Philippine Music

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The Philippines go with the flow to whatever is popular in the world. Filipinos imitate lots of things. Music is one thing they use to go with the flow. Through the years, Filipino music develops with the help of foreign musicians and musical styles according to what's popular at the time.

Prehistoric Music

The datus and rich people sit together. The gong bands start to perform in front of them. Wooden percussions sound the whole room while a Tagalog jingle is sung.

Gong and folk music is present before Spaniards arrived. Tagalog and Visayan jingles were composed. Songs were short and instruments may include bamboo sticks and stones from the ground. Farmers may sing Tagalog jingles while planting rice to boost their energy at work. Fishermen whistle attractive sounds to call fishes in the sea. Tagalog and Visayan composed songs with gong bands may entertain datus and sultans or any royalty.


The moon is bright with stars twinkling like diamonds. A man in love starts to play his guitar. As he plays, the window he's facing opens and a beautiful young maiden watches from above and smiles. The man starts to sing a kundiman classic and he serenades the young maiden. He finishes his song and asks the maiden for a walk tomorrow afternoon beside a creek.

The 1800s to the 1950s is the Kundiman era. The Spaniards introduced this kind of musical genre to the Philippine islands. Kundiman (literally came from 'kung hindi man' or 'if not') is a genre of melodramatic and sentimental songs which are fit for serenades. The tune is slow and its instruments include a guitar. The voice is mellow and the lyrics are dramatic and romantic.

Blue Moon is an undying classic which is also very romantic. It became popular in the Philippines in the Japanese occupation.

1950s were the days of very romantic types of music. The Four Aces' "Love is a Many Splendored Things" is a romantic hit in the 1950s.

Rock and Roll era

In concerts and bars, a fast type of music plays. It's very exciting and the crowd starts to jump and join the dancing.

Rock and roll is an American musical genre of guitars, exciting vocals and fast drums. It was a world impact in the late 1950s to the 1970s and also until now. Elvis Presley became king of rock and roll with his songs "Jailhouse Rock" and "Heartbreak Hotel" in the late 1950s. He became famous in the 1960s after numerous films. The Beatles is a British band famous internationally. They're the biggest rock and roll band in music history with songs "All you need is Love", "Hey Jude" and "Fool on the Hill".

The 1970s was the start of the Philippine music industry success and rock and roll is one of the first genres to rock the country. Filipino rock and roll bands Sampaguita and Juan dela Cruz Band are already icons. Sampaguita's "Bonggahan" and Juan dela Cruz Band's "Gusto kong Mag-swimming sa Balong Malalim" are favorites in the 1970s.

Disco and Manila Sound

The 1970s is the era of Manila Sound. The 1960s to the 1980s is the disco era. Beegees, Abba funky groovy musical style gave new ideas to Philippine music. Bands such as Hotdog, VST and Co, Hagibis became popular. Disco's like Circuit, WhereElse, CocoBanana, Star Gazer and others introduced disco dancing.

There were other lesser known bands like Soul Jugglers, Hangmen who promoted a heavier version of Manila Sound called Pinoy Soul and Pinoy Funk.

Manila Sound had its modern ressurgence during 2004 with the introduction of bands such as KALA and modern OPM bands covering Manila Sound classics.

Pinoy Punk

In 1978, DZRJ-AM jock Howlin' Dave introduces the music of the Sex Pistols to stunned Manila listeners. On Disco a filipino disco club owned by Sonny Tanchanco was cited by Billboard Magazine, (an international music magazine based in the USA) as one of the first international clubs to successfully integrate new wave rock into the disco scene. Pinoy rock bands started playing new wave rock. Pinoy rock icon, Joey "Pepe" Smith, Sampaguita and the Jerks were their regular live performers at On Disco with crowds dressed up in "New Wave gears". In 1984, Tommy Tanchanco formed Twisted Red Cross, an independent cassette label supporting independent punk music. TRC's first official release which was a compilation entitled "RESCUE LADDERS AND HUMAN BARRICADES" that showcased the bands he signed up for the label like BETRAYED, Urban Bandits, Wuds, Private Stock and others were also included on the bandlist.

