Music of the Philippines
Music of the Philippines 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.
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 composer, the National Artist for Music Antonino Buenaventura, is notable for notating folk songs and dances. Buenaventura composed the music for "Pandanggo sa Ilaw".
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 and 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 China before the 10th century CE, or more likely, to the introduction of bossed gong chimes from Java in the 15th century. Nevertheless, the kulintang ensemble is the most advanced form of ensemble music with origins in the precolonial epoch of Philippine history, and is a living tradition in southern parts of the country.
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 ubiquitous. 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 From Spain, traditional 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. But make no mistake, harana and kundiman are stylistically different. Whereas harana is in 2/4/ time, kundiman is in 3/4. The formula is verse 1 on minor key (e.g. C Minor) followed by verse 2 on parallel major key (C Major) midway through.
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.
Popular music (original Filipino music)
Original Filipino music, now more commonly termed original Pinoy 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. Currently, OPM is used as a catch-all term for popular music composed and performed by Filipino musicians and singers.
Between the 1950s, 1960s, and before the 1970s came the emergence of Pilita Corrales, Sylvia La Torre, Diomedes Maturan, Ric Manrique Jr., Ruben Tagalog, Helen Gamboa, Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Carmen Camacho, among many others.
In the 1970s, popular artists were Nora Aunor, Tirso Cruz III, Eddie Peregrina, Ramon Jacinto, 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 Zuñiga, Leah Navarro, Cinderella, Tillie Moreno, Ric Segreto, Janet Basco, Boyfriends, Hotdog, VST & Co., and many others.
Between the 1980s and the 1990s, OPM was led by artists such as Regine Velasquez, Pops Fernandez, APO Hiking Society, Kuh Ledesma, Jose Mari Chan, Dingdong Avanzado, Tito Mina, Rodel Naval, Janno Gibbs, Ogie Alcasid, Joey Albert, Lilet, Martin Nievera, Manilyn Reynes, Lea Salonga, Kristina Paner, Rachel Alejandro, Raymond Lauchengco, JoAnne Lorenzana, Francis Magalona, Gino Padilla, Sharon Cuneta, Sheryl Cruz, Keno, Lou Bonnevie, Zsa Zsa Padilla and Gary Valenciano, among many others.
In the 1990s, famous artists included Eraserheads, Rockstar (Arkasia), Siakol, the Company, April Boy Regino, Smokey Mountain, Rivermaya, Jaya, Agot Isidro, Dessa, Isabel Granada, Vina Morales, Donna Cruz, Neocolours, Jolina Magdangal, Jessa Zaragoza, Ariel Rivera, South Border, Carol Banawa, Yano, Teeth, Introvoys, AfterImage, Side A, Andrew E., Lani Misalucha, Ella May Saison, Joey Ayala, Parokya ni Edgar, Viktoria, April Boys, Color It Red, Roselle Nava and Blakdyak, among many others.
In the 2000s and the 2010s, leading OPM artists include Sarah Geronimo, Julie Anne San Jose, Angeline Quinto, Aicelle Santos, Gerald Santos, Jonalyn Viray, Rachelle Ann Go, Christian Bautista, Kitchie Nadal, Yasmien Kurdi, Moonstar88, Itchyworms, Rocksteddy, Aiza Seguerra, Toni Gonzaga, Richard Poon, Nina, Yeng Constantino, Piolo Pascual, KZ Tandingan, Nyoy Volante, Daniel Padilla, Hale, Spongecola, Jennylyn Mercado, Jake Zyrus, Jed Madela, Erik Santos, Parokya Ni Edgar, Ben&Ben, Kamikazee, TNT Boys, James Reid, Sheryn Regis and Gloc-9, SB19 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 had been centered in Manila, where Tagalog and English are the dominant languages. Other ethnolinguistic groups such as Visayan, Bikol and Kapampangan, who are making music in their native languages, rarely break into the popular Filipino local music scene. But there are unusual cases which include the Bisrock (Visayan rock music) song "Charing" by 1017, a Davao-based band, and "Porque" by Maldita, a Zamboanga-based Chavacano band. A lot of compositions of Bisrock are contributed by bands such as 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 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 in February 2008, and was 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. An example would be the songs of the Ilokano group The Bukros Singers, who swept through Ilocandia in the 1990s and became a precursor for other Ilokano performers into the 2000s, but rarely broke through other music markets 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 Music (formerly 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. Another songwriting competition for OPM music being held annually is the Bombo Music Festival, being conducted by the radio network Bombo Radyo, first conceived in 1985.
