” Lee Biscarra of Karatula-Ilocos said.
For Mark Torres, vocalist and drummer of heavy metal rock band Oration Cyst, the human rights situation in the country is in decay, “The extra-judicial killings and other violations are not the only problems but also the lack of knowledge of the people regarding the issue,” he said.
Torres explained that they participated in the activity because they wanted to take part in presenting the real state of society to the audience.
“Our songs are about the issues in the Philippines, about the government and Congress, because we want to open the eyes of other people, of our fellow Filipinos, on what is happening in our society. We want to show them what the government is without its masks,” Torres said in Ilocano.
The Oration Cyst’s original composition, Katiwalian (Corruption), calls on the people to not just let things happen but rather, to fight the oppressor.
Nakikinig ka ba sa mga utos nila?/Ba’t di mo imulat ang iyong mga mata
Lumaban ka huwag kang paapi (Are you listening to their commands/ Why don’t you open your eyes/ Fight, don’t let them enslave you)
Other performers include Nevesytnewt, Shuriken Angel, Deathlehem, Earwaxx, Kill, Ehipto, Kusina, and Sunday Drive.
The paintings of Artist ARREST regarding the detained health workers dubbed as Morong 43 were also mounted during the event.