Alive and Kicking: A Veteran Journalist’s Ode to OPM

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Alive and Kicking: A Veteran Journalist’s Ode to OPM

“OPM: Himig at Titik” is a must-read for fans of local music.

| November 9, 2017

The Glory Days of OPM

For this book, I concentrated on the songwriters from the 1970s and the 1980s because I know the music from that era best. I grew up with it.

And we Gen X-ers who were born in that era are lucky because we went through our grade school, high school and college years listening to a wide range of Original Pilipino Music, from folk to jazz to rock and the so-called “middle of the road” popular music.

Indeed, many have referred to that time as the “Golden Age of Filipino Music”. I could not agree more.


OPM in the Digital Age

Filipinos will always love and appreciate the music they can relate to. There is always something new that comes up.
I came across a study somewhere that said humans love the music they grew up with the best because that music is associated with their coming of age, the time when they were at their most emotional. So they turn to that music to either remember or forget.

Isn’t it that there always seems to be that one song that brings about specific memories, good or bad? The only evolution that I see relates to the technology that we use to consume music. When I was very young, we had vinyls and cassette tapes, then we moved on to CDs, and then to downloading and now, streaming. But what comes out is the same, it’s music. Although with streaming and downloading, music fans no longer have the inclination to listen to an entire album because they can just quickly skip through the tracks.

I think that is a shame because there are some songs that need more time to be fully appreciated.


OPM: The Next K-POP? J-Rock?

I think massive government support was a big factor behind the global success of Korean and Japanese music, indeed of Brazilian music, too. Our artists must have that if we want our music to also be known overseas. But I believe that the more urgent priority is to win the battlefield here in the Philippines. We need to hear, consume and be proud of our own music.

How can we even think about making our music known abroad when it is not even appreciated enough here?
Official data show that as much as 80 percent of the music performed in concerts or played on the radio and used in the movies or television comes from abroad, mainly from the United States.

The opposite ratio is seen in other countries like Indonesia, where practically all of the music on the radio is in their native language. No wonder then that there is greater appreciation for foreign music here than our own.
I do not know how that imbalance can be corrected, but it should be, for our own sake.


OPM, Government Help, and the Future

One government action that is now helping highlight Original Pilipino Music is the proclamation in 2014 of the last week of July as the Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino. Since then, various organisations that believe in the cause of OPM have mounted activities to help increase awareness of all kinds of OPM. During that week, commercial establishments, concert producers are encouraged to just feature OPM.

As for legislation, there was a move before to pass HB 4218 to force the local radio stations to play at least four original Filipino songs every hour, but that effort ended almost as soon as it began.
But we can help OPM out even without legislation.

As I said earlier, all of us Filipinos can help OPM by listening to it, going to gigs, buying CDs. If we want quality music, we must be ready to pay for it.

We shell out thousands of pesos to watch foreign acts that come to the Philippines, why not spare a few hundreds to support our own? Music is a universal language, but it is our own that best expresses who we are and who we want to be.

OPM: Himig at Titik is available as a limited release. You may text 09173265326 if you want to get a copy.


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