Saturday ∗ 01 Sep 2012

Some wishin’ for original Pinoy music and musikero*

I’m a fan of original Pinoy music, always have been, and I grew with a Kuya who spent good money on cassette tapes of The Dawn and Neo Colours, Gary V. and Randy Santiago, Ogie Alcasid and Francis Magalona. I was enamoured with Smokey Mountain, loved “Ryan Ryan Musikahan,” and thought the world of Ryan Cayabyab. When Kuya left for Holland, he’d come home to buy every local CD he could get, rip them and leave most of them with me, and here I found that I owe it to Kuya really this breadth and scope of music that I have the capacity to appreciate, and the value given to talent: he’d buy these acoustic CDs and his appreciation would be contagious – hello, Nyoy Volante and Christian Bautista. And more recently Julianne. Of course on this recent visit we listened to Cathy Go’s CD until I memorized it, and we were still on listening to Peryodiko, as we did Gloc-9’s MKNM.

But also there is my Tatay, from da orig rakenrol of the 60s, with bands like Bawal Umihi Dito and Birth of the Cool (yeah), which Tita Mitch Valdes would affectionately call The Birds of the Cool. In one of the first stagings, if not the first one, of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in 1971 the Tatay played Pontius Pilate if I’m not mistaken Simon of Cyrene, with Boy Camara as Jesus.

In high school I would happen upon local rakenrol, and I mean the Juan dela Cruz band on cassette – Kuya wasn’t going to have any of that, and the Tatay would shake his head.

Meanwhile, in the past two decades or so, I’ve found that when it comes to culture in general, music in particular, I will give everything a chance. It’s a lot of money put out on local music and culture, but knowing the landscape, to me at least, is the only way to even talk about anything that is painfully complex and dangerously diverse. Here, some wishful thinking for Pinoy music, in memory of the kind of non-scholarly but absolutely grounded love for Pinoy cinema that was in the practice of Alexis Tioseco.


I wish Yeng Constantino would be allowed to write the songs that she wants, and sing them the way she wants, in outfits that are her old rakenrol self.

I wish KC Concepcion would go back to the self that wrote “Imposible” and much of what was in her “AKA Cassandra” CD because that was her doing pop music, without a smidgen of pop music.

I wish that Color It Red comes out with their new CD soon. And if you haven’t shown your support yet, please go to their Artiste Connect page. Listen to two of their new songs for free, too!

I wish that Cynthia Alexander would write more songs in Filipino, because “Dumaan Ako” brings me to tears. Every time I listen to it.

Having said that, I pray that Cynthia puts together an album, in whatever language, full stop. We need that voice no matter that it lives elsewhere.

I wish Top Junk a new album. There’s no female swagger like Tuesday Vargas.

I pray that we appreciated the women of rakenrol even as the rocker chick has become this fully made-up, if not faked-up, image of the woman in music.

I wish more people would listen to Q-York, even when they rap in English, because you realize that rap-goes-the-nation can happen here. And well, they’ve got the moves and good ol’ hiphop to boot.

I wish that you all could hear Syke’s “Pirata” and pray that someone somewhere puts out money for an independent release of his work.

I wish Johnoy Danao would do an album of covers of original Pinoy songs. He does it like no other.

I pray that someone makes a tribute album for Gary Granada.

I wish they would stop doing tribute albums for the Eraserheads.

I pray that we learn to accept that the Eraserheads are dead. Sugarfree, too. They’ve moved on, and so should we.

I mourn the loss of my “KamonKamon” cassette by Marcus Adoro, wishes it would come out as a CD.

I wish we would all get Marcus Adoro. I equally pray that we never do, but that we respect his genius nevertheless.

I wish you all would get a copy of Dong Abay’s “Rebulto” CD.

I pray that some time soon, we might get Dong Abay’s complete discography, including “Parnaso ng Payaso” and “Flipino.”

