Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What would you name your Chamorro Anime Ska Band?

Sa' hafa todu i tiempo tinane' yu', kalang u matgan i ilu-hu? Pa'go put hemplo, gi i otro na mes bei hu cho'gue Famoksaiyan. Gi i simana mo'na ki ayu, bei fa'nu'i (yan i mane'lu-hu) i kamek-mami giya San Francisco. Gi este na simana, debi di bei na'i iyo-ku thesis chair i mina'dos na kanto-hu, ya gi i fakpo'-na este na simana guaha dinana' giya USC nai bai hu fa'nu'i dos na tinige'-hu!

I'm slowly realizing the reason why for all this stressing. Everytime I am stressed out and think I can't handle it ya siempre matai yu', instead of saying, "next month I'll do less, I'll start setting some time aside," I start actively planning for more shit that I'll have to do later on. For example, today I'm extremely stressed about finishing up the second chapter of my thesis and the conference papers I have at the end of this week, and so what am I doing to deal with this stress? I'm submitting an abstract for a volume on film remakes! Lana, hafa i prublema-hu? Kao ga'masapet yu'?

I guess the key is that when I'm stressed as hell, I don't pine for a time when I'm not busy, but rather pine for some different sort of busy, at some almost mythic later date. What eventually happens with this though is that these obligations which in the distance appeared to be cool and exciting, accumulate and collapse together in weeks like this and become too much. So what do I do to help myself? I start to plan even more things.

Instead of academic things today however, I'm fantasizing about cool commitments. I'm imagining at some point in the future when I'm back on Guam, and I'm part of a Chamorro Anime Ska Band.

This has been an on and off fantasy for me for a few months now, the catalyst always being that i hobenna na che'lu-hu Si Kuri (Jeremy) will be moving home after he graduates in the fall and staying with our grandparents. Kuri has strange tastes in music that I often pretend to understand, while at the same time end up feeling drunk on incredulity. When riding in his car for example I am bombarded with Bard's Tale, epic, heavy metal songs, that you imagine fantasy fanatics click on whenever the D & D players enter a dungeon or darken woods. The names of these bands which apparently are mostly found in Europe, are hyper harsh, masculine and fantasy inspired such as Dragonforce, Iron Maiden, and probably something like "The Dreaded Black Fire Mage," or "Wizard, being the jerk that he is, shot the food."

One of the tastes that I can indulge however is his love of anime soundtrack music, in particular the work of Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts! Kuri often discusses forming a tribute band around the mutual love of anime music, playing such hits as Zankoku na Tenshi no TE-ZE, The Real Folk Blues, Love Seeker Can't Stop It, and of course the immortal Fu Mo Fu Mo Fu Mo Fu, from Full Meta Panic (I have never actually heard this song except when my younger sister Alina sings it endlessly, and proceeds to march around the room to the beat.)

If Kuri doesn't get a chance to start up his anime tribute band while he's in California, I hope he does so when he goes back to Guam. If he does, then it'll provide me the inspiration to actualize my dream of having a Chamorro Anime Ska Band. If you notice on the side of this blog, the list of my poems and songs in Chamorro that I've posted here. To write poems in Chamorro, unlike English I need to have a tune in my head, and so alot of times the tunes I use aren't your typical Chamorro cha cha, poppy tunes. For example, let me just go through the list and see ginnen hayi hu sakke' todu ayu na musika.

Sa' Hafa Ti Guahu? (Why Not Me?) from "Cochise" by Audioslave
Buena (Weakpoint) from "Politics" by Coldplay
Mapula' (Unravel) from "Undone" by Imperial Teen
Novocaine is naturally from "Novocaine" by Green Day
Lina'ala Esta Ma'pos (Life is Gone) from "Zindagi Es Tarah" from Murder
Na'hasson Hagu (Reminders of You) from "Nothing Compares to You" by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Maolek na Chinagi (Nice Try) from "Hey Man Nice Shot" by Fliter
Agang, Agang (Call, Call) from "Call Me, Call Me" by The Seatbelts

The interesting thing though is that I don't even like Ska, save for a few songs here and there that my brothers make me listen to, but for some reason I love translating those songs into Chamorro and just love the idea of singing them in Chamorro. I was browsing another Chamorro blog last week and the writer noted how young Chamorros just don't connect to Chamorro music and their language today because of its dated character. In some sense this is true, Chamorro language does remain fixed to certain forms, just like it remains fixed to certain spaces and certain bodies, all of which are unfortunate and make my life a living hell. But at the same time, this does become a way of copping out, over learning the language and ensuring its survival. The fact of the matter is, there are several artists out there who are using Chamorro more and more, albeit in small ways. Such as The Castro Boyz and DUB who are bringing Chamorro language into the pan-island musical movements bolstered primarily by Reggae and Hawaiian music. Also Tinapu's album was an incredible mix of the beautiful guitar playing that we know Chamorros are capable of, as well as the language.

If it ever happened, then my Chamorro Anime Ska Band would be my intervention into this issue. I refuse to accept the limits that have been placed down upon Chamorro language, and which Chamorros even while lamenting the limits, continue to reproduce them, through their very lamentations of how what I am drawing attention to is the "sad reality." A poor critique becuase it draws attention to the "way things are" while at the same time ensuring that the way things are remains beyond our ability or responsibility to change them.

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