Music of the Philippines (OPM)
Music of the Philippines (Filipino: Musika ng Pilipinas; Spanish: Música de Filipinas) include musical performance arts in the Philippines or by Filipinos composed in various genres and styles. The compositions are often a mixture of different Asian, Spanish, Latin American, American, and indigenous influences.
A series of recordings made on music played on the spot is primal music. It does not have to be repeated and has to be performed only once.
Notable folk song composers include the National Artist for Music Lucio San Pedro, who composed the famous “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” that recalls about the loving touch of mother to her child. Another great composer who’s known as patriotic composer, Antonio Buenaventura.
Philippine gong music can be divided into two types: the flat gong commonly known as gangsà and played by the groups in the Cordillera region of the bossed gongs played among the Islam and animist groups in the southern Philippines.
Kulintang refers to a racked gong chime instrument played in the southern islands of the Philippines, along with its varied accompanying ensembles. Different groups have different ways of playing the kulintang. Two major groups seem to stand-out in kulintang music. These are the Maguindanaon and the Maranaw. The kulintang instrument itself could be traced to either the introduction of gongs to Southeast Asia from India before the 10th century CE, or more likely, to the introduction of bossed gong chimes from Java via India in the 15th century. Nevertheless, the kulintang ensemble is the most advanced form of music from before the late 16th century and the legacy of the Europeans in the Philippine archipelago.
The tradition of kulintang ensemble music itself is regional, predating the establishment of present-day Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. It transcends religion, with Buddhist, Hindu Animist, and Christian ethnic groups in Borneo, Flores and Sulawesi playing kulintangan; and Muslim groups playing the same genre of music in Mindanao, Palawan and the Sulu archipelago. It is distantly related to the gamelan ensembles of Java and Bali, as well as the musical forms in Mainland Southeast Asia, mainly because of the usage for the same bossed racked gong chimes that play both melodic and percussive.
Spain ruled the Philippines for 333 years, and Hispanic influence in Filipino culture is ubiqitous. This influence can be easily seen in folk and traditional music, especially in the Tagalog and Visayan regions, where Spanish influence was greatest.
The Rondalla is a traditional string orchestra comprising two-string, mandolin-type instruments such as the banduria and laud; a guitar; a double bass; and often a drum for percussion. The rondalla has its origins in the Iberian rondalla tradition, and is used to accompany several Hispanic-influenced song forms and dances.
Harana and Kundiman
The Harana and Kundiman are popular lyrical songs dating back to the Spanish period, and are customarily used in courtship rituals. The Harana is rooted in the Mexican–Spanish tradition and based on the rhythmic patterns of the habanera. The Kundiman, meanwhile, has pre-colonial origins from the Tagalophone parts of the country, uses a triple meter rhythm, and is characterised by beginning in a minor key and shifting to a major one in the second half.
In the 1920s Harana and Kundiman became more mainstream after performers such as Atang de la Rama, Jovita Fuentes, Conching Rosal, Sylvia La Torre and Ruben Tagalog introduced them to a wider audience.
The Tinikling is a dance from Leyte which involves two individual performers hitting bamboo poles, using them to beat, tap, and slide on the ground, in co-ordination with one or more dancers who steps over and in between poles. This is one of the more iconic Philippine dances, and is similar to other Southeast Asian bamboo dances.
The Cariñosa (meaning “loving” or “affectionate one”), is the national dance, and is part of the María Clara suite of Philippine folk dances. It is notable for use of the fan and handkerchief in amplifying romantic gestures expressed by the couple performing the traditional courtship dance. The dance is similar to the Mexican Jarabe Tapatío, and is related to the Kuracha, Amenudo and Kuradang dances in the Visayas and Mindanao Area.
Original Pilipino music
Original Pilipino music, now more commonly termed original Pinoy music, original Philippine music or OPM, originally referred only to Philippine pop songs, particularly ballads, such as those popular after the collapse of its predecessor, the Manila Sound of the late 1970s. In the 1970s, popular artists were Nora Aunor, Pilita Corrales, Eddie Peregrina, Victor Wood, and Asin. The more major commercial Philippine pop music artists were Claire dela Fuente, Didith Reyes, Rico Puno, Ryan Cayabyab, Basil Valdez, Celeste Legaspi, Hajji Alejandro, Rey Valera, Freddie Aguilar, Imelda Papin, Eva Eugenio, Marco Sison, Nonoy Zuniga, and many others.
