Sasaya Inspires Hope and Purpose in Uplifting New Single ‘Panaginip’

MANILA, Philippines — As the coronavirus pandemic rages, many are struggling to find meaning in their lives. Enter Sasaya—an up-and-coming band whose name implies happiness.

Composed of Coco Cordero and Cyrus Valdez on vocals, Jezi Matias and Jonathan Mendoza on guitars, Josiah Matias on drums, and Jazmir Mirza on bass, this promising OPM act aims to give people a reason to hope with their new single “Panaginip.” This dreamy, uplifting track is about coming to terms with one’s calling or purpose.

“The song is based on our own struggles with our purpose as individuals and as a band,” Josiah explains. “It’s also about being honest when it comes to your fears. The idea for this song and the imagery we used in it came to Cyrus when he was sitting on a beach in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. He pondered on how God invites us to do a deep dive into His presence and love.”

Sasaya inked a distribution deal with MCA Music in 2019. Later that year they formally became part of the label’s roster. MCA Music will manage the band in addition to releasing their music. “Panaginip” is the lead single of their upcoming seven-song album Ikaw Nga, which will include a few new songs and their previous releases.

According to Cyrus (who writes the majority of Sasaya’s songs), he and the rest of the band pride themselves on their storytelling abilities. In terms of music, their discography is a balm to the heart, mind, and soul. When it comes to lyrics, theirs are well-crafted and come with powerful images.

“Story-driven lahat ng kanta namin. Gusto kasi namin ipakita na maaring hindi ka laging masaya, pero kahit gaano ka ka-down, there’s no way to go but up. Sasaya at sasaya ka rin eventually,” explains Cyrus.

They’re not strictly a Christian band, but Sasaya doesn’t shy away from writing about their religious beliefs. They believe that doing so will allow them to do what they originally set out to, which is inspire and lift others up through the music they make. So far, they’re happy with how listeners have responded to their songs.

Sasaya got together in 2015. At the time, Cyrus and Josiah were making music as a duo. They came up with the band’s name by combining “Cy” and “Siah” from their first names—and that portmanteau eventually became “Sasaya.”

Cyrus and Josiah would often write songs while dreaming of playing them with a band, so they decided to start one in 2018. They began recruiting people who they knew had the desire, drive, and talent, like Josiah’s kid brother Jezi, their churchmate Jazmir, schoolmate Jonathan, and Coco, who they met in college.

According to Cyrus, it helps that he and his bandmates knew each other well even before they became a band. Being familiar with every member’s own set of quirks makes working together less complicated. It also makes it easier for them to iron out any problems.

“Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila na maging open lang sa criticism. Lahat naman kami work in progress. Kailangan talaga magusap-usap kami. For example, kung may dinadamdam yung isa sa amin, sabihin na niya para maayos namin as a band. Pero kapag may naglabas ng sama ng loob, the others shouldn’t take it personally. Ganun lang,” shares Jonathan when asked how they all get along.

Every member of Sasaya brings something unique to the table, primarily because they all have different tastes in music. Some members like folk music, while others prefer mainstream pop, praise songs, or rap. At least one of them listens to math rock, a style of rock that’s characterized by uncommon rhythms, simple riffs, and rapid breaks between sections of songs. Isn’t that interesting?

Put all that together and you get Sasaya’s sound—a stirring blend of folk, pop, and rock, with some spoken word thrown in for good measure. Even if they don’t all like the same kinds of music, it was never hard for them to work together because they welcome each other’s input. Josiah says their differences make producing a track more fun and stimulating.

Sasaya is very excited for what’s to come for them this year. Aside from the album, they’re hoping to collaborate with other artists and, when the day comes that COVID-19 is no longer an issue, perform live. All Sasaya wants is to share their stories with those willing to lend them an ear.