Happy, happy soul.

5/17/2011 --

Earlier this evening, our string quartet played at Van Gogh is Bipolar, and this has got to be one of the best and most memorable moments in my life. I'll try not to sound too sappy in this post, but I don't know if I can help since I'm quite overwhelmed at the moment. I'm at the point of being unable to express anything through words, so I'll just let it flow.

From Jetro. These are my treasures now.
One of the sweetest tokens I've [and the
quartet] received. It was our greatest
pleasure playing for him.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the professional music scene, we have these so-called harangs or gigs where we play, and that's where some get their living from. I'm not a harangista, and I don't think I can bear to be one. This is only applicable to me, of course. I mean no disrespect and no offense to the harangistas in the country. This is all me. The first time I had that kind of gig, I was dismayed. First of all, it's not true that there's no money in music. It's quite the contrary actually, as long as you've got the right contacts, and harang skills, for that matter. You don't need to get a degree, and you don't even need to have the classical techniques to be all that. Never mind those hours and hours of practicing, hammering your fingers, bleeding your heart and crying over a certain piece. There's a lot of money. Tons of it. That is, if you're willing to sacrifice your artistry. So the first time I had a gig, I cried. I felt like a prostitute - just playing dryly and without thought. Second, I have nothing against pop music, but to play an un-"arranged" pop piece for an ensemble is one peeve of mine. If you have to go out and play professionally, make sure that you've prepared well. Mediocrity is a sin in this profession. And so, unless I play with my group, or with an orchestra, I don't do gigs. To sacrifice one's art and craft for just money, is just wrong for me. That's the hard part with making your passion as your profession.

On a happier note, there are also a lot of ups in taking up your passion as a profession. You worked hard for something, you almost bled to death practicing so that you'll have the skills to perform, and you've made others happy while you're also happy playing for them. In VGIB, we supposedly played for food, but there's more to it than just filling our stomachs with gastronomic food. I felt like my soul was filled to the brim with happiness. Just happily making music with your friends, and seeing how happy the listeners are -- it's something unexplainable. And of course, the sincerity of the owner, Jetro, his friends and customers, I wouldn't trade that for anything. I was on hiatus from the world for the past few weeks - blankly going around while doing my duties. I felt detached from myself, and so out-of-sync with everyone. At first I had a tough time coping and delving into the pieces that we played, but the sense of familiarity - of playing with my closest friends - brought me back. A few nights ago, I played with the UP Orchestra in a concert at the Abelardo Hall, and I remember trying to smile after the concert. My lips were actually shaking as I tried to keep my smile in place for the pictures. I felt blank and empty.  But thank God, I think this night brought me back. I want to remember this feeling - this sense of fulfillment and utmost bliss as a musician and as a soul. I want to grasp this memory and never let it go.. and to keep on feeling this way. Even though I looked like a fool, smiling for over an hour while looking at a stamp, a pin, and a sketch that I've just tucked away in my memory box, I'm happy and at peace with myself at this moment. I feel high and drugged, and I don't wanna go down again.

If you haven't been to Van Gogh is Bipolar, take some time for yourself to visit the place. This is a place that feeds your soul. And it's not just the place that's worth visiting. It's owner, Jetro, is one of the sincerest and amazing people I know. His smile will calm you down if ever you feel like freaking out because you don't know what you are doing.

by Robert Alejandro.
As I'm naturally shy and awkward, and I usually
 need to exert effort just to speak up, I couldn't
bring myself to tell him how much I love
his works, and how much I love Papemelroti ever
since I was a grade schooler.
Heck, I was even wearing  Papemelroti earrings that
I bought the other day. ^^'
It's such an honor to be sketched by him.