Words by Tony M. Maghirang

Performing as a solo singer-songwriter, The Jerks frontman Chickoy Pura once sang about dancing on broken glass (“Sayaw sa Bubog”). At that time, Chickoy skewered the Cory Aquino regime for its gross failure to secure the gains of the EDSA revolt from the dictatorship it overthrew.

Three decades later and solo Pura rages once more against a newly installed government that’s about to dash — kill even — the fading hopes for peace and unity in our fractured motherland. His latest offering, “Madilim Na Sulok Ng Kasaysayan (Dark Corner of History),” rocks but unlike the rock and roll of the bar band The Jerks or the proto Pinoy punk of the first generation of the group in the mid-80s, “Madilim” moves towards midtempo rock then turns a spotlight on the wave of killings that has claimed thousands of lives, most of them young ones, and its aftermath of grief, remorse and gnashing of the teeth.

“Sa madilim na sulok ng kasaysayan

Nakatambak ang mga katawan 

Mga impit na hagulgol at iyakan

Katabi ng puntod ng katarungan”

His lyrics point to tell-tale signposts to an impending apocalypse: rampant murder on the streets. Impunity unchecked and justice denied. The crowd cheering the perpetrators. Freedom sliding down a constricting road to salvation.

Chickoy might as well be singing about the Christians in the Roman Coliseum, Luna’s “Spoliarium” magnified a thousand-fold, the Russian pogrom, or Germany’s reign of terror.
We all know what Pura’s song is all about. In his telling today, and his singing with a palpable catch in his voice, he’d rather light a candle than curse the enveloping darkness.
It’s timely and cathartic.

Chickoy Pura of The Jerks

In an email message, Chickoy wrote that his song is about “creeping tyranny” illustrated by EJK. It’s a comment on the current regime though he’d let the listeners decide its weight as this season’s “Sayaw sa Bubog.”

He added, “It took me about a week to polish the words and music. I recorded the song in response to an ad for free recording for any anti – fascist song. I just grabbed the opportunity.”

Former E-Heads Buddy Zabala (currently bassist for Moonstar 88) and Raimund Marasigan (Sandwich mainman) produced the song. “I did the vocals and guitars and Buddy and Raimund provided added instrumentation — bass and drums, back-up vocals and keyboards. It was just the three of us in the studio. Both of them are brilliant musicians. It was a great experience. Everything fell into place.

“Hopefully, we plan to record some of my other songs. Right now, we’re taking it one song at a time.”

Photos by Francis Reyes