April 18, 2024

Benguet is mourning the passing on Oct. 31 of Ibaloy musician Raul Beray, one of the pillars of the music industry not only in the province but also in the Cordillera. He was 56.

Beray, who died of a non-Covid related disease, was best known as a prolific singer and songwriter, whose original compositions about life have etched on the hearts of young Igorots.

One of his hit songs, “Eskueda” (Education), sung from the point of view of a person who did not value education earlier in his life and has only now seen its importance, will be a long-time reminder to the youth. 

Eskueda gayam noman/ E mingikan ni pansigshan/ Jet angken toy mo dag-daguan/ Agka may-aw-awan (Education is the key for one to have a better future, wherever one goes, they will not be led astray),” the lyrics said.  

The song released in the 90s also became an anthem in the Ibaloy areas of the province with some schools choosing it as a graduation song. 

Marita Madino, one of the long-time bandmates of Beray since the 80s, said the late musician has mentored many aspiring local artists through the years.

Beray had become a father figure to the younger musicians by teaching them how to perform and write engaging lyrics.

Like Madino, countless Benguet residents, including officials, consider Beray as the “King of Ibaloy songs” because of the many songs, mostly his own compositions, that he wrote in the local language. 

Madino, who is now producing short films in the local dialect, said Beray was not only a professional musician but also best known for his charity works through concerts for a cause.

Beray and other musicians have been organizing concerts for-a-cause since the 2000s that benefitted many of the Cordillerans for their medical expenses.

“The lowest that a beneficiary has received is P50,000. What I appreciate about him is that he was very transparent, expenses are minimal, and bulk of the raised money go straight to the beneficiaries,” Madino said. 

Even in the midst of the pandemic, Beray led several concerts for-a-cause. The latest and his last Facebook post was for the benefit of two patients from Itogon, Benguet.

His burial has become a musical of sorts as musicians from all over the province and the region paid tribute during his wake in his hometown in Bokod.

This was livestreamed by NuRho Recording Studio, which is being managed by his son Janrau, who is continuing the legacy of his father by producing music for local artists.

The younger Beray’s artistry could also be seen in his many collaborations with local artists, such as the Cordillera Nightingale Ingrid Payaket’s hit song “Saving Grace,” which won the 2021 Vehnee Saturno songwriting competition. Janrau was responsible for the sound mixing and instrumental of the song. 

Beray was survived by his wife Jane and children Jaramine, Janrau, and Jarjan. 

In honor of his contributions to the province through his life and music, the Benguet provincial board personally handed its resolution of condolence and recognition to Beray.

 “His contribution to the local music industry is unquestionable and is without doubt, as he inspired many, especially the youth, to engage and promote local music,” the resolution reads. – Ofelia C. Empian