SOUNDBOX SESSIONS: Mojo Nova: Scaling greater heights through song

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Aliw.”

To amuse. To seek solace. To find comfort.

When Hans Samson wrote the lyrics to what is going to be his band’s single, he did not have a special message in mind (“It was art for its own sake,” he tells DNX).

The song, in its own meta sense, was written the end in mind – the end being amusement.

There was an added layer of challenge to the fact that Hans is not exactly fluent in Filipino (like most people living outside NCR, he is more comfortable in English than the national language).

Song was written a year ago, but the entire package has just been released now.

ALIW by MOJO NOVA

WATCH: ALIW is Filipino for entertain. It is also the new single of Mojo Nova, a Bacolod City-based band, performing for the second time on the DNX Soundbox Sessions.

Posted by DNX News on Friday, 26 June 2020

And song has recently been released by an international distributor.

And it could signal something big for Hans and his band.

OF FANTASIES, REVERIES, AND ESCAPES

Hans is one-fourth of local band Mojo Nova.

For the uninitiated, Mojo Nova is composed of four musicians – Timothy De La Rama (drums, the MO in Mojo Nova), Joanne Bernal (vocals, percussions, and the JO of the band), Hans Samson (guitar, the inverted letters in the last two letters of his last name that makes the third syllable, NO), and Van Lucenara (keyboardist, and the VA of the band).

It was Joanne’s idea, make Hans’ song collaborative, so there is a part in the song when the four sing as one, blending beautifully led by Joanne’s pipes.

Aliw, according to Hans, is a song about escape, which is quite apt during the lockdown when everybody has to think of ways to amuse themselves amid the boredom of doing nothing for the nth time.

“The song is about finding comfort in one’s own fantasies… when people find it hard to cope with what they are going through, one of the places they usually escape to is their mind,” Hans says.

Getting lost in one’s reveries. A means of escape.

Anyone who had been in quarantine would know how that feels, when Netflix subscriptions expire, when pantry shelves start running out of food items, when you are down to the last pack of noodles and all that is left is a few pesos in your pocket so you do not really know where to get the next meal.

The mind tends to wander to forget that reality is biting, and biting hard.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Song tries to express and explore the mind of the lonely, the mind of one who is trying to escape from reality if but for a brief moment.

LOCKDOWN BLUES

Joanne’s vocals have to be heard to be believed. It channels lazy afternoons, the sultry nights in tropical isles with dainty liqeur-laced drinks with umbrellas, of smoky nights in lounge bars where martinis are shaken, not stirred.

Think Sitti or Norah Jones, with a tad of Etta James.

Timothy Dela Rama, Joanne Bernal, Hans Samson, Van Lucenara, collectively known as Mojo Nova. | Photo taken with permission from Mojo Nova's Facebook Page
Timothy Dela Rama, Joanne Bernal, Hans Samson, Van Lucenara, collectively known as Mojo Nova. | Photo taken with permission from Mojo Nova’s Facebook Page

Joanne along with the band had been doing covers for their audience, but there was a time during the lockdown when she decided to isolate herself, even from the person closest to her, Tim, her boyfriend.

It was mostly “me time” for her,

Tim, for his part, binge-watched shows and classic movies. Van kept himself busy by helping mom and dad with the finances – Van is a job order employee for government, so he had his job to keep him busy.

But it was also a time for reflection, especially since they learned that their earlier single – Rise – had been giving people solace during the lockdown, especially in areas that are hardest hit.

“Rise gained a lot of traction in Indonesia, the US, and Italy,” Joanne shares, “it became a motivational song for people in these places.”

Mojo Nova in one of their gigs.  The band has just released Aliw, a song about getting lost in one's reveries and fantasies. | Photo taken with permission from Mojo Nova's Facebook Page
Mojo Nova in one of their gigs. The band has just released Aliw, a song about getting lost in one’s reveries and fantasies. | Photo taken with permission from Mojo Nova’s Facebook Page

Rise has already giving Mojo Nova some level of recognition among netizens, music lovers, lonely souls in need of a good push.

Now, it is followed up by Aliw, a song that explores the limits of the human mind as it dives and soars into places that are otherwise physically unreachable.

And with the new single being released, there’s no telling where it would lead Tim, Joanne, Hans, and Van.

For sure it would be towards somewhere exciting.

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