Between the 1980s and the 1990s, OPM was led by artists such as Regine Velasquez, APO Hiking Society, José Mari Chan, Dingdong Avanzado, Rodel Naval, Janno Gibbs, Ogie Alcasid, Joey Albert, Lilet, Martin Nievera, Manilyn Reynes, Lea Salonga, Raymond Lauchengco, JoAnne Lorenzana, Francis Magalona, Sharon Cuneta, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and Gary Valenciano, among many others.
In the 1990s, famous artists included Eraserheads, 14K, Smokey Mountain, Rivermaya, Donna Cruz, Jolina Magdangal, Jessa Zaragoza, Ariel Rivera, South Border, AfterImage, Andrew E., Jaya, Lani Misalucha, Rivermaya, Ella May Saison, Roselle Nava, and Blakdyak, among many others.
In the 2000s and the 2010s, leading OPM artists include Aiza Seguerra, Toni Gonzaga, Sarah Geronimo, Yeng Constantino, Spongecola, Christian Bautista, Charice, Jed Madela, Erik Santos, Parokya Ni Edgar, and Gloc-9, among many others.
Underground bands emerged and along with them were their perceptions of idealism and self-expression. The famous lyricist of Circle’s End, Geno Georsua landed on top as the melodramatic expressionist. Bassist Greg Soliman of UST Pendong grasps the title as the best bassist of underground music.
From its origin, OPM has been centered in Manila, where Tagalog and English are the dominant languages. Other ethnolinguistic groups such as Visayan, Bikol and Kapampangan, despite making music in their native languages, have rarely been recognized as OPM. Unusual cases includr the Bisrock (Visayan rock music) song “Charing” by Davao band, 1017. Multiculturalism advocates and federalists often associate the discrepancy to the Tagalog-centric cultural hegemony of Manila. Having successfully created a subgenre of Philippine rock thatvthey called Bisrock, the Visayans, by far, have the biggest collection of modern music in their native language, with great contributions from Visayan bands Phylum and Missing Filemon. However, a band called Groupies’ Panciteria that hails from Tacloban, a Winaray-speaking city, launched a free downloadable mp3 album on Soundclick.com in 2009 containing 13 Tagalog songs and only one very short song in the Cebuano language.
Following suit are the Kapampangans. The debut music video of “Oras” (“Time“) by Tarlac City-based Kapampangan band Mernuts has penetrated MTV Pilipinas, making it the first ever Kapampangan music video to join the ranks of other mainstream Filipino music videos. RocKapampangan: The Birth of Philippine Kapampangan Rock, an album of modern remakes of Kapampangan folk extemporaneous songs by various Kapampangan bands was also launched last February 2008, which are regularly played via Kapampangan cable channel Infomax-8 and via one of Central Luzon’s biggest FM radio stations, GVFM 99.1. Inspired by what the locals call “Kapampangan cultural renaissance”, Angeles City-born balladeer Ronnie Liang rendered Kapampangan translations of some of his popular songs such as “Ayli” (Kapampangan version of “Ngiti”), and “Ika” (Kapampangan version of “Ikaw”) for his repackaged album.
Despite the growing clamor for non-Tagalog and non-English music and the greater representation of other Philippine languages, the local Philippine music industry, which is centered in Manila, is unforthcoming in venturing investments to other locations. Some of their major reasons include the language barrier, small market size, and socio-cultural emphasis away from regionalism in the Philippines.
