“Ang pagkakalunod ay nararanasan mo na ba? Sana’y makaahon ka ‘pagkat kailangan ka nila.”
As someone dealing with issues myself, I probably won’t be listening to this song on not-so-good days, but it speaks of truth that people don’t talk about a lot, that I also find it comforting that artists are doing something to spark conversations about mental health.
Lunod, a new single from Ben&Ben, presents a visual narrative that aims to help push discussion about mental health forward with its metaphorical depiction of individuals trying to keep their head above water and finding their way out of a dark, harrowing tunnel. The music video was directed by award-winning filmmaker Jerrold Tarog, who was also behind movies such as Heneral Luna and Sana Dati:
The cinematic visuals were shot at the El Deposito water reservoir, an underground location known for its historical significance to the events that lead to the Philippine Revolution, Philippine-American War, and World War II.
“The music video is a deeply introspective and symbolic interpretation of the song, which is all tied in together from the concept and writing, down to the location,” lead vocalist, guitarist and Lunod chief songwriter Paolo Benjamin explains. “In the video, the song is narrated as the band, with Zild and juan karlos, move deeper and deeper into the tunnel slowly—losing breath, then in the latter half taking powerful strides to move out of it. This signals a ‘rebirth’ into a new, more mature version of the self.”
Having poor mental health is something that is usually brushed off here in the Philippines as mababaw (shallow) and mere pag-iinarte. Listening to Ben&Ben, Zild, and juan karlos “speak” to us through their song is somehow comforting as it helps to hear someone wishing you well and reminding you of better days ahead.
Ahead of the music video release, the nine-piece collective dropped a live acoustic performance of Lunod last month. The version, which features collaborators Zild and juan karlos, strips down the bluesy, classic rock arrangements of the original for a more subdued take. The intimate interpretation of the song is part of an exclusive EP release featuring multiple iterations of Lunod in various formats, including an extended version of the track.
“The multiple versions for Lunod were intended to bring a full listening experience to our listeners; for them to hear what more could be brought out of the song,” Ben&Ben shares in a statement. “We decided to release for streaming the acoustic jam of Lunod, the extended version in the music video.”
Going beyond MVs
Apart from the Lunod EP, Ben&Ben and its label, Sony Music Philippines, recently opened a Lunod-themed café at Latitude Bean+Bar in Malate, Manila as part of Ben&Ben’s Kuwaderno Pop-Up Café activities, which will run from November 25-27. The pop-up café includes a Lunod art installation inspired by Zelijah’s Bipolar Remix, as well as other art activities related to mental health.
The Kuwaderno Pop-Up Café features several exclusive activities for Liwanag and ordinary folks to immerse themselves into Ben&Ben’s critically acclaimed album and upcoming digital concert. The two other exclusive pop-ups are located at Jess + Pat’s in Maginhawa and Kale Café in Fairview, Quezon City.
Music fans can also purchase tickets to Kuwaderno: A Ben&Ben Online Concert directly at the three pop-up locations in Metro Manila. Set to redefine the concert-going experience with the biggest headline concert of their career, Ben&Ben’s upcoming digital concert will be integrating live music performance with multiple creative disciplines such as theatre, dance, orchestra, and technology to create an audio-visual spectacle like no other.
Catch Lunod on all streaming platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines. Collaborators Zild and juan karlos are also set to join Ben&Ben in their online concert happening on December 5, 8PM to 11 PM.
If you are in need of counseling or someone to talk to, please reach out to the National Institute for Mental Health at 0917-899-USAP(8728) or 0917-989-8727. Hopeline 2919 (8044673) is also open 24/7.