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Bullet Dumas prepares for comeback concert

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BULLET DUMAS gives a sneak peek of his upcoming performance. — BRONTË H. LACSAMANA

THE PAST few years since the pandemic saw indie folk artist Bullet Dumas shift focus from his own music to theater acting. From Tanghalang Ateneo’s rock opera 2Bayani in 2022 to 9 Works Theatrical’s jukebox musical Ang Huling El Bimbo in 2023, his onstage work as an actor has flourished.

This year, Mr. Dumas goes back to his roots after a long period of exploration. Nananatili — set for June 8, 7 p.m. at the Music Museum at the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan — consolidates the lessons learned over the past five years into an intimate solo concert.

The singer-songwriter will be performing new songs for the first time since the pandemic, all centered on themes of love, grief, and acceptance.

“I didn’t want to return nang basta-basta (just for the sake of it). I wanted to do it with new material, this being my biggest chance to do it, so since the beginning of the year I have been writing,” said Mr. Dumas at a press conference at The Astbury in Makati City on May 17.

His first solo concert, Usisa in 2018, celebrated the release of his album of the same name. From it, his songs “Tugtog,” “Put to Waste,” and “Limguhit” made waves — but the music scene has changed drastically since.

Now, younger artists have been cropping up all over the place, armed with music they developed over the pandemic. Musicians were left to work on themselves, making today’s music scene more vibrant and inspiring than ever before, according to the singer-songwriter.

“I’ve been going to a lot of gigs. The likes of Unique [Salonga], Zild, Ena Mori — ang daming magagaling ngayon (there’s lots of talent now),” Mr. Dumas said. “That’s why I couldn’t just come back without new music of my own.”

REFLECTIONS ON IMPERMANENCEHis concert repertoire will include new songs inspired by personal experiences with death in a transitory world. The show is billed as “an elegy, a eulogy, and a funeral drama all rolled into one.”

With Mr. Dumas co-producing the concert with Gabi Na Naman Productions, its vision is far different from all his previous performances as a musician.

“Ang working concept ko ay last day ng funeral kung saan lumalabas lahat ng kuwento ng patay. Mas nakikilala natin iyung patay sa tingi-tinging kuwento mula sa iba’t ibang tao (My working concept is that it’s the last day of a funeral/wake where stories about the dead come out. We learn more about the dead through the little details told by various people),” he explained.

While his music remains in the indie and folk genre, ranging from soothing to intense tunes, his time in theater has changed a few things.

“Natutunan ko iyung paggamit ng counterpoint at motif (I learned to use tools like counterpoints and motifs),” said the musician.

The songs are also mostly born from revisiting draft recordings made throughout the pandemic. In 2024, the new tracks are finally ripe and ready to be heard on stage.

“The title is Nananatili because it speaks to how the dead remain with us as we remember them,” Mr. Dumas said.

“Maangas din iyung term kasi sinasabi na nandito pa rin, kahit ano mangyari (It’s also a cool term since it conveys being here always, no matter what).”

Tickets to Nananatili ni Bullet Dumas are available via bit.ly/nananatili, and are priced from P1,800 to P4,600. — Brontë H. Lacsamana

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