‘Malaya’ by Kitchie Nadal and The Stone Forest Ensemble

Kitchie Nadal blends sorrow and hope in this powerful ode to emancipation.

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One could take a cursory listen to Malaya (meaning ‘free’) and quickly conclude that it is a song about a break-up. It is easy to see why; Kitchie Nadal reserves the most solemn section of the song for the following lines:

Malaya ka na sa aking piling
Magmahal nang walang
Pangangamba
Malayang-malaya ka na

The Tagalog of the first line is ambiguous. It could be interpreted either as “You are free from me,” which indeed sounds like a romantic letting go of a dying relationship, or it could be interpreted much-differently as “You are free with me.” The freedom referred to in this latter sense is not simply a lack of restrictions, but moreover a transcendent type of liberty that is made possible by something great—perhaps sacrificial love, or Providence itself.

Regardless of which interpretation is taken, the rest of the lines can be readily translated with greater certainty:

…Love without
fearing
You are now truly free

Yet, if one listens intently, and looks further into the story of the musician herself, then there would be no doubt left as to what this powerful piece of music really means.

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