Through the 1990s to the 2000s, OPM pop was 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 of this era.
From 2010 to 2020, Philippine pop music or P-pop went through a huge metamorphasis in its increased quality, budget, investment and variety, matching the country's rapid economic growth, and an accompanying social and cultural resurgence of its Asian identity. This was heard by heavy influence from K-pop and J-pop, a growth in Asian style ballads, idol groups, and EDM music, and less reliance on Western genres, mirroring the Korean wave and similar Japanese wave popularity among millennial Filipinos and mainstream culture. Famous P-pop music artists who had defined the growth of this now mainstream genre include Sarah Geronimo, BGYO, BINI, KZ Tandingan, Erik Santos, Yeng Constantino, MNL48, Regine Velasquez, and P-Pop Generation.
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.
The United States occupied the Islands from 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. Other similar artists included Sampaguita, Coritha, Florante, Mike Hanopol, and Heber Bartolome.
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 True Faith, Yano, Siakol, Teeth, Parokya ni Edgar and Rivermaya, each of which mixes the influence of a variety of rock subgenres into their style. A 1990s death metal (Skychurch, Genital Grinder , Death After Birth, Disinterment, Kabaong ni Kamatayan, Mass Carnage, Apostate, Murdom, Exhumed, Sacrilege, Rumblebelly, Disinterment (Death Metal Philippines), Dethrone, Aroma) emergence had bands as prominent fixtures at Club Dredd of the "tunog kalye" era.
Filipino rock in the 2000s had also developed to include some Punk Rock, Hardcore, Emo, hard rock, heavy metal and alternative rock such as Razorback, Wolfgang, Greyhoundz, Slapshock, Queso, Typecast, Chicosci, Bamboo, Kamikazee, Franco, Urbandub and the progressive bands Paradigm, Fuseboxx, Earthmover and Eternal Now.
The 2010s saw the rise of various unsigned acts of different subgenres from another format of rock, independent music which included indie acts such as Autotelic, Snakefight, Jejaview, Bullet Dumas, Ang Bandang Shirley, Cheats, BP Valenzuela, She's Only Sixteen, The Ransom Collective, Oh, Flamingo!, Sud, Jensen and The Flips, MilesExperience, Tom's Story, Lions & Acrobats, Ben&Ben, December Avenue, IV of Spades, CHNDTR, Clara Benin, Reese Lansangan, Unique Salonga, This Band, I Belong to the Zoo, Brisom, Lola Amour, Luncheon, Munimuni, Over October, and Leanne and Naara, among others.
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. Another all-local annual event, Rakrakan Festival, where over 100 Pinoy rock acts performed.
The neo-traditional genre in Filipino music is also gaining popularity, with artists such as Joey Ayala, Grace Nono, Bayang Barrios, Kadangyan and Pinikpikan reaping relative commercial success while utilizing the traditional musical sounds of many indigenous tribes in the Philippines.
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, Andrew E. and Gloc-9 are cited as the most influential rappers in the country, being the first to release mainstream rap albums.
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.
Pinoy novelty songs became popular in the 1970s up to the early 1980s. Popular novelty singers around this time were Reycard Duet, Fred Panopio and Yoyoy Villame. Novelty pop acts in the 1990s and 2000s included Michael V., Bayani Agbayani, Grin Department, Masculados, Vhong Navarro, Sexbomb Girls, Joey de Leon ("Itaktak Mo"), Viva Hot Babes and Willie Revillame.
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, 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. The 2010s also began the rise of budots from Davao City, which is regarded as the first "Filipino-fied" EDM, as well as indie electronic producers, DJs and artists with the likes of Somedaydream, Borhuh, Kidwolf, Zelijah, John Sedano, MVRXX, MRKIII, Bojam, CRWN, NINNO, Kidthrones, and Jess Connelly.
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