When it comes to embodying Pinoy culture, P-Pop boy group ALAMAT always shines the brightest. And this is true for their latest romantic ditty, Maharani.
Whether you’re a longtime supporter or a newbie looking for a great P-Pop experience, listening to or watching anything from ALAMAT always feels like you’re treated to a distinctly Filipino offering that’s brimming with talent and bursting with history, culture, and pride. Since being thrust into the Philippine music scene a couple of years ago, the diverse and multilingual six-piece boy group has been killing the game with their groovy music, buoyant visuals, sleek choreography, and sharp style that all scream Pinoy. And welcoming the 2023, ALAMAT has released yet another well-crafted music video for their R&B ditty, Maharani, that for sure will resonate once more.
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LET ME BE YOUR KING
Reminiscent of the sensuality of Say You Love Me and the sentimentality of Sa Panaginip Na Lang, ALAMAT’s Maharani sees Taneo, Mo, Tomás, R-ji, Alas, and Jao channeling their hopeless romantic selves yet again. Their latest track is part of their debut seven-track mini album Pasulong, and tackles an admirer’s passionate and relentless pursuit of love from someone who’s in a complicated relationship.
“Hindi niya batid ang kaniyang sinasayang / Habang ako dito’y naghihintay lamang / Gaya ng mga iilang / Tagahanga mong nasa gilid lang / Pangako ‘di ako nahihibang / Ikaw ang aking nag-iisang, Maharani.” Capturing the essence of modern romance in graceful melody, Maharani blends neo soul energy with Filipino and Southeast Asian inspiration, using instruments like kanun, gamelan, and gangsa. Couple this with some smooth R&B and trap vibes and Maharani becomes a masterful amalgam of traditional and contemporary music.
Composed by award-winning singer-songwriter and producer Thyro Alfaro, Maharani is a Sanskrit term which refers to the wife of the Hindu royalty Maharaja and simply translates to “great queen.” Alfaro reveals that the melodious and pleasant sound of the word first became his inspiration for the song and built the entire music and lyricality around it. Marahani is also inspired by the Filipino folk and bamboo dance singkil, which Alfaro explains is the influence behind the track’s wooden sounds and beats.
MAHARANI MUSIC VIDEO
As featured in Maharani’s music video that had its world premiere on January 24, singkil is the Filipino element that ALAMAT primarily spotlights in Maharani. A cultural dance distinct to the Maranao ethnic group of Lanao del Sur, singkil has taken on various forms throughout the years.
The most popular of them is the choreography created by National Artist for dance, Lucrecia Reyes-Urtula, and the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company where they incorporated a male dancer into a traditionally all-female ensemble, as inspired by the Maranao epic poem, Darangen. Here, diwata or guardian spirits orchestrate the meeting of Prince Bantugan and Princess Gandingan. When the diwata causes an earthquake in a forest, Princess Gandingan jumps, hops, and leaps from rock to rock to save herself; her graceful and light movements ultimately making Prince Bantugan fall in love.
Alfaro notes in a video feature that in terms of the lyrics, he wants to explore the themes of singkil and make a reversal of roles: where instead of a woman dancing for the approval of a king, men are dancing and seeking the attention of a queen. In the music video, the ALAMAT boys are classmates rehearsing for a performance of singkil where, in another P-Pop collaboration, ALAMAT Taneo and BINI Jhoanna play as Prince Bantugan and Princess Gandingan, respectively, and as two people looking for love that will never come.
Produced by VIVA Records and Nuno Media, and directed by ALAMAT’s frequent collaborator and filmmaker Jason Paul Laxamana, the Maharani music video has got everything: vibrant colors, shimmering and golden costumes, relatable storyline, a choreography that’s waiting to be the next viral hit, and just that signature ALAMAT effect that on the one hand, fills you with P-Pop pride, and on the other, makes you wanna hit your best moves and sing your heart out. Needless to say, ALAMAT does not disappoint with Maharani, both musically and visually, and proves that when it comes to embodying P-Pop, they’re really the one to beat.
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