The country’s first songwriting competition, Metro Manila Popular Music Festival, was first established in 1977 and launched by the Popular Music Foundation of the Philippines. The event featured many prominent singers and songwriters during its time. It was held annually for seven years until its discontinuation in 1985. It was later revived in 1996 as the “Metropop Song Festival”, running for another seven years before being discontinued in 2003 due to the decline of its popularity. Another variation of the festival had been established called the Himig Handog contest which began in 2000, operated by ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiary music label Star Records. Five competitions have been held so far starting in 2000 to 2003 and was eventually revived in 2013. Unlike its predecessors, the contest has different themes which reflect the type of song entries chosen as finalists each year. In 2012, the Philippine Popular Music Festival was launched and is said to be inspired by the first songwriting competition.
OPM pop has been regularly showcased in the live band scene. Groups such as Neocolours, Side A, Introvoys, The Teeth, Yano, True Faith, Passage and Freestyle popularized songs that clearly reflect the sentimental character of OPM pop.
Choral music has become an important part of Philippine music culture. It dates back to the choirs of churches that sing during mass in the old days. In the middle of the 20th century, performing choral groups started to emerge and increasingly become popular as time goes by. Aside from churches, universities, schools and local communities have established choirs.
Philippine choral arrangers like Robert Delgado, Fidel Calalang, Lucio San Pedro, Eudenice Palaruan among others have included in the vast repertoires of choirs beautiful arrangements of OPM, folk songs, patriotic songs, novelty songs, love songs, and even foreign songs.
The Philippine Madrigal Singers (originally the University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers) is one of the most famous choral groups not only in the Philippines, but also worldwide. Winning international competitions, the group became one of the most formidable choral groups in the country. Other award-winning choral groups are the University of Santo Tomas Singers, the Philippine Meistersingers (Former Adventist University of the Philippines Ambassadors), the U.P. Singing Ambassadors and U.P. Concert Chorus, among others.
Rock and blues
The United States occupied the Islands in 1898 until 1946, and introduced American blues, folk music, R&B and rock & roll which became popular. In the late 1950s, native performers adapted Tagalog lyrics for North American rock & roll music, resulting in the seminal origins of Philippine rock. The most notable achievement in Philippine rock of the 1960s was the hit song “Killer Joe”, which propelled the group Rocky Fellers, reaching number 16 on the American radio charts.
Up until the 1970s, popular rock musicians began writing and producing in English. In the early 1970s, rock music began to be written using local languages, with bands like the Juan Dela Cruz Band being among the first popular bands to do so. Mixing Tagalog and English lyrics were also popularly used within the same song, in songs like “Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko” (“The Miss Universe of My Life“) by the band Hotdog which helped innovate the Manila Sound. The mixing of the two languages (known as “Taglish”), while common in casual speech in the Philippines, was seen as a bold move, but the success of Taglish in popular songs, including Sharon Cuneta‘s first hit, “Mr. DJ”, broke the barrier forevermore.
Philippine rock musicians added folk music and other influences, helping to lead to the 1978 breakthrough success of Freddie Aguilar. Aguilar’s “Anak” (“Child“), his debut recording, is the most commercially successful Filipino recording, and was popular throughout Asia and Europe, and has been translated into numerous languages by singers worldwide. Asin also broke into the music scene in the same period, and were popular.
Folk rock became the Philippine protest music of the 1980s, and Aguilar’s “Bayan Ko” (“My Country“) became popular as an anthem during the 1986 EDSA Revolution. At the same time, a counterculture rejected the rise of politically focused lyrics. In Manila, a punk rock scene developed, led by bands like Betrayed, The Jerks, Urban Bandits, and Contras. The influence of new wave was also felt during these years, spearheaded by The Dawn.
The 1990s saw the emergence of Eraserheads, considered by many Philippine nationals as the number one group in the Philippine recording scene. In the wake of their success was the emergence of a string of influential Filipino rock bands such as Yano, Siakol, Parokya ni Edgar and Rivermaya, each of which mixes the influence of a variety of rock subgenres into their style.
Filipino rock has also developed to include some hard rock, heavy metal and alternative rock such as Razorback, Wolfgang, Greyhoundz, Slapshock, Queso, Bamboo, Franco, Urbandub and the progressive bands Paradigm, Fuseboxx, Earthmover and Eternal Now.
Rock festivals have emerged through the recent years and it has been an annual event for some of the rock/metal enthusiasts. One big event is the Pulp Summer Slam wherein local rock/metal bands and international bands such as Lamb of God, Anthrax, Death Angel and Arch Enemy have performed.
