A musical journey into the waves of Pinoy pre-colonial hipness

John Paul 'JP' Tanchanco -- Tha Good Life

Posted at Apr 19 2019 06:23 AM

Rice Lucido

Cultural self-discovery is hip. With programs by the trade department named after the country’s pre-colonial name, Ma-I, President Duterte's rhetorics about changing the country’s name, and visual artists like Mark Higgins creating works inspired by our pre-colonial histories, a young artist-composer has come out with original Pinoy music to inspire everyone to take their own self-discovery journey.

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Exploring the Flow and Process with Rice Lucido 

Hele ng Maharlika 

The first time I heard the track “Hele ng Maharlika,” I said, “Hey, this is fresh yet deeply rooted." The track had a soft and gentle tone to it but was powerfully in season. I got a hold of the soft- spoken artist Lucido and was happy to chat with me and tell me more about her album.

“It started with an unforgettable conversation with a friend about the brief history of this country in relation to re-discovering our identity until it became a personal project of finding oneself in the midst of all the inevitable growth. What stuck with me the most is the word Maharlika and the meaning behind," says Lucido. 

"Based on our conversation, Maharlika is a combination of powerful derivatives which means 'Small but great in spirit.' The capacity of one to create in the name of the great spirits who have lived before us. I guess, for me, it just resonated so well that I couldn’t let go of the idea as it has helped me learn more about myself." 

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 “Hele ng Maharlika” by Rice Lucido 

Inspired to ask for guidance in a world of strife and disorder, Lucido and her team put together the track that carries the album’s name.

“Writing the track Hele Ng Maharlika rooted from a recent issue about Marawi. It was more of feeling in despair while watching the news. My friend (Gabe Dandan) and I wrote the song together as he stitched the chords and I with the melodies and words that came out naturally. It’s a cry for help. Asking for guidance from the Higher Being who is watching over us,” explains Lucido.

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 “Heto na Nanaman” by Rice Lucido was featured on the official soundtrack of the film, “Ulan,” starring Nadine Lustre and Carlo Aquino. 

I actually enjoyed reading the lyrics of the album songs. Lucido’s tracks have self-reflective portions which have enlightening moments for listeners to use the music and words and reflect on their own personal histories, contributions, recognitions, degradations or delusions.

“Heto nanaman is a reflection of constant darkness; of succumbing to the deepest obscurity of life. The grimy and the dreadful sensations towards circumstances that leave us in the brink of choking – could be death or rebirth, your choice. As it is breathing over and over again, let it seep through you until it reaches your warm embrace. A song for a graceful agony and damnation. The first track in the album, the first challenge an individual faces: the test of self-love,” says Lucido.

Lucido’s sound for this album unifies diverse elements into a unique amalgamation of ethnic rock, indie, folk, soul with some ethereal ear candies. It definitely expresses Lucido’s tasteful roots from local and international musical influences.

“I find myself among the melodies and words of Joey Ayala and Asin, mixed with the rhythms and emotions of 70s-80s folk rock bands such as Yano, Juan dela Cruz, and Sampaguita... I highly admire Joni Mitchel and her poetic expression in her songs. Laura Marling, on the other hand, is my current favorite,” she adds.

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 “Tahan Na” by Rice Lucido 

Empowering self-discovery 

The musicians who helped in the album share Lucido’s good intentions to inspire and empower Pinoys all around the world. Songs were intricately arranged by Mark Enriquez, Gabe Dandan, and Rice.

“Sound engineer was Emil Dela Rosa whose sharp ears helped in maximizing the essence of each instrument. Iggy Montelibano on bass. Benjo Robles on drums. Mark Enriquez laid other layers of guitar tracks to complement mine. Gabe Dandan on percs who made use of the power of Tabla (an Indian percussive instrument), bongos, shaker, tambourine, etc., also the one who helped me with harmonies and chants. And my back up singers: Raine Nuguid, Sab Hernandez and Dani Idea. Recorded at House of Billy Gaga run by Billy Reyes and mixed and mastered by the legendary Angee Rozul and Emil Dela Rosa. Releases under O/C Records with the guidance of Kean Crpriano (my manager) who gave me so much freedom and right amount of trust in this project,” she explains.

Mark Enriquez , who’s also the vocalist and guitarist of the band Bagong Luto ni Enriquez, was happy to share with me some of his experiences.

“Working with Rice was really fun. Since we have a lot of common interests, building her songs from scratch wasn't much of a struggle... I helped Rice in composing and arranging mostly guitar parts... My favorite tracks are Hele ng Maharlika, Tahan Na, Muling Mananaginip, Minsan Lang and Salarin,” says Enriquez.

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“Once” by Rice Lucido 

An intuitive bond of great ideas and good vibrations fill the arrangements. The tracks successfully bring together well-balanced chord progressions and harmonies that honor the roots of Pinoy organic folk rock music, while melodies fuse some modern indie ideas that elevate listeners of all ages.

“We'd let Rice play the song alone as the guide track and from there we build around it. We also hung out a lot to build the connection para walang mahihiya. Tapos, sasabihin lang sa amin ni Rice kung ano gusto nya marinig and then itatranslate namin for her yung naiisip nya,” he adds.

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“Salarin” by Rice Lucido 

“Personally, I create because I am able to. My intentions are purely for the purpose of creating and sharing what I can to better my environment. I guess I really haven't thought of a specific goal yet for it changes every time. I just want to be heard and I just want to keep listening and share what I can to help through the best way I can. Every track holds a different story. Nothing is greater than the other. All of them is my favorite!” says Lucido.

The OPM flow

Rice also sees possibilities of growth in the local music industry. She is also open to integrating more indigenous material in her work.

“I’d like to think anything that is run by force won’t succeed. If we just keep on riding with the flow all the while incorporating new ideas, the music industry can grow by integrating indigenous materials. These things are part of our history and if we continue to hold that truth within us, we would be able to fully embrace our individuality as Filipinos or shall we call it Maharlikans,” she says.

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“Muling Managinip” by Rice Lucido 

Rice Lucido’s “Hele ng Maharlika” is available thru Spotify
For updates, you can follow Rice at @ricelucido (Facebook Page, Twitter, and Instagram


John Paul C. Tanchanco is a travel, food, party, film and music aficionado. He is also an economist, businessman, MYX/Awit award-winning media producer and Kala guitarist.

"ThaGoodLife" is a special blog for news.abs-cbn.com on pop culture, travel, music, entertainment, business, food, luxury, clubbing, shopping and events.

For questions, features and comments, e-mail him at [email protected] or [email protected]