To Birit or Not to Birit

3 03 2009

This is long overdue but I never found the inspiration to finish my entry until now. I had been listening to Regine Velasquez’s Low Key album (I love it!) when I remembered about the draft that has been sitting in my blog for months.

I was never a huge Regine fan but I went to one of her concerts in the UP Theater in the late 90s.  It was sponsored by one of the orgs in the university and one of my dormmates who was a member of that org urged me to buy a ticket and watch it with them.  And boy, was I glad I did.  Not only can Regine hit those unbelievably high notes, she can really be very engaging.  She’s funny and she’s warm.  So while I still cringe every time I hear the last line of her I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing version, I still admire her big time.

During those times, Regine had the monopoly of the belting arena, with her vein-bursting songs and by hitting those sky-high notes in the local scene.  Watching her do it live leaves one’s mouth gaping and fly-hungry.  Yes, Dulce was already there.  So were Ivy Violan, Dessa, and all those ‘biriters’.   But Regine was different at that time.  She owned the stage and she carved her own niche in the music industry from that time on.  She was the star.  She was the queen.

Through the years, Regine has somehow matured.  While she still goes for those skyscraping notes, blame it on the arrangers, she has now slowly mastered the more melodic and easier-to-the-ears kind of music.  Her music now is cool and minty.  Low Key, the album, is amazing, for lack of better nomenclature.  Me likey!  On her TV performances, she still taps those high notes with her pipes but it’s not as eardrum shattering as it used to be.

Dulce, on the other hand, seemingly busts her vocal chords but not really.  I mean, way back in the late 80s and all through the early 90s, in singing competitions, almost always, Ako ang Nagwagi is a part of the repertoire. When Dulce sings, everybody listens, mouth agape and all.  I heard her sing a few months ago and boy, she can really SING!  There’s something special with the way she sings.  She definitely has a very wide vocal range because when she goes baritone, she really goes baritone!

Then came Lani Misalucha, Bituin Escalante, Sheryn Regis, etc.  These days, we have Charice Pempengco, Sarah Geronimo, Kyla, Rachel Ann Go, and all those singers who make a living by testing the malleability and the elasticity of their jugular veins.  Even young kids who try out for those songfests stretch those vocal chords to their limits.  People think that a good singer is measured by the pitch of his/her voice.  Singers who don’t do a Jennifer Hudson do not get that much applause these days.  Which is sad because they too sing really well.

Come to think of it, this is the same for music industries all across the globe.

I mean, I am in awe of those who can really belt out a difficult song and all but I respect those who can hit all those notes well, low as they may be, as well.  Perhaps, it’s best if we can appreciate all genres and kinds of music.  I mean, I have an eclectic taste.  I like the soothing variety, as well as the upbeat ones, even those that are headbang inducing and those that seem to signal the awakening of the dead.  It’s a pity that aspiring singers these days gear towards a single direction.  And it’s not exactly voice box-friendly.  It ain’t called belting for nothing, after all.

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