When 2020 started, I tried to do this “monthly favorites and discoveries” which has just been neglected, given all the circumstances I (and the world) was in—and still in! But I didn’t stop discovering things and finding something that can add value and meaning to my life especially during this pandemic. You really have to find something that can help you keep your sanity.

One of these things is music. It will always be music for me.

I miss concerts the most. I miss attending fan events. Even though I am socially anxious and get easily drained when going out, this type of crowd lifts me up. Concert scenes make me feel empowered. You can feel the passion and the bliss of the artists and everyone else in a stadium (no matter how small) beat with your heart. The vibration is high and strong.

So recently, as I was looking for some kind of music that is NOT KPOP (some of you may know my “fangirl” side :D), I found myself immersed in OPM again. It’s the best path; you can never go wrong with our very own music scene.

I came across this Facebook post that caught my attention:

“Hi 👋😀 Ako si Lukas Samuel taga Germany na nakatira sa Manila. I cover popular Filipino songs in order to learn Tagalog in a fun and creative way and also to entertain you guys!”

I thought that’s so cute! I listened to the cover (Sana), and while you can hear Lukas’ accent, he really did great. He is the vocalist, the rhythm, and the drums! You can also feel the emotions he put into it. I found out that this is his favorite cover among all the other covers that he did.

From that day on, I fell down the rabbit hole that is Lukas Samuel & Friends.

Lukas Samuel

Being the curious cat that I am, I had to know the story behind his covers. I always ask the “why”. (But not in a stalker-ish way! 😂)

Apparently, Lukas has been in the Philippines since 2017. He spends most of his free time making music. But after years of being here in our country, he kind of felt bothered that he can’t understand our language. He wanted to know what his colleagues and neighbors were saying in a much deeper sense. Since he is not the bookish type, he thought of another way to learn, something he is passionate about and can have his full attention. And that is through music.

I kind of relate. As someone who is learning another language (Korean) too, one of the many reasons is to understand BTS (mostly) lyricism. I want to understand their music through their native language. Lukas described his experience as embracing a “whole new world… which is the world of OPM.” I love how he sees it as that. There is really something so special, so beautiful, in understanding the meaning of a word in its own “persona”. Translations do not give justice at times.

I think most Filipinos can relate that learning English is not entirely hard compared to other languages as it is widely used and officially taught in school here in the Philippines. But as we try to learn a new language in a not-so-young age, it is harder given that our mental capacity is not as good as it used to be as when we were a child. For Lukas, the hardest part of learning Tagalog is the pronunciation, especially the ‘ng’ sound. He also mentioned that one of his problems is ‘rolling the r.’ Fun fact: I am a native Tagalog speaker but I can’t roll the R too. It sounds like ‘W’ and I get teased a lot for it”. 😅

The most fun part aside from this is doing this together with friends and connecting with them through music. Showcasing their talents too. And of course the learning factor – Tagalog. Another fun thing is that people actually watch those videos and I was able to entertain them for a few minutes and brighten their days.

I am genuinely entertained by his covers. I love his friends for being a great support system too in his journey to learn.

One of my favorite covers from them is their version of Imahe by Magnus Haven.

I love the mix and the harmonization here. Just listen to Lukas’ high notes at 0:57 😌

Recently, Lukas uploaded a cover of Kahit Pa by Hale. As mentioned in the caption, Lukas said this one is hard for him and you can notice his accent a lot. Still, I think he did a good job. I am most in awe of his guitar skills from 2:22 to 2:37. I suck at rhythm so I envy those who can do it so well.

I also have to note the egg cartons on the wall from Mavie’s (the drummer) part of the video. It made me miss the studio we played at after our classes during highschool! Egg cartons can help reduce echoes (in case you don’t know, that’s another fun fact!)

I am not good at music and its “technicalities” but one of the things I look out for in Lukas’ covers is the equipment used /those visible in the videos. I could be wrong but I think I spotted a guitar pedal board. I didn’t know what it was until I saw Ed Sheeran use it in his concert here in the Philippines. You see, there is so much more that goes on in making music. It is so complex yet compelling. This is why I admire and respect musicians A LOT.

I asked Lukas how he chooses which OPM song he is going to cover. Since he is learning Filipino through music, I wondered if he considers the lyrics/meaning behind the song or if it is mainly based on the sound itself. He said it is more on the sound. How about you? Do you like the song based on the music itself or do you have to look through the lyrics first before you can say that you like it? I think we would of course initially react on how we like the ‘sound’ of it, especially if we are listening to it for the first time. Like a first impression I would say. And then the lyrics add more magic and glitter to it.

On top of playing the guitar, bass, and drums, Lukas actually does write and compose his own songs. I will definitely watch out for it in case he releases them one day. Hope you will too!

We are all familiar with “English is the universal language”, and while that is true to an extent, music will always transcend languages. Just look how it connects us even though the lyrics are not something we speak and understand. Music is really the force to be reckoned with.

Let me know what you think of Lukas’ covers! Do you think he will lose his accent eventually when singing in Tagalog? But I think that’s what gives his covers a character on top of his own musical touch. 😉

Thank you for reading! 🤎
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