A band based in London, UK named Ooberfuse , composed one of the official songs of Palo, Leyte for Papal Visit 2015 entitled “Mercy.” Their vocalist, Cherrie, is a Filipina who was actually born in Tacloban, stayed up all night monitoring her family and friends during super typhoon Yolanda’s wrath. Not only Pope Francis is special to them, but also his message of God’s mercy and compassion to the Philippines. YouthPinoy got a chance to ask them a few questions:
Sky: Hi guys, please introduce your band’s name.
O: The band’s name is Ooberfuse. The ‘”fuse”‘ part alludes to that point of intersection between two worlds…east and west, heaven and earth. We get our inspiration as a band from that space, that intersection point where energies from heaven intersperse with the things of earth. This is the place of abundance, where providence lavishly nourishes our deepest needs. The “oober” part refers to this bottomless supply from our Father’s limitless bounty.
Sky: And how was Ooberfuse formed?
O: Various members of the current band gravitated towards each other at a convent retreat for musicians engaged in youth liturgy and ministry. We recognized in each other a common desire to leave faith’s identifiable footprint in original contemporary musical compositions.
Sky: You have been singing and making songs for World Youth Days, what inspired you to do this?
O: It was quite by accident. On the occasion of the Holy Father’s visit to the UK in 2010 the committee of organizing bishops found in our reflective pop track “Heart’s Cry”, a perfect symmetry with the theme of the visit, “Heart Speaks Unto Heart”. They adopted it as the official youth anthem of the visit to demonstrate to the sometimes estranged and otherwise disinterested younger generations that ancient Gospel themes can speak in and through the language of mainstream pop music. After the success of “Heart’s Cry” our submission to the 2011 Madrid World Youth Day song contest was voted one of the best entries. We were invited to Madrid to perform the song in front of 2 million pilgrims gathered in Cibeles Square. In the following World Youth Day in Rio we were approached to perform the English language version of the official anthem. We were blessed with the grace of performing at some of the official stages set up around Rio.
Sky: Some members of your band are Filipinos, how did Yolanda affect your life?
O: Our lead singer Cherrie was born in Tacloban, [where] the eye of typhoon Yolanda [was]. On the night of the storm, Cherrie stayed up all night anxiously trying to make contact with family members. When the regular communications infrastructure collapsed, so that it became impossible to make direct telephone contact, the only way to find out the latest was through news bulletins. We were quick to organize a musical fund-raising event in central London to help meet some of the humanitarian needs of the survivors.
Sky: What and who inspired you to compose the song “Mercy”?
O: Mercy is a main theme of Pope Francis’ pontificate. With compassion it defines what separates our faith from other religious traditions. We were reading, reflecting and praying with Pope Francis’ writings on mercy. Some of these prayers and reflections were accompanied by spontaneous music out of which the song “Mercy” emerged.
Sky: If you have a message to the Filipino youth now, especially that Pope Francis is coming, what will it be?
O: Our message would be that however bleak circumstances may seem to be, with the loss of homes, livelihoods and loved ones, there is a divine energy at work in our world that has the power to regenerate. When we show Mercy and Compassion to others we share in God’s healing power restoring brokenness to an original wholeness. The spirit of the resurrection dwells among us. This, the source of our hope, is as alive and active today as it was 2,000 years ago. When we open our hearts to mercy, God empowers us to be what He created us to be. We should never settle for anything less than this.
Sky: Who is Pope Francis for you?
O: Pope Francis is a living prophet of compassion. By stooping to embrace the downtrodden he renews hope in the hearts of the lowly and oppressed, giving our lives a divine purpose. He brings heaven to earth in ways that are accessible to everyone of us, whatever walk of life we are from.
Sky: We heard you are coming to the Philippines during the Pope’s visit, will you be playing or having a show somewhere here?
O: We will be praying our music in a number of venues in Manila and Palo, offering a catechesis of some of the key Gospel themes through our songs of praise and worship.
Sky: For you guys, how can we exercise Mercy and Compassion?
O: The Good Samaritan shows us the way. We should drop our defenses to allow ourselves to be addressed and challenged by the urgent needs of others. We can’t escape our personal and individual responsibility to be the eyes, the ears and the hands of Christ on earth. When we open to our neighbour, whatever their circumstance and background, we are impelled to compassionate action to alleviate their suffering and to build now on earth God’s heavenly Kingdom.
MERCY (Filipino Acoustic version): http://youtu.be/_2DHL5Rjhy4
OOBERFUSE BIO: http://ooberfusephilippines.bandzoogle.com/bio