Archipelago Music Intro

The Music Village

Nov 28, 2008

Exoduce and Waray Hip Hop

Hip hop and band music are often the primordial musical genres of non-dominant pop cultures because they are theoretically easier to make than pop music, which requires great technology, marketing, bureaucracy, and funds (such as Jay Chou of Taiwan and Britney Spears of USA).

That is why in the regions of the Philippines, pockets of hip hop and rock are prevalent.

When it comes to Waray hip hop, the rap group La Familia of South Bound Entertainment from Tacloban City is most famous. One member, Exoduce (Rey Pacanan in real life), also stands out in his own right with his series of hot tracks, one of which is "Waray La Gihap Iba."

The song became the number one Song in M.O.R. Daily Top10 and the No.1 Song in M.O.R. Weekly Top20 Countdown for 5 Weeks. It also entered Love Radio's Kwatro Kantos Countdown.

La familia, even though singing in Waray, conquers the airwaves of both the Waray and Visayan-speaking regions, proving to the rest of the Filipinos that music is a universal language.

The album of La Familia titled "Ikaduha Nga Sumat" has 14 tracks:

# Ikaduha nga Sumat
# Bro
# Diskudal
# Salisi feat. Banal of GreenPeace
# Radio
# Waray na gud iba
# Gugma Ba?
# Problema
# 053 pt. 2 (Panhuna-huna panahon na…)
# 284 (Tikang han magbulag kita)
# Iba Gad
# Bulos (Remix) feat. Mad Clown
# La Solidaridad feat. Waray Batazan, Kid Mob, TNT, TBS, Flipside, EOM, ETS, TST, Supremo, KKK
# Outro

Visit to hear more of their music.

Nov 25, 2008

Rumor: MYX plans to launch indie show

A reliable source from ABS-CBN informed me that MYX is planning to open a show dedicated to independent musicians. I don't know if it's independent musicians or independent bands, but the theme is gonna be indie.

MYX is planning to do that to cater to the hundreds of indie music videos that they keep receiving from indie musicians.

My question now is: is this indie type of show the way for national television to cater to regional OPM as well, which is mostly comprised of independent musicians? Or will this new indie OPM show be Tagalog- and English-centric as well?

We'll wait and see.

Nov 21, 2008

Mernuts: A Taste of Kapampangan Pop

Mernuts consists of Jhaye Arzaga (vocals), Chao Chua (vocals and guitars), Paeng Sabado (bass), Jun Catacutan (lead guitars), and Jay Salazar (drums).

Mernuts is a rap-RnB-funk Kapampangan band. A dance floor full of sweaty people is always the goal once the band sets in motion and they will stop at nothing to make sure that happens. The band's material successfully combines elements from many styles of popular music with one common theme; it all makes you feel entertained—urban Kapampangan style!

This band from Tarlac City, made a small but significant contribution to the RocKapampangan album with their single and original composition Aliwa Kang Talaga.

Formed in 2007, they fondly translate famous hit RnB songs into the Kapampangan language. The very famous Irreplaceable of Beyonce was translated by two members of the band (Jhaye and Chao) became a hit on YouTube and has drawn people’s attention.

The rest of their original Kapampangan translations such as, Taksil (Rihanna’s Unfaithful), Payung (Rihanna’s Umbrella), E Na Ku Kikiak (Fergie’s Big Girls Don’t Cry) also gathered a lot of comments and admiration from their YouTube followers.

This spirited, fresh new English-Kapampangan band worked so hard in order to pursue their aim that is to bring smiles to other people’s faces. With their ability to make music, they have composed English songs, Hear Me, Alice, It Should Be You and the newest song Oras which will be used in Kalam (a Kapampangan TV series) for its closing song. Their songs address the joys of womanhood, with staunch advice on how to treat errant boyfriends.

The music video of Oras is currently played regularly on MTV Pilipinas’ “Tong Hits” OPM show. It’s the first Kapampangan music video to penetrate MTV.

Nov 14, 2008

Mally and Moro Alternative Rock Music

Aside from the institutionalized dominance of Tagalog and English OPM, the highly Christian Luzon and Visayas islands probably are also ignorant of the fact of this genre called Moro Pop, which is seeing development in the urban parts of Mindanao. While Moro Pop is ruled by Datu Khomeini (in the Maguindanao language), it is safe to say that Moro alternative rock music in the Maranao language is ruled by Mally Solaiman and his band. Altogether, they are known simply as Mally.

