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All agog for a Butuanon ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ wannabe

By Gibran Culbo

Nearly all sari-sari stores with a TV set are filled to the max not because the neighbors care to patronize it but to ogle and cheer the current apple of Butuanons’ heart and pride, Elaine Duran, one of the finalists of the singing contest, “Tawag ng Tanghalan” of the noontime show of a major TV network.

Every Butuanons, it seems, you met loved to talk about her as if they know her personally or intimately.

“She’s our neighbor in Baan and she’s a nice girl,”she claimed even if I didn’t asked.

“She’s 20 years old and she has a sister who sings well too in fact all of her family do,” another neighbor from Doongan said.

Now I really don’t know where she is from, everybody want to claim her.

This week, for the first time I finally saw Elaine sing as one of the semi-finalists and she has a terrific voice indeed. Worthy to win if all Butuanons vote for her.

I got a text message from someone I do not know urging me to cast my vote. I replied in Visayan,”Mounlod ang Butuan kung dili siya kadaog?”( Will Butuan sinks if she would not make it?) I hope not.

My apology I am not much of a fan of singing contests I believe it’s a reflection of “colonial mental” attitude and taste. I find it ridiculous Filipinos apingAmerican pop singers like they don’t know much but imitate.

I believe Filipinos excel in all fields of art so why should they try hard to copy styles? If they sing in Tagalog or Visayan they have nothing to prove anymore. They are a world-class of their own.

Butuan and Caraga Region are home to talented singers and musicians who conquered world music, whether pop, neo-ethnic and classic inspired.

Elaine is an addition to the region’s roster of acknowledged talents like Jason Dy and Lance Busa, both of contemporary colonial music.

Grace Nono, now a doctor of music from a New York University, and Bayang Barrios, both of Bunawan, Agusan del Sur are referred and rightly so, as divas of neo-ethnic and world music-music that nurtures and celebrate original, indigenous sentiments and messages.

Other Butuanon musician who earlier made a name in Manila is Edgar Gonzalez who is a respected music director. In the field of film, director Laurice Guillen grew up in Butuan and graduated high-school at Father Urios now a university.

So from these achievers mentioned to Elaine Duran of the present, whether she wins or not, Butuanons and Caraganons stand proud. Line up to the sari-sari stores people!

Photo courtesy of Lionhear TV

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