Lola Lydia and Her Violin

We went earlier to a recital concert by Seasons of Love by Key Strings where a good friend is going to play the violin publicly for the first time.

Congratulations, Ethlyn Kaye Sayson! :)

 I am very proud of my friend but this post is not about her. Hehe. This post is about Lola Lydia Mondares, the beneficiary of the concert.

When Mama Bear told us about this concert, we didn't hesitate to go. We reserved tickets and blocked off the date because we wanted to support her. Honestly, I didn't read the details of the concert. This is why I was very amazed when they introduced Lola Lydia and that she's the beneficiary of the recital.

They introduced Lola Lydia as a "street fiddler with a passion for music" and that caught my attention. She humbly stepped on the stage and played Paper Roses and Atin Cu Pung Sing Sing. I was captivated.  There's modesty and grace in the way she played.  Both are simple songs but there's something in her music that I can't explain. I wanted to know her story and where she learned to play music. I want to know why she's in the streets.

It was only then that I learned that she was already featured in I-Witness. True enough, there's more to this street fiddler than meets the eye.

She's the fiddler on the street. Like many in this caroling season, Lola Lydia performs in crowded alleys in Manila for change. But she is an unusual sight -- she plays the violin, a lonely musician in a city where many do not recognize, much less appreciate, the sweet-sounding classical instrument. 
Howie Severino and his documentary team encounter Lola Lydia in Baclaran where she is trying to earn enough from street performing so she can go home to Pangasinan for Undas to visit the grave of her mother, who taught her to play. Lola Lydia still plays the broken violin that she inherited from her mother. 
The I-Witness team accompanies Lola Lydia home. But on the way they stop in Zambales where they visit the famous concert violinist Coke Bolipata, who has taught dozens of local children how to play the instrument. Lola and Coke amaze each other, and together with the community's young virtuosos perform on the beach as the sun sets. In that precious moment, Lola Lydia is no longer a lonely violinist. 
Arriving in Lola Lydia's home village in Pangasinan, Howie Severino and his team discover that the fiddler has a legacy in the community which she was too modest to reveal herself.
Biyolin is a documentary about the simple joys of music and what it gives to its most passionate performers no matter what their station is in life. 

Biyolin (I-Witness) Part 1:

Biyolin (I-Witness) Part 2:

Biyolin (I-Witness) Part 3:

Biyolin (I-Witness) Part 4:

There's so much to learn from Lola Lydia's story but I want to mention one thing: appreciation for music and art. I am no artist but there's really no more appreciation for beautiful music and art nowadays. It seems that these things are just for the elite. When we see a beautiful thing, we always count how much it costs and how many hungry mouths it could feed. I agree, there are a lot of important issues our country should focus on. But this doesn't mean we should neglect culture and art because culture and art doesn't mean wasting money and denial of the problems in our country.

For all we know, our key to success might be in culture in arts! But we're so focused in trying to solve our problems the traditional way (employment, for example) that we don't see other opportunities. Lola Lydia was able to learn and teach violin on her own, what more if she was given the opportunity to study her passion. The whole barangay is playing music without formal education, I wonder what they could do if they would have the opportunity to pursue their gift instead of just trying to survive for a day.

For Lola Lydia, I pray that God would bless her more. May she continue to play her beautiful music and may she always play it for our Lord. I am believing this verse for her:

Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord!
For He has delivered the life of the poor
From the hand of evildoers.
~ Jeremiah 20:13

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