A Night of Music and Magic: Mandopop Season 2

Written by Caitlin Anne Young. Edited by Matthew Yuching, Denise Joaquin.

Photo Header by Timothy Tia.

Last February 22, Ateneans and non-Ateneans alike were treated to a night filled with beautiful music under the stars. Organized by Ateneo Celadon, Mandopop Band Festival Season 2 took center stage at the Bellarmine field. An annual event, Mandopop aimed to promote the Chinese culture through music whether originally Chinese or translated from English. As such, each of the bands vying for the prize that night was required to only perform Chinese music—be it Chinese songs, Chinese versions of English songs, original compositions in the same language, or even a medley of everything. Although a relatively new project—having begun just last year—it was still successful, with a crowd of people gathering to cheer on the bands and enjoy the music.

The event began with a lively introduction, thanks to hosts Candice Tan (4 AB COM) and Matthew Yuching (2 AB COM). After the emcees discussed the various rules and mechanics of the event, they then introduced the judges: Gimbey dela Cruz, Jessie Ngo Supelana, and Dean Kyle Ang—all people with esteemed experience in the study of music.

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First to perform was Ateneo de España – an Atenean group accompanied by a Thomasian hence the play in their name. They performed an impressive Chinese version of Maroon 5’s hit song, Sunday Morning.

This was followed by a performance by Wan Ting You, a seven-member ADMU band consisting of 3 singers, 3 guitarists, and 1 keyboardist. They performed a medley of numerous classic Chinese pop songs, and the audience was wont to sing along for nostalgia’s sake.

Rock band 兄弟 (xiong di), a self-described trio all about “brotherhood” then wowed the audience with an impressive medley of Michael Wong’s 童话 (tong hua), as well as Harlem Yu’s 情非得已 (qing fei dei yi) and F4’s 絕不能失去你 (jue bu neng shi qu ni).

Straight from the University of the Philippines Diliman, The Lost Tikoy impressed the audience and the judges as well with their amazing cover of Funky Brothers’ (放客兄弟) Music Addiction (樂癮).

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Aiming to raise self-confidence in girls and promote feminism, the quartet called The 4mation impressed both audiences and judges with their powerful vocals as they performed a Chinese version of  Rachel Platten’s ‘Fight Song.’ The blend of drums, piano, and flute as background instruments added a sweet overall touch to the cover.

To The Ground from Grace Christian College came next and blended both traditional Chinese music and modern Mandopop. In performing a live cover of Escape Plan’s The Brightest Star of the Sky (夜空中最亮的星), they added not only the standard fare of drums and guitar, but the traditional Chinese instrument 古筝 (gu zheng) as well.

Following this performance was Siomai Rice—another ADMU band consisting of members from the Ateneo Musicians’ Pool (AMP). With the sweet music of its lead singer and the live music from the instrumentalists, their rendition of the Chinese version of Mulan’s ‘Reflection’ brought the house down.

Finally, hailing from Philadelphia High School, the septet The Philadelphian Band brought the house down by performing a Chinese version of High School Musical’s ‘Breaking Free.’

Audiences were also treated to performances Mandopop’s previous champion BPM, as well as up-and-coming local band Pugfish. Mandopop was not just simply about the music, though. Various stalls were set around the field. Those who attended could enjoy donut holes and juice while watching the performances. Several game booths even allowed the people there to win various prizes and freebies. A raffle kept the evening exciting, as well.

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Finally, the winners were announced. The Philadelphian Band won the People’s Choice Award. 兄弟 was the 1st runner up with the band To The Ground snatching the grand prize.

Truly, Mandopop Season 2 was a night the audience would never be able to forget. After all, what beats a night of music under the stars?

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