It started with an idea in 2010. Yeng Constantino would hang out in my place often during that time, and we easily were able to write songs together. The first song we wrote together was “Kalasag” (shield).
Yeng was a little anxious that her song Panginoon would never be released in any of her commercial albums and I was all-too familiar with her predicament with my own set of songs buried away in my notebooks. That’s the fear-based way of the world that we get used to sometimes. No one’s going to record something they fear will not sell. But Yeng brought the idea of forming an all-girl band and I was very hesitant to say yes. But I love her persistence.
I’m a mom of 2 boys, I have a solo thing going on with my music, and my friends and I just started a non-profit organization that serves children from urban poor communities. Very busy. Starting yet another band was not at all in my mind, and not a priority.
But I wanted to move in obedience to God. I prayed hard about it and I saw the opportunity of inspiring a lot of young people through this project, I just couldn’t say no. SESA is about working in obedience to God with the full knowledge of the challenges to come.
The following year (2011) I was asked to write a song for a youth conference called IGNITE, and so “Umalab Ka” was written and SESA recorded it and performed it at the conference held at Cuneta Astrodome in front of well over 7,000 young people.
In 2012, KKB (Kristiyanong Kabataan para sa Bayan) asked us to interpret and record the theme song for their youth conference called “Extreme”. We arranged and recorded the song, then performed it at their conference held at Araneta Coliseum in front of a crowd of 15,000. After that, Musikatha expressed their intention of producing us an album; and so after 3 years from the idea conception, we have finally finished recording an all-original 10-track album.
Here are some lessons I have learned while doing this project.
1. MULTI-GENERATIONAL — PURPOSE
One of the reasons why I’m also hesitant to say “yes” to this project, is my age. I often feel that I’m old to do this stuff, and that I should just let the younger ones do it. But then again, I’ve already settled in my heart not to let any of my insecurities and feeling of inadequacies hinder me to what God has wired me to do—and that is to sing and write songs. And so, I really am glad that I pushed through with this project. Working with people 13-15 years younger than me, inspires me to learn more. I admire their passion in learning new things. I just hope I can still have their energy.
It is also a privilege to work with MUSIKATHA. They’ve been composing and producing multi awarded songs even before I knew how to sing and play the guitar. Working with them and hearing their stories inspire me. It’s just an amazing thought to be working with people that I can somewhat consider came from 2 different generations with one purpose. Like what our pastor shared to us, instead of just passing the baton, it would be nice to run together with the young and the old to finish the race, eyes fixed on the goal. It would be great in any industry or organization, people can learn to respect each other and learn from each other. It saddens me to hear stories when the younger one would disrespect someone who has gone ahead of them or when the older one belittles the one who is younger.
2. INTEGRITY — PURPOSE
My dad has trained us to finish what we’ve started. When I say yes to something, that means I’m on it. And so, despite of the other things I’m doing, I’ve committed to put my best in this project. Though it’s “kinda” like a side-project due to the fact that all of us have our own solo projects and other bands, I don’t want to just treat it like an excess baggage…because it’s not. It started with a purpose, and so it has to run passionately driven to fulfill that purpose. The other people involved also gave their best in this, and it will be unfair not to give my heart in this.
Let me tell you about Julie Samonte- She is our guitarist, but she also have a day job and she lives in Bulacan far from the recording studio. But she poured out her heart in this recording. She did all the guitar parts. She carefully thought of the parts and effects needed in every track. She even came up with an excel file listing what kind of guitar to use, what sort of effects, and riffs in every part of the song. She would carry her heavy effects and guitars (mind you, guitars not guitar) just to do her parts without complaining or grumbling. Wow! That is dedication. That is truly a sesa that is dependable and trustworthy.
Let me also speak about Karmi Santiago. She is one of the best female drummers in the world today. Being the finalist of the global “Hit like a Girl” competition she is one of the sought-after drummers in the industry (playing for pretty much everyone – Ebe Dancel, Baihana, Barbie, Kitchie, General Luna, Richard Poon, etc..). I am so honored that despite her busy schedule she would be fully committed to taking time off to work on this project.
Then there’s MUSIKATHA, specifically backed up by Edith Mendoza who invested and trusted us with this project, believing in the cause.
There are a countless number of people that I failed to mention, who I am so thankful for. You guys know who you are, thank you so much.
And so after 3 years, finally, we finished this album. We maybe making music and writing songs, but SESA is NOT a band, and SESA is not only the four of us.
The next SESA album may not be performed by us and maybe performed with different vocalists and musicians, but as long as there’s a purpose/vision and there are people willing to run with it, then it will never end.
SESA is a movement with one purpose, and that is to inspire and empower young people to be who they are intended to be – a child of the King — living a life beyond ordinary.
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