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Foster the people

How folk singer Noel Cabangon uses his music to help open people’s eyes to social ills and inspire them to do something about it

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People hear music from the cradle then throughout many important occasions in life – from graduations to weddings. Indeed, rhythm and rhyme is powerful social glue especially in the Philippines where many can carry a tune.

Noel Cabangon (mb.com.ph)

Noel Cabangon

Folk singer Noel Cabangon said, “Kahit saan ka pumunta, kahit saang sulok sa Pilipinas, meron at merong taong tumatangkilik at nagmamahal sa musika.”

For the seasoned performer, music goes beyond fostering camaraderie but actually inspiring people to soldier on amid difficulties.

“Kapag nakarinig tayo ng isang kanta, at some point, parang nai-inspire tayo at nagkakaroon ng lakas para lumaban,” said the man behind the hit “Kanlungan.”

Though he often describes himself as “simpleng musikero,” Noel’s aim is lofty: To facilitate social awareness through his music. For this, Noel actively supports various causes that support human rights, peace and the environment.

We hear this in the music. A few years back, the singer-songwriter made his mark internationally with the tune “Men Move.” Originally written for the Philippine Commission of Women, the song calls out to men everywhere to “bring all forms of violence against women to an end.”

With support from the Government of Spain, the song has been translated into several languages as part of the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign in 2012.

“I believe music is partly for entertainment but beyond that, we could use it for our advocacy. We could use it to spread awareness and impart knowledge to people,” he said.

Benefit concert

Noel is spearheading “Kaya Natin ’To” on Aug. 30 at Resorts World Manila (RWM). The concert is for the benefit of those affected by the tragedy that happened at the casino-resort recently.

He also wrote a song with the same title specifically for the show.

“I am very honored to have been given the opportunity to write something like this,” he related. “As a composer, my task is to create harmony so, this is creating harmony with everybody, not only with other artists, but with listeners.”

Noel added, “It is a song to bridge the nation. I believe this is an opportunity for us to inspire other people who face daily challenges in life. It tells us that we Filipinos can rise above any challenging situation.”

In a separate interview, show director Freddie Santos explained how the project came about.

He shared, “A couple of months ago, something unfortunate occurred here at the Resorts World complex. This show was conceived by the people of RWM precisely to help those who were affected by that particular tragedy. ‘Kaya Natin ’To’ is really a call to arms, a call for everyone here at Resorts World to rise, to bind together, move forward together to a much better future.”

Other artists appearing at the concert are Cris Villonco, Pinky Marquez, Juan Miguel Salvador, Tanya Manalang, Shiela Valderrama, Lorenz Martinez, Marian Santiago, Bo Cerrudo, PRIMO, Singing Sensations, Kakai Bautista, Fred Lo, Justine Peña, Sweet Plantado, Bituin Escalante, Lani Ligot, Ring Antonio, Michael Williams, Mitoy Yonting, Arthur Manuntag, Dulce, Cheska Rojas, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Mako Alonso, Jill Peña, Isabela Araneta-Elizalde, and Christian Bautista.

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