Who is Mally? A proud Muslim from Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur, Mally joined Pinoy Idol but failed to be part of the Top 24. According to him, after failing, he felt more challenegd to achieve his dream of having Maranao songs recognized not only locally but internationally.

Personally counted as one of Mally's achievements is his first hit single Aya, the very first Maranao song to become a hit in Boracay (number one for two weeks @ Yes FM Bora last January 2008).

"Because of that big achievement," he states, "I believe in my dream more. It will happen if we Moros will help one another. Salamualaikom!" As his Friendster shouts out: Maranao Songs in the world? It's not impossible!

With extreme fervor for the recognition of Maranao songs, Mally indeed is one the Moro's and the country's gems in genuine multilinguistic Philippine music.

Nov 10, 2008

How Music Videos Can Help Regional Recording Artists

[I am a columnist from Central Luzon Daily with a twice-in-a-week column called Urban Kamaru that tackles modern Kapampangan culture and sociology. Here is an article I wrote about the Kapampangan music video scene, which I believe may also prove applicable to other Philippine regions.]

Budding Kapampangan musicians these days are more fortunate compared to the dreamy-eyed elders, who didn't enjoy the presence of local mass media that could increase their popularity. As I have been telling a chum, pursuing a music career these days doesn't require one to perform everytime (although that would certainly help). A musician, if busy in other matters, can sit pretty; his recorded songs, as long as they're melodically infectious, can spread like virus to the masses.

With the rise of local (local, as in Pampanga- or Central Luzon-based) television and cable stations, musicians, in partnership with filmmakers, have now a new means of propagating their works: through music videos.

For the record, music videos are what Filipinos passionately call MTVs. But MTV, which stands for Music Television, is a company name. To say “Inalben ke itang MTV nang Michael Jackson king MYX” [I watched Michael Jackson's MTV] is nothing different from saying “Sinali kung Colgate, itang Close Up,” [I bought some Colgate, the Close Up one] or “Menalbe yang Popeye, itang Dragon Ball.” [I watched the Popeye that is Dragon Ball]

Dagdag Exposure

In a phone interview, I asked Ara Muna (singer of 'O Jo, Kaluguran Da Ka') regarding the importance of music videos because I heard he has plans of rendering a music video for his Tagalog-Kapampangan hit.

Nung kabud ka mu kasi king radyu, mapalyaring aburi de ing kanta mu, oneng bala mu 50% ya mu; e da ka balu itsura,” [People may like your songs via radio, but it seems to be only 50% because they don't see you or have a visual image of you] the comedienne claimed. “Potang atin kang music video, ababalu da nung ninu ika; kayi potang kabit de ing lupa mu karing tarpaulin o nanu, tambing dang balu ring taung ika ita. Dagdag yang exposure para karing artist.” [When you have a music video, they know you more; when they put your face in tarps, they know at once that that is you. It's additional exposure for the artist.]

But music videos, while highlighting the musical artists, have more functions. Being a filmmaker myself, I believe music video making is another avenue for budding filmmakers, along with other people involved in the production of a film or video like editors, actors, and cinematographers, to practice their craft. When a music video wins an award, for example, in the annual MTV VMAs (Video Music Awards), it's not the just the victory of the artist; it's also the victory of the music video director.

The Upaya of Images
[The Power of Images]

Music videos vary according to style, depending on the director or whoever is in charge with the concept. Some videos austerely show beauty shots of the singer/band in a certain location while some include a narrative in the video.

Music videos are actually like TV commercials—a fact which a lot of music video directors tend to neglect.

“I know some beautiful songs destroyed by their badly done music videos,” says Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez, a Quezon City-based music video and indie film director whose directorial works include the music video/s of Parokya Ni Edgar ('Gitara'), Hale ('Tollgate,' 'The Day You Said Goodnight'), Kyla ('Til They Take My Heart Away'), Sugarfree ('Hari Ng Sablay,' co-directed with another music video director, Topel Lee) and Shamrock ('Okey Lang'). “And I know some good music videos which were destroyed by crappy songs,” he continues.

The power of music videos can even transcend linguistic barriers. In radio, when one hears a song in an unfamiliar language, he is most likely to reject it, simply because he cannot understand it (except if the listener knows how to enjoy music in spite of the language). Music videos on the other hand can make a viewer tune in and watch the video while listening to the song. Even if the song is in an unknown language, the combination of the images, the narrative, and the emotional impact of the music can act as a universal language.