1980's to 1990's

In the early up to mid-1980s, Pinoy Rock became the music of Filipino protesters. Gary Granada and the band Buklod had socially relevant lyrics for their songs. Aguilar's Bayan Ko (My Country) became an anthem during the 1986 EDSA Revolution. A subculture rejected this kind of socially-aware lyrics.

The most popular Pinoy Rock band in the Philippines in the '80s was arguably The Dawn, whose early songs were largely influenced by New Wave and Post-punk, the dominant Alternative Music genres in the Philippines during that period. The Dawn came to prominence in 1986, when its independently-released single "Enveloped Ideas" became an instant favorite among listeners of DWXB-FM 102.7, a now-defunct FM radio station popular in the mid-'80s that heavily played New Wave, Post-Punk, and similar genres.

Many music journalists and enthusiasts, as well as musicians themselves, attribute the flourishing in the mid-'80s of New Wave- and Post-Punk-influenced bands to DWXB-FM, which began playing independently-released singles of unsigned local bands. This helped many of the struggling bands in this era to achieve cult status. These bands included Dean's December, Ethnic Faces, Identity Crisis, and Violent Playground, all of which were able to record and release their respective albums in the years that followed.

Other Pinoy Rock groups took their cue from these pioneers and started recording their own songs; and this proved beneficial to the Pinoy Rock scene, which brought back creativity and originality to the awareness of fledgling musicians. Among the lot, The Dawn, Afterimage, and Introvoys proved to be the enduring and more successful groups. Each was able to sustain a relatively long career.

DWXB-FM went off the air on June 9, 1987. The new Cory Aquino-led government began sequestering properties owned by her predecessor Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, including the home that DWXB-FM beamed from. DWXB-FM was revived as an online radio station on September 10, 2005, by Sutton Records, with the original DJs broadcasting from Manila.

1990's to 2000

During the start of the decade, The Hayp, Introvoys and After Image were among the prominent bands enjoying mainstream recognition. But their collective popularity was later overshadowed by younger bands that eventually emerged. An underground music scene was already burgeoning in some unknown bars in Manila. Red Rocks (which later became Club Dredd), together with Mayric's and Kampo (Yosh in the mid '90s), were the only venues where unsigned bands were allowed to play their own songs. From Power Pop, shoegazer, alternative rock (Eraserheads, Color It Red, The Youth, Feet Like Fins, Advent Call, Athena's Curse, etc.) to hard rock, heavy metal (Razorback, Askals, Wolfgang, Dahong Palay, etc.) to hardcore, punk, and death metal (Skychurch, Genital Grinder, Death After Birth, Kabaong ni Kamatayan, , Loads of Motherhood, The Wuds, Yano, Bad Omen, Rumblebelly, Deifago).

To add to the plight of the underground bands, radio stations would not play their music due to the payola system in the radio industry despite the fact that most of these bands, if not all, had self-produced ([[independent music|indie) albums. But DWLA 105.9 challenged the current system by providing a venue for the bands to broadcast their original songs. Pinoy Rock enthuthiasts were finally elated to hear their favorite underground bands ruling the airwaves.

Radio station LA 105.9 advocated Filipino rock music, playing original amateur (even if poorly recorded) singles and gave new avenues for emerging bands outside organized underground concerts. Rock n' Rhythm, a local music magazine also supported this scene with news and updates, band interviews, album and concert reviews, carrying on the torch that the defunct Jingle Chordbook and Moptop (popular Philippine rock music magazines during the '70s and '80s, respectively) have entrailed. The band explosion opened avenues for non-traditional artists as well, like Intermidya, for example. Their musical instruments looked like materials from a junk shop glued together and which had names like Sandata#1, Sandata#2, Baby Sandata, etc.

