'Lalaban Tayo', a fight song from UE students in tribute to COVID-19 frontliners

Jackie Dosmanos

Posted at Jun 26 2020 03:29 PM

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MANILA -- One songwriter, 34 voices, a six-piece college band, and 3 music professionals. In a span of three months, they collaborated in the making of one cool music video that pays tribute to the hardworking medical frontliners who put their own lives at risk for others daily. 

Titled “Lalaban Tayo,” the first single from UE Jam Sessions, the music organization of the University of the East, premiered on YouTube on June 21. It featured a cast of students on lockdown in the comforts of home singing about the struggles and hope for a better future for all, especially the health frontliners who are out there saving lives from the onslaught of COVID-19.

Tommy Tanchanco, executive producer of the project and CEO of artist management outfit 12 Stones Records, celebrated the release of the music video, thus: “As we move forward in these trying times, we put our hopes in one another. Reshaping our lives this quarantine can never be easy for all of us, but still, let us not forget those people who risk their own lives on the front line and go beyond their call of duty. Through music, we, the artists of UE Jam Sessions, would like to express our deepest gratitude to them.”

It was an undertaking that started from an idea to help others. Tanchanco said, “Nagisip kami ng activity for our music org in UE. Since everybody’s on lockdown, no chance for us to do concerts or any such thing, really.

“Nagusap kami to produce a music video. Simple lang ang plano. Gawin sa bahay ng singers, tapos padala na lang sa arrangers and editors na kausap namin." 

Reality bit early on that the music project would not be as easy as envisioned. Tanchanco expressed the worries that came with a huge project in a time of national emergency: “Three months in the making siya. Maraming challenges kasi di namin alam kung magagagawa nga namin, in the first place. 

“We’re talking about connecting regularly with 34 artists. Kung magta-timing ang mga boses nila. Kung magkakatono–tono. Ang arrangement, di pwede i-rush ng gaynun lang. Pati editing, kakayanin kaya ganun kadaming voices?”

It turned out to be a happy case of misplaced panic in the face of a large undertaking. The kids were all right and so did the more experienced musical arranger Choi Felipe and video editor Cher Manuit. 

“Lalaban Tayo” came out fighting for its right to be a notch above the plethora of pandemic-related OPM this summer. 

Then there was the singular coup of freshman college student Jenny Legapsi who submitted a raw acoustic treatment of her own composition and in the right hands, it proved to have the makings of the COVID-19 song of the year. 

Take that from music-savvy Tanchanco himself. “Yung demo pa lang, maganda na,” he remembered. “It was transformed into a fully arranged, well-produced song. Honestly, it came out better than we expected.”

The participating UE students were just as excited and elated to have become a part of the project. A select few looked back at the unique experience via Messenger. 
Alexandra Reymundo, BA in Communications: "At first, I was hesitant because I think my singing isn't exceptional and I didn't have the equipment to produce high quality audio. But remembering the reason why I want to join the project made me push through with my decision. It was a tough but fun journey recording 'Lalaban Tayo.' 
It was a long process of countless recordings and editing, but we finally had our final product! The song lived up to our expectations! Not only did we encourage and inspired the listeners of this song, but this project gave us more love and encouragement for each other and ourselves as well."

Cher Elizabeth Manulit, BA Communications, video editor: "Editing a bunch of clips together was a bit tricky. It takes a lot of time crafting the piece into the final output. But that music video was only one of the many ways to motivate all frontliners and to express our gratitude for their bravery and commitment in these challenging times. We won't get tired of letting them know how much we appreciate their efforts."

Drei Sugay, STEM, senior high school (former "The Voice of the Philippines" contestant): "It was very difficult. Usually, these projects need a studio and everyone's physical presence. Instead, we regularly scheduled Zoom meetings with Sir Tommy Tanchanco, Choi Felipe, Cher Manulit, and Jenny Legapi (Songwriter) along with 34 of UE Jam Sessions' musicians. We had several revisions. We had difficulty getting the timing right, and most of us didn't have the luxury of a proper studio setup, but we figured it all out."