My father passed away yesterday due to heart failure. We didn’t get into a good how-are-things talk before it happened, but I would have the usual short Q&A sessions with him during video calls with my mother some weeks ago. No, we’ve been in good terms, and that’s the normal setup since my parents migrated to the US: I talk to Mommy, he’d most probably be near her listening in. Our exchange would vary from technical difficulties with the chat program we were using, to his standard “May girlfriend ka na ba?“.
There are lot of things I could type down and share about Daddy, but most of these things, I know I should just keep to myself, and to people I value. Or maybe some other time when it would be easier to arrange them in a nicer narrative. I’m still emotionally shaken, but I’m finding this word-crunching cathartic right now.
I’ll write about my father’s music.
When he got back from his work stint in Saudi Arabia, he brought with him hundreds of cassette tapes. He also bought shiny music discs, with rainbow streaks when you have them angled right with your fingers. This was the 80s, and I’d marvel at how the CD player uses an actual laser beam to play these things.
Daddy was no rocker. I remember him underlining the fact that he loves Frank Sinatra, except when he does his jazzy stuff. Noting these, it would probably be easy to file his music taste far away from the hippie-cool standard. At my age, or even with my grunge-loving high school self, looking back, I didn’t think that ever mattered at all.
Here are a few songs/artists I know Daddy loved:
Daddy didn’t have an academic appreciation of classical music, he just took in whatever he fancied. I’m unsure now if it was this specific Mantovani piece, but I’m more than positive with the epic Ravel’s Bolero. The volume dial would go real high for these songs. This would get my father, metaphorically speaking, to rock out.
Paul Mauriat. Richard Clayderman. These guys. Names that would’ve probably merited a puzzled reaction to my elementary school classmates, if ever I did mention them. That never happened, but I bet half my Lego set that with the intro of Ballade pour Adeline, they’d be surprised to be fed with the instant knowledge that it started Helen Vela’s weekend drama.
What stuck out from Daddy’s music collection were the number of ABBA albums we had. I know the general populace have a common fondness for these Swedes, but me? Not so much. I don’t recall any personal notes on the group and their music that my father had, but the question as to who was prettier between the two lead singers may have arised.
We had a Didith Reyes vinyl, but I was most probably non-existent, or too young, to have heard it played. We also had a token Kuh Ledesma tape. Ric Segreto, though, was someone that Daddy got to watch at a hotel gig, and he has been all praises for him since. He isn’t the sort to watch live music acts, but I know how critical he can get, and how hard he is to impress. For me, this bit is one awesome, common sentiment, as I’ve possessed nothing but love for Segreto’s music as far back as I can remember. We never had an album of his, though.
I know Daddy has always deemed my sort of music weird, but there’s no contest to that, since he still isn’t wrong. If I recall right, that opinion only went as far as possessing a face of disdain every time he’d unfortunately be in the same space as I was, and hear the actual music. Like when my fifteen year old self insisted on watching Metallica playing Enter Sandman in the 1992 Grammy’s, my mouth agape, sitting excitedly on the floor directly in front of the TV, with my entire family sitting on the couch behind me.
Daddy’s music collection remain at home in Bulacan, moldy and unused. Late last year, I gave him a link to an oldies channel on AccuRadio. I had a feeling that he’d enjoy what he’d hear, but I didn’t ask again after that if he did try it. I hope he did, and thought that even if his youngest son was too far out and different music-wise, this son would also remember, and treasure, this side of his father’s life.