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GYUD / A Letter from Gary Granada

Dear Cebuano and Bisaya Friends,

I just realized that while I am Bisaya who speaks Cebuano and Boholano, I’ve been writing in Tagalog all my life! So I revisited the songs that I grew up on and decided to dedicate the next few years to “reintroducing” Cebuano classics to my fellow Visayans.

These masterpieces are mindblowing in wit, nuance, and sheer musical and literary genius. It is lamentable that we don’t hear them anymore. I had the occasion to ask a radio station manager in Davao why they don’t play classic Bisaya songs. “Because our playlist comes from Manila .” And before we bash Tagalogs, let’s remind ourselves that the playlist in Manila in turn comes from abroad!

Would you know the names Minggoy Lopez, Maning and Mil Villareal, Vicente Rubi, Greg Labja, Ben Zubiri or Maning Velez? But you are familiar with Beethoven, Bacharach and Bieber. They are all excellent music artists, except that we don’t recognize those who are closest to us. It is a sad commentary on nation building.

Well we do what little we can, so I’m putting up this piano-and-voice duo called GYUD, after the most familiar Bisaya expression (Cebuano for indeed), as a salute to the grand legacy of 20th Century Cebuano Musical Masterpieces. From time to time I shall put them online (tiguwang na, hinay-hinay na lang ehehe). I’ve done a few pieces already and you can check them out here:


To better appreciate the act, we prepared a makeshift video for the song "Bukidnon".

Thank you for your time. And if you like what you hear, please share this link to your Bisaya friends.



© Gary Granada

(Editor's Note: Reproduced on OOV with permission from Gary Granada)

Notes on "Gyud" by Geejay Langlois

Visayan songs are perhaps the most underrated songs in the Philippine music industry even as the islands have churned out classical music greats. Ricky Lo, in his Philippine Star column Funfare copy-pasted a letter written by Ivar Tulfo Gica, founder-trustee of the Kultura Bisaya Foundation, Inc. indicating that several originally Visayan songs have been given Tagalog lyrics, which has since then relegated to obscurity their original Visayan composers. Credit, instead, has been attributed to the latter's Tagalog counterparts.

The internet has provided space for Visayan songs to be more appreciated and understood. Youtube swells with various versions of two of the greatest Visayan classics Matud Nila and Usahay, and has unearthed the albums of Susan Fuentes, Pilita Corrales, Dulce, among others, from the "bauls" of time.

Gary Granada, a Visayan (from Davao) prolific composer of mostly Tagalog songs whose famous social commentary song "Kahit Konti" was popularized by the folk singer Florante, has little information in his website about his music achievements and his pre-"Gary Granada" days when he was writing music songs for famous singers and radio ads at 18. He wrote "Salamat, Salamat Musika" sung by Nanette Inventor, wrote the lyrics for PLDT'S "Tagumpay Nating Lahat" popularized by Lea Salonga, and wrote the most famous PBA (Ginebra) song ad of all time "Kapag Nananalo ang Ginebra."

Coming from a long Sabbatical where he sought refuge in his beloved Mindanao, Gary goes back to Manila with a music album in hand—this time, a fitting tribute to the long lost Visayan composers, and at a fitting time, when the wonders of internet make the most obscure songwriters have their at least 5 minutes of fame.

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