Remembering ‘Ryan Ryan Musikahan’, The Stuff Our Thursday Nights Were Made Of
It’s important, if not only nostalgic, to look back and remember what entertainment was like prior to this age of YouTube and five-second Facebook videos. Long before we had Tiny Desk Sessions, COLORS, and Carpool Karaoke, for example, there was Ryan Ryan Musikahan, an award-winning ABS-CBN music program that went on to become a classic in its own right.
Ryan Ryan Musikahan was a live music sessions show hosted by legendary musician and composer Ryan Cayabyab, in which he would perform with some of the most important Filipino musicians of his time. The concept was as simple and straightforward as that, but because Cayabyab managed to get so many of the country’s great talents—Regine Velasquez, Eugene Villaluz, Smokey Mountain, to name just a few—Ryan Ryan Musikahan became a popular Thursday night television ritual.
The show had a solid run on ABS-CBN from 1988 to 1995, and then was re-aired on Jeepney TV in 2012. Since then, it has seen a few one-off revivals bearing the same title, including a Jeepney TV Christmas special in 2015, entitled Ryan Ryan Musikahan: Home For Christmas; and an ABS-CBN post-election special in 2016, entitled Ryan Ryan Musikahan: Para sa Bayan. And while the modern iterations of Ryan Ryan Musikahan have brought some of the best new talents in local music together (Bullet Dumas, Johnoy Danao, and Ebe Dancel have been on), there’s nothing quite like the feeling of revisiting the original series.
Luckily, a few episodes have found a home on the Internet, thanks to Jojo Bailon of the Facebook page View on The 3rd. Bailon uses this Facebook page to post a lot of nostalgic content about Filipino culture, including excerpts of Ryan Ryan Musikahan.
Bailon was a huge fan of the show, and even recalls opting to stay home on Thursday nights, just so he wouldn’t miss it. “My friends were [never] successful [in making] me go out Thursday nights,” he writes in one of his first posts about Ryan Ryan Musikahan. “My all-time favorite TV show.”
At an early age, Bailon was exposed to pop, jazz and R&B, and became so fond of music that he would make it a point to collect all sorts of it. “I started collecting music when I was in grade seven,” he recalls. “And I continued until I started working. I have about 60 episodes.” That’s why he still has quality recordings of Ryan Ryan Musikahan today, and why, since January of this year, he could post a performance from the show on Thursday nights, to match the original time slot. There are nine excerpts up on his page now, including performances by a young Vina Morales, Keno, and Neocolours.
One of the more interesting excerpts that’s posted on View on The 3rd is a live production session with songwriter Jose Javier Reyes, in which he and Cayabyab spontaneously compose a song:
It’s not difficult to imagine this concept as a modern TV program featuring current Filipino artists, or perhaps even as a web show. A new crop of local talents would certainly make for an interesting revival of Ryan Ryan Musikahan. But until something of the sort materializes, we can at least look back with fondness at one of the iconic TV programs of a bygone era.