When I first heard the track “Huling Patak Ng Luha,” its immediate recall, where the opening melodic line alone pulled me over, was equaled by my curiosity over its singer Zildjian. The name rings a bell but apparently he is not that bassist from IV of Spades who produces solo work as Zild. My hunch was right that he’s a solo debuting artist.

But then his voice sounded much more familiar to me that I could put a face to it. Later I found out some logic to why I was wondering.

Zildjian, as it turned out, is the same artist I collaborated with on a song I wrote called “Sabi Ng Matatanda.” That track was released in 2017 credited to my band Syato and to Zildjian in his name I originally knew. He was featured on it as the main vocalist and record producer, with me delivering its repetitive chorus vocal line as counterpoint to his decidedly hilarious enumeration of select superstitious beliefs that I included in the lyrics. While the track was bound not to reach mainstream listeners, the fun that went during its recording was enough to solidify our friendship that even if we don’t contact each other for years we will always be linked by a certain musical bond. I always knew he had a knack for sentimental songs so doing a bit of a novelty, comedic piece was pulling him out of his box.

I eventually got to talk to Zildjian after hearing “Huling Patak Ng Luha.” He pointed out why he had to use another name, and he was serious about being known by this stage name in his pursuit of a solo recording career. So much that he prefers not mentioning his pre-Zildjian name because he’s kind of needing a fresh start. 

Anybody should understand his rationale. Why not when he actually took his deceased son’s name to launch the song he dedicated to him. 

“Kasama ko siya sa children’s hospital hanggang sa huling patak ng luha niya,” he shared, “Yung hirap na siya magsalita, pinatawad niya ako sa mga pagkukulang ko kasi may tampo siya sa akin. Pagkatapos ni-request ko sa kanya na magtiwala ng lubos kay God at tanggapin Siya. Kahit hirap na siya magsalita, iginalaw niya ang kanang kamay niya at itinuro niya ang puso niya. Nasa puso niya na si God. Tinanggap niya na si Jesus sa puso nya.”

According to Zildjian, his son died of a rare type of leukemia. A member of the group Abraham Lane dropped by at his child’s wake and then learned about a song he wrote for his kid. His demo of “Huling Patak Ng Luha” reached the desk of Curve Entertainment’s Mario Joson who immediately liked it. He was then offered a distribution deal. Thus, the song was dropped in digital stories in early June.

It was eventually used as theme song for the Koreanovala “Innocent Defendant” that began locally airing over GTV (which replaced GMA News TV) in early August.  

He related, “Si Zildjian ang nagbukas at nagbigay ng bagong obra para sa unang baitang ng hagdanan na matagal ko nang pangarap — ang makapag-release man lang kahit isang kanta. Kwento ito ng buhay ng anak ko, kung paano kami nakipaglaban para mabuhay siya “

I did meet Zildjian’s son during our recording sessions at his D.I.Y home studio in Quezon City a few years ago, with me on bass guitar, and him on guitar. He is now based in Quezon province, in an area which he said is not really affected by the pandemic as compared to Metro Manila. He is sort of trying to move on from the devastation of losing his son by living a simpler life away from the city, eating farm-to-table food.  

It was particularly heartbreaking to know that he told the doctor to transfer unto him the disease that was taking away his 12-year old son. His debut digital single encapsulated how he felt for his son and his memories in a touching melody anchored on a charming chorus that doesn’t veer away from the subject nor choosing to be vague just to sound universal. “Sana umikot pabalik ang orasan/ Upang makabawi sa mga pagkukulang,” he sings, making sure the world knows he’s talking about his son. “Sana panaginip lamang ang lahat/ Pag gising ay aking yakap/ Ang mahal kong anak.”

A second release is in the offing called “Kung Nasa Langit Lang Ako.” It’s okay if that falls on the same line as its predecessor. It’s the least we listeners can do — allow Zildjian to grieve for his son.   

“Si Zildjian ay isang espesyal na bata katumbas ng anumang salapi. Siya ang buhay ko at katuparan ng mga pangarap. Ginawa ko yung lyrics at tono ng ‘Huling Patak Ng Luha’ mismo nung naka-burol siya. Salamat Zildjan,” he closed out. 

In the movie “John Q” wherein Denzel Washington’s titular character was trying to save his intubated son, he exclaimed, “I’m not going to bury my son! My son is going to bury me!” It’s hard to imagine the hurt Zildjian felt experiencing the other way around in real life-scenario. But somehow, through his musical gift, he was able to articulate his feelings without missing a heartbeat. 

Yugel Losorata is an author-musician who early this year published a novel “The Lust Regime” and lead-sung on a digital single “Nung Tayo Pa” which he composed for his band The Pub Forties. 
After recently losing his son, Zildjian wrote a song, “Huling Patak Ng Luha,” which he wrote during the child’s wake and that became his debut single released by Curve Entertainment. 

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