The commercial success of Eraserheads paved the way for more Pinoy Rock acts (Rivermaya, Rizal Underground, The Youth) getting record deals. Some brave all-female bands got signed (Kelt's Cross, Tribal Fish, Agaw Agimat) and a few solo artists as well (Maegan Aguilar, Bayang Barrios, DJ Alvaro). Rappers crossed over with great success (Francis M with Hardware Syndrome and Erectus), despite some earlier controversy with hiphop-bashing allegedly incited by some artists. These bands adopted a variety of influences both in image and music; many fell under a particular genre; however, the crossing over of styles was most often inevitable.


In the early 2000s, Hip hop-, reggae-, acoustic pop/jazz-, and R&B-influenced bands dominated the Philippine music scene, causing Pinoy Rock to take a backseat. Only a number of Pinoy Rock bands managed to stay in the mainstream during this period. In 2003 a not-so-well-known home-educated DJ named DJ RO started playing in a small bar and restaurant known as GWEILOS; DJ RO helped promote the club every Monday night while there was an emergence of Filipino Rock bands like Bamboo, Orange and Lemons and Kitchie Nadal that started performing in Gweilos and eventually became popular. In 2004, Pinoy Rock once again gained prominence, with the rise of yet another wave of Filipino Rock bands. During this time, the Pinoy Rock music scene in Cebu also gained exposure.

2001 saw indie band The Pin-Up Girls, made up of former Keltscross members and underground musicians, signing to Know-It-All Records in Tacoma, Washington, making them the first Manila-based band to sign with an American label. This development caused quite a negative reaction from the Manila rock scene as most musicians deemed the band unworthy of the break.

The Pin-Up Girls released an EP worldwide called "Taste Test" that sold out. Know-It-All then printed a new batch dubbed "Taste Test: The Expanded Menu". The lead-off single "Caress" hit number one on the New Jersey- and Internet-based radio

2004 also saw the emergence of the first Philippine virtual band, Mistula. With the internet as their stage, Mistula comes alive through their official website, a fusion of music, graphic art, literature, photography and other art forms.

The rest of the 2000s further ushered in the mainstream buzz on Pinoy Rock, and along with it bands that leaned more towards pop sensibilities. During this time, Pinoy Rock, more than ever, gained mainstream exposure. Pogi ("pretty-face") rock was born (with such bands as Hale, Sponge Cola, Callalily and the new, post-Rico Blanco Rivermaya), although an obscure, provincial band that called itself Groupies' Panciteria tried to assert a different political path, releasing in 2009 an mp3 album for free downloading on after having been inspired by the politics of ultra-independent rock artist Dong Abay; the half-send-up-of- and half-tribute-to-commercial-TV 2005 album by the band Itchyworms called Noontime Show; and the downloadable protest-folk albums of Gary Granada.[1][2]

2006 was when Filipino band, KALA, appeared in the commercial music scene with their full length album entitled "Manila High" distributed by SonyBMG Music Entertainment. Their first hit was Jeepney which was released summer of 2006. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the band started the resurgence of the Manila Sound genre into the modern world through their own mix of funky jazzy electronic rock music. The tribute album Hopia Mani Popcorn was also launched. Popular bands frontlined the remake album. KALA made a funky remake of VST and Co.'s Rock Baby Rock which hit number 1 in the airwaves.

In recent years as well, bands like Urbandub, Chicosci, Slapshock, Pencil Toe and Typecast have also played in other countries such as Singapore and the US, amongst others. Some have even garnered nominations and recognition from internationally-based publications and award-giving bodies. This is mainly attributed to the effect of the internet and globalization on almost anything including music, as listeners from other countries can now see and hear songs and videos of bands overseas without leaving their country.

Original content from Wikipedia underGNU Free Documentation License. See fulldisclaimer.

  1. Groupies' Panciteria's free-downloadable mp3 album Heto Na . . . Ating Jackal Virgin on
  2. certain albums of Gary Granada continue to be offered for free downloading as mp3 files at his website