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The New SEA Games Theme Song Has Us Hyped for PH Athletics

Have you heard and seen the official theme song of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games?
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"We Win As One" is a collaborative effort by three internationally acclaimed Filipino artists: Tony awardee Lea Salonga, National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab, and Palanca award-winning writer and director Floy Quintos.

The anthem for the 30th edition of the biennial multi-sport event, along with its music video, was launched recently at The Grand Bar and Lounge of Resorts World Manila.

No wonder the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) brought out the big guns; the country is set to host the SEA Games again after 14 years, from November 30 to December 11 in 44 venues (Clark, Subic, Metro Manila, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, and La Union).

Quintos had to consider not only the Philippine campaign, but also the 10 other countries participating — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam — when coming up with the words to "We Win As One."

Through the lyrics, "Yes, we compete, but the greatest feat is when we win as one," he acknowledges the competitive aspect of the tournament, while not ignoring its primary objective: to improve intra-regional relations. The veteran playwright is straightforward in describing the cross-cultural connection between Southeast Asian countries and conveying the message of good-natured rivalry.

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Cayabyab, for his part, is no stranger to composing for such a prestigious sporting event. He was responsible for the entire soundtrack of the 2005 SEA Games, and immediately buckled down to work as soon as he got the word. The Maestro's original composition was meant for 11 singers, but had to be revised upon Salonga's arrival.

Despite the abrupt changes, Cayabyab proved why he was named National Artist.

The updated rendition basically tells the story of an athlete's journey, starting off with a moody keyboard part that represents the early struggles in sports. The melody then escalates to an encouraging harmony and stirring instrumental, which symbolize a sports competitor's gradual progress and the eventual podium finish.

Mr. C also highlighted the grandeur of the SEA Games by adding a layer of orchestral strings and horns to the recording's arrangement courtesy of music director and producer Jimmy Antiporda.

If Quintos and Cayabyab are the mind and body of "We Win As One," respectively, then Salonga is its indispensable soul.

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She did more than just lend her voice to the musical composition, rather, sounded like she put herself in the shoes of the hardworking sportsmen. Salonga's world-class talent resonates all throughout the theme song, from her vocal control during stanzas and unadulterated power in high parts. Simply put, the Miss Saigon star — who also performed in the closing ceremony of the 2006 Asian Games — exudes the same passion and excellence of an athlete.

Cayabyab even compared Salonga to a sports competitor in terms of discipline, sharing that the actual studio recording only took one rehearsal and take: "I have worked with Lea before and she always comes prepared. She always takes good care of her vocal instrument so it is always in tip-top shape."

This story originally appeared on Spin.phMinor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.
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