“Trumpets are blaring, people are staring, ten-thousand eyes are on us…”
Two years ago, two of these ten-thousand eyes were blessed to be blown away for the first time by the beauty of the Sinulog street dances. As much as my eyes enjoyed the colors, the coordination of the dancers, and the loud music, they kept getting distracted by one seemingly strange character present in all the dances: the Sinulog Queen. I remember thinking, “what is she doing twirling around with the Santo Niño out of synch with the other dancers? Is she lost?” After a while, I noticed that her character would often be the center of attention towards the end of the dance, and it was then that she would lift up the Santo Niño for everyone to see. Her spontaneous expression of love always ended up taking center stage. How beautiful!
The song “My Unfading Joy” was inspired by this moving experience I had, during my first Sinulog Festival here in Cebu. As a songwriter, I try to give a portrayal of the love for the Santo Niño that the Sinulog queen expresses while she dances, thus highlighting the interiority and joy of the devotion to the Child Jesus. The “LSS*” effect of the refrain, “let me dance with you,” is meant to invite every listener to spiritually dance with the Santo Niño.
But why make a music video? A lot more work, a lot more stress, but a lot more fun! This providential supplementary project, allowed us to transmit the message of the song more clearly. Thanks to the help of so many friends and artists, we were able to show the story of a Sinulog queen who learns that the fading joys she hopes for, are nothing compared to the unfading joy the Santo Niño wants her to discover. Even though she’s from a poor barrio and even though it’s raining, her love for the Child Jesus is her greatest richness. (Br. Samuel Mary Leidel, csj)
*LSS – short for “Last Song Syndrome”. Often used when you keep singing lines from the song you last heard.
Br. Samuel Mary, from the Brothers of St. John, is the composer of the song “My Unfading Joy”. Its music video won 2nd place in the 2020 Sinulog Film Festival, Music Video Category. The video was directed by Mr. Roy Empleo, and the song was performed by Ms. Inah Libre. Aside from music, Br. Sam heads the apostolate in the University of the Philippines with the youth group called FIAT. He is also one of the brothers assigned to accompany Kaire – a group of young professionals; as well as the Aguila Boys – a group of teenage boys from the nearby barrios in Banawa Hills.