My late father once told me that only a genius could write a song like Buchikik. I asked my father why, and he told me that even the Chinese and Germans couldn’t understand that song and yet many Pinoys loved it. In fact, it ruled the AM wavelength for a long, long time. My father said that when I was still in grade school. The days when our alarm clock was the Barangay San Juan Elementary School Unit 1 playing Yoyoy’s “Mag exercise Tayo Tuwing Umaga.”
Yoyoy was considered as the king of Filipino novelty songs, and I think that title does injustice to the genius of the man. It seems to imply that humor is a sort of a novelty, something that is cheap, not fit for the mainstream, an alternative, something that should not be taken seriously. I love humor. The fact is humor is the most difficult genre of any art to do whether it is in writing, painting, cartooning, sculpture, singing etc.
Yoyoy’s music, though humorous, is surprisingly wide in its field of exploration. I learn most of my Philippine history and geography from the song “Philippine geography”, one of his earliest hits. Who says that history and geography is boring? Why not try Yoyoy’s approach. How about weaponry? Why, Yoyoy’s “Granada” enumerates all the arsenal the Philippine army has from rifles to granada to bayoneta to bomba, a good mnemonic tool for ROTC cadets. Language? Yoyoy’s tongue twister "Si Filemon" when sang using all the vowels of the alphabet will cure any lisping as well as Demosthenes method of chewing stones while orating at the sea. I mean, Yoyoy was a genius. How about fables in music? Why, his “Hayop na Kumbo” is an Orwellian piece of literature by itself. If that’s is not convincing enough to show how talented the man was, in experimental psychology, literature and linguistics Yoyoy’s “Buchikik” is a dissertation material in itself. What was he saying? What kind of metaphysical thoughts did he want to express that he had to invent a language of his own? What kind of linguistic structural method did he use? To think that that song was inspired by the native pounded rice delicacy called buchi. I gotta to hand it to him.
It is time that we recognize his contribution to Philippine music. I hope congress will enact law recognizing Yoyoy as a national artist for music. I’m serious. Consider his influence among local bands. ERaserheads, Yano, Itchyworms, Parokya ni Edgar etc. they may or may not admit it but one can hear a Yoyoy in there. He was well respected; he was well known. His musicality was beyond question.
Consider our crop of national artist in music and I would say that some of them had their claim to that title through musical elitism. And unless one wants to write dissertations about Philippine music, then will their names only crop up. In the daily life of the Filipinos what are these national artists? Game show trivia is what they are—abstracts. Yoyoy deserves to be there as a true Filipino musician who made us laugh. Sometimes that’s all that matters—laughter. Think, just think of how many people Yoyoy made happy and then compare this achievement with our national artists achievements--avant gardes, cultural, innovations, nationalism, what atre they but words.
Is Yoyoy’s music a novelty? It’s an injustice to the genius of the man. As far as I’m concerned the man’s music is profound and wide. But the most important thing is, despite his image as a naïve probinsyano Yoyoy’s philosophy in music and life is so simple and yet so powerful—laughter. I love the man, and now he’s dead.
The man was also an outstanding Christian.
Read CBN's article about yoyoy click here http://www.cbnasia.org/700club/yoyoy.htm