Barros-Sanchez tells his experience: “There's one music video I watched ['Because I'm A Girl' by Kiss] the lyrics of which I don't even understand because it's in Korean. Pero sobrang lakas ng tama sa akin at tuwing napapanood ko, may mga panahong iniiyakan ko pa rin.”

The music video of 'Because I'm A Girl' is about a lady accidentally blinded with chemicals in the dark room of a certain photographer guy. Fortunately, someone donated eyes to her, but when she got her vision back, the photographer can no longer be found, only to find out a few years later in a park that it's the photographer who donated his eyes to her.

“Very sad,” Barros-Sanchez remarks. “I love that in videos. Yung may kurot. Yung may puso.

Problems in Pinoy Music Videos

Makikita mo naman sa video pa lang kung pinagkaperahan ng director,” Barros-Sanchez laments. “First of all, the camera used is bad. Second, the location is ugly; ni walang art or architectural thing na magpapabuhay man lang ng interes mo. Third, no effort was allotted to the production design and cinematography. Hindi kinarir kahit maliit ang budget. Kurtina at halaman (madalas palmera plants) at throw pillows at bed sheets lang, tapos na... Alam mong dalawang oras lang, tapos na ang shooting.”

If one will watch his favorite music channel, he will find a vast number of badly done local music videos, the reasons for which vary. There includes the lack of artistic vision of the director, lack of originality of the concept maker, and the pretentious personality of some music video directors, especially aggressive, budding ones.

Barros-Sanchez expounds, “There's always a new guy around who is willing to do his first music video kahit mag-abono siya para lamang sa demo reel niya at konting pampayabang sa pamilya at barkada.

Ngayon, baratan na talaga sa budget. Lokohan na, kaya mapapansin rin lately na the videos are suffering. Medyo pangit na ang kalidad at dahil doon nag-dwindle na rin interes ng mga tao na panoorin sila. Naumay na. Wala na kasi ng bagong ipinapakita.

Masyado nang naging sikat ang music videos lalo na sa dekadang ito,” the director comments. “Everyone wants a share of the pie, even just the crumbs that fall on the floor. Nawawala na tuloy yung art. Too many cooks spoiling what was once a special brew.”

The Infant Pool of K-Music Videos

Yes, there are Kapampangan music videos already, the number of which could either mean that Kapampangan music video making is emerging, or that Kapampangan music video making is bound to not flourish. Mekikuan, ada pen. [A miscarriage, so they say]

There are two non-commercial, non-live Kapampangan music videos. One is the Pampanga Tourism video with song by ArtiSta. Rita and Mon David ('Malaus Ka Pampanga') and the other is the San Fernando 'Kaluguran Da Ka' music video. My concern though would be more on Kapampangan commercial, non-live music videos by Kapampangan artists, the total number of which would be three. Yes, three. Atlu.

The first music video I have seen (through YouTube) would have to be Harvey Quiwa's 'Ika Mu Ing Tune Para Kaku,' the second placer in the first ever Kapampangan songwriting and pop music contest by ASLAG Kapampangan last 2007. Directed by Emil De Jesus and conceptualized by the singer himself, the video is a simple showcase of the artist singing the love song in a green and grassy field with the indigo silhouette of Bunduk Arayat in the background. Intercut with a mini-plot involving a romantic couple (where Quiwa is the leading man) in a subdivision, the video is currently garnering around 15,000 views in YouTube, mostly from Kapampangans.

The second and third music videos would be those of the opening and closing theme songs of Kalam, the upcoming Kapampangan telenovela of Infomax. 8 and Kalalangan Kamaru.

Filmmakers and Musicians

Kapampangan musicians and Kapampangan filmmakers can grow hand in hand by supporting one another, a phenomenon which I have witnessed as a student in the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Mass Communication—indie bands and indie film directors working and celebrating their art together.

I call on Kapampangan Masscomm students to be observant of the music videos they see on TV and to take advantage of the Internet when it comes to studying. While observation can help you get familiarized with the popular standards and styles of music video direction and conceptualization, remember that you should not be content with copying or perfecting the style of another. As a Kapampangan, you are obliged to bring pride to your race—by coming up with an original style in the creation of music videos which other peoples can look up to someday.

Let's not forget that as Kapampangans, we should live up to the tradition of excellence which we love to take pride in. Let's keep striving for more groundbreaking Kapampangan music, partnered with breath-taking and non-mediocre Kapampangan music videos, as every music video we make is an “advertisement” of the Kapampangan people. To spawn a mediocre music video is either a learning stage for the budding filmmaker, or simply a form of neglect to the subconscious consequences an ugly piece can have to the Kapampangan image.

