The Guitar Man
by Oliver Carlos
Very, very few people know that I’m a musician. I admit that I don’t have a golden voice. Although I consider myself as an above-average guitar player, my best music skill is composing or songwriting.
I’m a late bloomer in guitar-playing. My Mommy bought me a Cebuano lanka classical guitar when I was in Grade 5. But since that guitar had a wide fretboard and my hands were tiny at that time, I couldn’t really learn how to play it. My interest in music sparked anew after I graduated from college. I used my first salary to buy a guitar.
When I brought home my very own guitar, I realized that I was a fast learner after all. It took me no time in learning the chords and memorizing all the notes on the whole fretboard. I was also able to play the finger-style solo guitar instrumental technique when it wasn’t popular yet. Soon, I was composing songs. I loved writing poems when I was a kid, so putting lyrics on my invented music was quite easy and fun.
Most of my songs are praise and worship songs. About a dozen of my songs were sung in our church multiple times in the 1990s. The most popular one is Faithful Friend, composed in 1998. It’s still being sung these days. The other songs I remember that we used to sing were: Jesus is in My Heart, Got to Have Faith, Jesus is the Lamb of God, Weeping into Dancing, God’s Will, Teach Me Your Way, I’ll Meditate on Your Boundless Love, All of my Days, and At Home With You.
In that music-filled decade, my bandmates who sang my songs and played their instruments with me were Maffy Castillo, Lian Del Valle, Nora Bautista, Jeruel Aguhob (rythm guitar), Nomar Morado (drums), Jess Castillo Jr (bass), Vlad Mariano (key boards), and Rene Derequito (lead guitar).
I also composed a despedida song, There Are No Goodbyes. Our church is in a university, and we had many friends leaving every year due to graduation. We often had farewell parties. A few times, There Are No Goodbyes was also sung in funeral services.
I also had a song entitled Kabigha-bighani. It was my entry in a Papuri Festival national songwriting competition. It didn’t win, but nonetheless, we still sing this song in church.
My most colorful song would probably be Eversince. I composed it secretly, practiced it secretly with Vlad and Rene; and then sang it to my bride, Maffy, in our wedding in 1997 as a surprise.
Art, poetry, and music are some of God-given channels for us to use in expressing to him what is in our hearts. There are many other modes, but the bottom line is we must use whatever God has given us. The psalmist did this all the time. He would write songs that expressed his gratitude to God, and even his apprehensions and prayers for deliverance and inner peace. He always had a ‘new song” for his God. Here are some samples of songs that were born out of the spontaneous bursting of human emotions:
“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things” (Psalm 98:1, NIV)
“I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you” (Psalm 144:9, NIV)
“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3, NLV)
Are you happy? Are you sad? Are you anxious? Whatever you are feeling, God wants you to pour it out to him.