I pray that no one ever dares do a Dong Abay tribute album. Doomed to fail ‘yon.

I wish Peryodiko would come out with their second CD already.

I with you all would get a copy of Pepe Smith’s “Idiosyncracies,” released in 2005. It’s still in record bars, and I continue to thank Alpha Records for its existence.

I pray that CANVAS finally comes out with that CD of bands interpreting local artworks. Peryodiko, Loquy, and Dong Abay did songs for that if I’m not mistaken.

I wish that Pinoytuner and Radio Republic weren’t competitors. I pray that more of these venues that democratize music happen upon us, even if not online.

I pray that those who invest in foreign acts to come to Manila, would invest in concerts for our local artists.

I wish it were more clear to us who ends up owning the songs that our composers write, and if they are paid well for it.

I wish recording companies would appreciate the value of having their artists online, and everywhere that reaches. TV might still be powerful, but it isn’t the only medium that sells music at this point.

I pray that the Optical Media Board see the light of day and take into consideration independent music artists, who cannot and should not spend on a registration process that will force them to spend even more money on getting their CDs made in bulk. Realize that these rules are easy for recording companies and organizations; the individual artist? Will stop making CDs altogether. Case in point, Cynthia Alexander.

I pray that we cease to give people like Anne Curtis the chance to do CDs, because celebrity culture dictates not just that it will sell, but that you can spin it into becoming grand production numbers, never mind that it is proof of how music is dead. Our eardrums are dead, too.

I pray that Anne Curtis herself refuses to do music ever again, and give the mic back to real singers who certainly deserve as much attention and investment.

I mourn the monopoly that MYX has on showing local music videos. Because there has to be more than one music channel, yes? Having said that, I’m impressed that they can go beyond network wars and bring in artists not from the Lopez empire.

I pray that people engage with the music communities that are outside of their comfort zones. I pray that we are able to be more optimistic about the culture that we produce, without sacrificing criticism.

I mourn the fact that in the presentation of the Department of Budget and Management on August 30 2012, there was no mention of budget allocation for culture. In fact there was no mention of culture whatsoever. Asa pa ang music.

I mourn the fact that Ericson Acosta is still in jail, cultural worker, songwriter, activist who I saw in the quick growing up I needed to do in the State U.

I wish those from the music scene might collectively demand for Ericson’s release.


*In memory of Alexis Tioseco, who wishfully thought for Philippine cinema when he was alive.  While I might have disagreed with many things he asserted about local cinema, it was always clear to me that he had a handle on the landscape, more than many of us. Here’s to Alexis. Here’s to some love for local creativity.

Posted in: arts and culture, kultura, tugtugan

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3 Comments/Pingbacks

  1. Biyaheng Pinoy
    September 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful thought. It is hard to admit, but I think the Philippine music scene is dying. Maybe that is why Cynthia Alexander is moving to the US; because music lives there. I was born in the 70’s and my father taught me the importance of music. He introduced me to the Queen, Christopher Cross, the Monkees, Banyuhay ni Heber. my mother was obsessed with the Carpenters and sings songs by Cinderella and Hotdog. I watched Michael Jackson did his first moonwalk on our black and white television in the 80’s and sing All the songs from the Bagets OST, listen to Smokey Mountain and The Real Milli Vanilli cassette tapes in the 90’s and watch NU 107’s annual Rock Awards. After the 90’s, I do not really remember much. Then I thought, maybe Pinoy music is a dying industry. I just hope that more and more people will discover the great musical talents that we have. People like Cynthia Alexander, Noel Cabangon, Binky Lampano, Jimmy Bondoc, and more. I just hope more and more Filipinos realize that.

  2. emmanuel paet
    September 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    eh pano naman kc puro na lang walang kakwenta kwentang k-pop at ka jejejehan ang pinapauso ng mga opm supporter kunong network at music channel…sana nga maibalik golden age ng opm lalo na mga banda

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