Back in my grade school and high school days, I used to lead the singing of the Philippine National Anthem or the Lupang Hinirang during the schools’ flag ceremonies. Back then, it did not occur to me that it will be sung in some other ways. While other versions added more fervor to the interpretation, there were instances when the whole arrangement is butchered and that somehow took away the respect that should be accorded to the anthem.
Whenever Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao has a fight, the singer of national anthem is usually the next most talked about item of the event. In the most recent fight of Pacquiao with Hatton, Martin Nievera sang the anthem. Before that, Lea Salonga (who has been commended for singing the anthem correctly) and Charice Pempengco were rumored to sing it. I should have preferred Lea and should have watched the fight with more enthusiasm.
Martin is an influence to me in terms of singing but his style these days is just crazy, predictable but just crazy. When he sang the first two lines, I thought it sounds like the version of ABS-CBN for its station’s opening and closing credits. But he jazzes it up more and that last note is awesome but unnecessary. The singing generated positive feedbacks, that it was heartfelt and emphatic. I agree. But I thought that the singing was not done as it should be according to RA 8481 and the National Historical Institute (NHI) reacted.
Based on the interview done by a representative of the NHI early this morning in Umagang Kay Ganda, I expect that Mr. Nievera will be reprimanded as with the others before him who ‘stylized’ the singing. No matter what, we have to abide by the law. It is there for a reason. Ignorance does not excuse anyone.