May Kapampangan music and music videos bloom in the future. Young Kapampangan filmmaking enthusiasts are invited to get acquainted with the writer by texting 09186992459. Kalalangan Kamaru has plans of developing young Kapampangan directors.

Nov 9, 2008

Missing Filemon, one of Bisrock's finest

Missing Filemon is a Bisrock band from Cebu. They have the distinction of being the first Cebuano band to ever produce an album consisting entirely of rock songs in Cebuano.

Missing Filemon was formed in 2002 with Jeb Dorothy Estel on guitars and vocals, Arni Aclao (of The Ire) on bass, and Eimer Tabasa on drums. (Gumer Entero of Happy Days and Ritz Ariba of Frank sits in for the band in some sessions.) The trio joined the Cebu music scene via a route seldom taken by local bands, by using the Cebuano language in their lyrics.

Their self-titled debut album was released in November 2002. It was released under Independent Culture Records and was produced by Ian Zafra of Shiela and the Insects. Budoy Marabiles and Sandy Chiongbian appear on the album.

After the release of their first album, they disappeared from the Cebuano music scene (although there was no official statement that they have disbanded). They returned in early 2005 and took in Cocoy Hermoso of Beverage for guitars and Ron Capio of Curious Blossoms for bass (Aclao left Missing Filemon and reunited with his old band The Ire.) and highlighted the comeback with a series of gigs in Cebu and Mindanao.

Albums include Missing Filemon (2002) and Sine-Sine (2005). A fansite may be accessed here:

Below is Sine-Sine, a promotional music video for the Cinema One Original film Confessional. Video directed and photographed by Ruel Dahis Antipuesto, edited by Jerrold Tarog.

Nov 7, 2008

Random Thoughts on OPM

By Jason Paul Laxamana

Wikipedia provides us a pretty fair definition of what OPM is.

“Original Pilipino Music, now more commonly termed Original Pinoy Music or Original Philippine Music, (frequently abbreviated to OPM) originally referred only to Filipino pop songs, especially those in the ballad form, such as songs popularized in the 1970s through the mid-1990s by major commercial Filipino pop artists like Ryan Cayabyab, Kuh Ledesma, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Martin Nievera, Basil Valdez, Rey Valera, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, Lani Misalucha, Lea Salonga, and APO Hiking Society. [These people all sing in Tagalog and English -Laxamana]

In the passage of time as well as the development of many diverse and alternative musical styles in the Philippines, however, the term OPM now refers to any type of Original Philippine Music created in the Philippines or composed by individuals of Philippine extraction, regardless of location at the time when composed. The lyrics, in fact, may be in any language or dialect. Although most of it are written either in Filipino/Tagalog, English or Taglish, OPMs written in foreign languages (eg. in Japanese), though handful, do exist.”

Monstrosity of Radio

I once asked a senior DJ from a renowned and Golden Dove Award-winning FM radio station in Manila if they are open to playing OPM (Original Pilipino Music) sung in neither Tagalog nor English. With cold honesty, he told me a two-letter but painful word: NO.

“Even if they’re really good?” I asked.

“Uh-huh,” he replied.

Trying to prick his conscience, I questioned, “Isn’t that a form of racial discrimination? Aren’t songs sung in other languages like Kapampangan, Waray-Waray, and Bisaya also Filipino, and thus, should be welcomed in your Original PILIPINO Music segments?”

“Sorry, dude, but that’s just how the business is,” he answered with finality. “It’s nothing personal.”

MTV Pilipinas

MTV Pilipinas is more mature and racially sensitive. Proud of our work on the music video of “Oras” by Mernuts and “Alang Anggang Sugat” by 5 Against The Wall, we contacted MTV Pilipinas and asked them if they are willing to incorporate in their OPM playlists our Kapampangan music videos, “since we’re Pilipino din naman.”

Surprisingly, they said yes and claimed that they are supportive of OPM regardless of the language being used. They even said they’re happy that movements to develop OPM in regional languages are occurring, citing the Visayan music scene, led by Bisrock or Bisaya Rock, as a good example.

The catch, however—which to me is just fair—is that the music videos should be at par with other music videos we see on TV. We had no problems with that, as we made sure that our music videos were in one way or another worth the attention.

And, thus, the first Kapampangan music video to air on MTV Pilipinas (in its OPM show called “Tong Hits”), “Oras” by Mernuts.

MYX on the other hand is an unfinished story, and we are still working on it.