The neo-traditional genre in Filipino music is also gaining popularity, with artists such as Joey Ayala, Grace Nono, Bayang Barrios, Cocojam and Pinikpikan reaping relative commercial success while utilizing the traditional musical sounds of many indigenous tribes in the Philippines.
Another genre that utilizes traditional instruments and found objects in primal compositions. Earth music recordings came out in 1994 under Backdoor Records.A series of albums have been recorded and released by Ambahayan Productions like Kubing Album, Chants Album, Kudyapi Album, Kulintang Album, Gabbang Album, Gangsa Album and Native Flutes Album.
A kind of music popularized by local musicians which is unrehearsed and played in public.
Filipino hip-hop is hip hop music performed by musicians of Filipino descent, both in the Philippines and overseas, especially by Filipino-Americans. The Philippines is known to have had the first hip-hop music scene in Asia since the early 1980s, largely due to the country’s historical connections with the United States where hip-hop originated. Rap music released in the Philippines has appeared in different languages such as Tagalog, Chavacano, Cebuano, Ilocano and English. In the Philippines, Francis M, Gloc-9 and Andrew E. are cited as the most influential rappers in the country, being the first to release mainstream rap albums.
Unlike pure music which has no reference in the real world and no story component, program music is instrumental music that may tell a story with explicit episodes, reveal facets of a character, place or occasion, or imitate the sounds of the world. Sometimes this may take the form of a verbal explanation of the “story” or “program” of the piece. The term was invented by composer Franz Liszt, who understood program music to involve a program external to the music that set the parameters and the form in which the musical piece unfolds.
A number of other genres are growing in popularity in the Philippine music scene, including a number of alternative groups and tribal bands promoting cultural awareness of the Philippine Islands.
Likewise, jazz has experienced a resurgence in popularity. Initial impetus was provided by W.D.O.U.J.I. (Witch Doctors of Underground Jazz Improvisation) with their award-winning independent release “Ground Zero” distributed by the now defunct N/A Records in 2002 and the Tots Tolentino-led Buhay jazz quartet in the year before that. This opened up the way for later attempts most notable of which is the Filipino jazz supergroup Johnny Alegre Affinity, releasing its eponymous debut album in 2005 under London-based Candid Records. Mon David has also made the rounds of the Las Vegas music circuit. Among the female performers, Mishka Adams has been the most prominent. A recent development is the fusion of spoken-word and jazz and also with rock, chiefly attributed to Radioactive Sago Project. Other notable names of late are Bob Aves with his ethno-infused jazz, The Jazz Volunteers and Akasha which have anchored the now legendary underground jazz jams at Freedom Bar for almost half of the 11 years of its existence. Today, underground jazz jams are now held in a bar called “TAGO” jazz bar which is located at Main Avenue, Cubao. Newer jazz groups emerged in the local jazz scene namely Swingster Syndicate pioneering in the Post-bop and modern trad jazz and Camerata Jazz known for their Filipino jazz arrangements and sound.
Bossa nova and Latino music has been popular since the 1970s. Performers like Annie Brazil were active in the 1970s, while more recently, Sitti has been earning rave reviews for her bossa nova covers of popular songs.
While there has long been a flourishing underground reggae and ska scene, particularly in Baguio City, it is only recently that the genres have been accepted in the mainstream. Acts like Brownman Revival, Put3Ska, Roots Revival of Cebu and The Brown Outfit Bureau of Tarlac City have been instrumental in popularizing what is called “Island Riddims”. There is also a burgeoning mod revival, spearheaded by Juan Pablo Dream and a large indie pop scene.
Electronic music began in the mid 1990s in the Manila underground spearheaded by luminaries like Manolet Dario of the Consortium. In 2010, local artists started to create electropop songs themselves. As of now, most electronic songs are used in commercials. The only radio station so far that purely plays electronic music is 107.9 U Radio. 2010s also began the rise of indie electronic producers and artists with the likes of Somedaydream, CRWN, NINNO, Kidthrones, and Jess Connelly.