By ANNALYN REBECCA EISMA
“We perform based on experience, on how our parents relay the stories of struggle in defending our ancestral land against large-scale capitalist mining companies,” Sheng-nget band vocalist Ransky Balacdao relates after a three-song performance on the International Human Rights Day commemoration at the Peoples Park popularly known as Malcolm Square, early this month.
If there is something that inspires this group of culturati, it’s the rich culture they have been exposed to since they were kids. Growing up in Ucab, a community where Benguet Mining Corporation planned to operate, this bunch of young fellows had much experience to share through their music.
They are also collectively called the ‘anti- open pit mining kids’ by those who are acquainted with their family background. Childhood friends turned bandmates Ransky (lead guitar/ vocals), Gener Elorje (bass guitar) and siblings ArAr (drums) and Rejoice Aniceto (female vocalist) share similar experiences of hardship years ago as their families in protest actions and legal fora defended their claim on the land against the corporate mining activity.
“We grew up in a community where this type of songs fills the air, so we easily got familiar,” said Gener. He even praised their only female member, “Do you know the song ‘Danum?’ Joyce sang that!” That’s how they describe their music, – naturally acquired.
According to Ransky, they formed the band mainly to inform more people about local issues and sharing of talents in the alternative genre. “This is what we are, this is what we should be known for,” says Ransky.
Sheng-nget members are usually clad in their country look- black leather jacket, maong pants and some accessories to identify them as locals. “If we have these talents, we have to use it for good advocacies, for better appreciation. Therefore we have to showcase noble causes in creative ways such as bringing it to people’s activities,” Ransky explained when asked how they see themselves performing in such activities.