Nov 6, 2008

Bulyaw Mariguen, a Cuyonon Band

If Kapampangans have their RocKapampangan, Cebuanos have their Bisrock, Warays have La Familia or Exoduce, Cuyonons from the little island of Cuyo, Palawan have Bulyaw Mariguen.

The term Bulyaw Mariguen is the local term for a game similar to hide-and-seek. It is also the name of the first Cuyonon band to make songs in the Cuyonon language (a language spoken on the coast of Palawan and the Cuyo Islands), which are rocking the radio waves of Palawan.

Check out Midyo Kano Lamang (Maski Ano Lang), Bisara Y Lola (Pagalit ni Lola), Sa Marayeng Lugar (Sa Malayong Lugar), and Ploning, Adin Ka Ren (Ploning, Where Are You?) as appetizers for a full 16-track album coming this December (yet to be confirmed).

Bulyaw Mariguen consists of Thopz Perez (vocals), Franz Abid (lead guitars), Philip Abid (drums), and Popoy Dela Torre (bass).

cuyonon - midyo kano lamang - bulyaw mariguen

Jocelyn Fabello, correspondent

Nov 3, 2008

Thavawenyoz, Pride of Davao and Bisaya Music

Out of everyday-life ghettos and the ever changing urbanity, from what Dabawenyos call home hails a tandem that will conquer your senses and ravish you to your seats. Brandishing their acts to the hip hop and RnB groove, they're breaking into your audio waves to bring you their message that rightfully speaks of their collective name: Thavawenyoz.

The rap duo consist of Jay L AKA Mista Silenza, who was called such because their songs are like shots from silencer guns; you'll never know when he's going to hit you, but when he does, you can't escape. You'll surely stop and listen to his voice and music.

Boone AKA Barbaric of Nation (B.O.N.) meanwhile says he is devoted to his songs and will still struggle to the battlefield of their chosen career in the rap industry. And listening to their voice will surely grab people's attention.

Station after station, the duo is on a roll—creating music that ordinary people can easily relate to and identify with. Their songs became radio favorites and they have been receiving requests and invitations to perform in various places within and outside Davao City. They had already performed with nationally renowned artists, too. With great response from the listeners, the group captured again the taste of the people with the song Roger that is gradually gaining a following.

Thavawenyoz also landed a contract with Alpha Records, and it is the first time ever in history for a rap duo from Davao City to have a nationally-released album.

Their album consists mostly of songs in the Visayan language; other songs, which compose about 3%, are in Taglish.

In 2006, they were awarded by the prestigious Awit Awards with the title Best Regional Recording. Last 2007, they won Best Hip Hop Artist in 1st Mindanao Music Awards.

These two aspiring talents prove that Dabawenyos themselves can make their own name in the music industry, with the fusion of talent, good attitude toward the people, fear of God, and killer melodies.

Official website:

Nov 2, 2008

Bronze P, the Son of Ilonggo Rap

RnB and rap musician Bronze P of La Paz, Iloilo City is an independent Ilonggo artist under his own production label, Bronze Beats. His musical influences are 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Eminem, G Unit, Usher, Kanye West, and Ill Pride.

His career started at the age of 14 with making beats at HandyPlus Computer Center at LaPaz, Iloilo City (now known as Netbench Studios) using E-Jay Music Creator in PS2.

At 15, in High School, he and his buddies Jaylord Galve and Emmanuel Carlo "Mico" Peñalosa started listening to rap music in their pastime, with G Unit's "Beg for Mercy" as their favorite CD. Influenced by 50 Cent, he was inspired to make his own music and he discovered his passion for it.

At the age of 16 in College, he met Mouth 3, the Godfather of Ilonggo Rap, who is also a producer and the King of the underground rap group called Southsyd Souljaz. Mouth 3 produced the debut CD of Bronze P called Da Underdogs. Even though he didn't make it to the Southsyd Souljaz due to schedule conflicts, he and R-Nic, a member of Southsyd Souljaz, decided to make their own duo group called IDS (Ilonggo Dyad Souljaz). He acted as a producer and produced their own records.

In 2006, the duo made a rap jingle for Mang Inasal. Fortunately, the jingle was approved by the CEO and is currently playing in the airwaves. The duo then decided to put up their own studio which is now known as Netbench Studios. Alas, due to some personal issues, he and R-Nic went on separate ways.

Like R-Nic, Bronze P is now a solo artist and makes his CDs independently. He also produces beats for other Ilonggo artists such as R-Nic, Paramour Sifee, R-Dawn, and Sayuke Clan, to name a few.

Visit his webpage here: