Entertainment, Music

OPM: The Year in Review

2018 is the year for Original Pilipino Music.

This year, more bands emerged in the OPM scene, especially with the launch of Coke Studio’s second season (which could have been culminated with a Christmas concert that was later postponed to early 2019). Some of the strongest acts this year were December Avenue (with their songs “Bulong” and the smash hit duet with Moira dela Torre, “Kung Di Rin Lang Ikaw”), IV of Spades, and I Belong to the Zoo (with their songs “Balang Araw” and “Sana”).

Ben&Ben became stronger in 2018 with their songs “Kathang Isip,” Exes Baggage OST “Maybe the Night,” and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral OST “Susi.”

The Voice Kids alumnus JK Labajo, together with his band, juan karlos, has also made it into the music charts with songs “Sistema” and the chart-topping hit, “Buwan.”

As for the solo acts, The Voice Season 1 alumna Moira dela Torre and Tawag ng Tanghalan’s YouTube Idol Sam Mangubat dominated 2018.

Apart from a duet with December Avenue, dela Torre has released more original songs, such as “Tagpuan” and Glorious OST, “Saglit.” She has also released a cover version of Rey Valera’s “Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko,” which became the official theme song for the film, “The Hows of Us.”

On the other hand, Mangubat released three chart-topping singles, namely “Pagka’t Nariyan Ka,” “Clueless,” and Himig Handog 2018 entry, “Wala Kang Alam.” His concert last September, entitled “I Am Sam,” was also a sold-out event.

For the hiphop category, both Ex Battalion and Shanti Dope released chart-topping singles.

Vocal groups such as BoybandPH and MNL 48 also made it this year. While MNL 48 released Tagalog translations of “Aitakatta,” “Pag-ibig Fortune Cookie,” and “Talulot ng Sakura,” BoybandPH dominated the music charts with their songs “Hanggang Kailan Kaya” and Himig Handog 2018 entry “Para Sa Tabi.”

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Entertainment, Music

Common Misconceptions on Music Students/Music Practitioners

Hello guys! How are you doing? Just a few days to go before Christmas and here’s to more performance and entrepreneurial sidelines. However, despite the existence of sidelines for mostly music students, people still assume that there are little to no opportunities for music students. People often assumed that studying music is THAT easy.

“Puro kanta at tugtog lang naman kayong mga music major eh.”

This is one big misconception against music students. During my undergraduate studies in UP, Music Theory was one of our make or break subjects. Since it garnered 5 units, flunking Music Theory causes a major delay in our music studies. Another major element is that we also have Music Literature classes to help us understand whatever piece we perform, in terms of historical value. Not to mention, in my musicology classes, we do a critical analysis of (almost) all of the musical pieces we encounter. Not to mention, pop is even included, with Simon Frith as one of the most notable pop musicologists. We also do field research in studying every music community, be it classical, indigenous, or even pop!

“Wala namang pera sa pagiging musiko/pag-aaral ng music.”

THINK AGAIN. There are a lot of people from the music industry who are formally schooled in music, whether in UP, UST, PWU, CSB, or even MINT. Apart from National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, some of the notable people from the music industry who actually studied music in college are veteran music arranger Homer Flores, Jona, Moira dela Torre, Froilan Canlas (Tawag ng Tanghalan’s “Songsmith”-slash-vocal coach), Gerphil Flores (Yup! David Foster’s Golden Girl.), Louie Ocampo (He even graduated from Berklee!), Jerrold Tarog (Yes! The man behind the films “Heneral Luna” and “Goyo.”), Armi Millare of UDD, and many more. Most of the session band musicians (e.g., TNT Band, The Arrangers) in major TV networks even studied music in college. Wedding and bar musicians even earn from performing. Most sound engineers also earn a huge sum of money, due to numerous recording projects.

These are just two of major misconceptions on music students and music practitioners. There are actually more. To my dear friends who study music and/or have a music-related job, feel free to leave a comment. 🙂

 

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Music

THE BIG THREE SONGWRITING COMPETITIONS: Philpop, Himig Handog, and ASOP

The season for songwriting competitions has come once again! Weeks ago, Himig Handog has already released its top ten song entries while Philpop has released its top 30 songs. As for ASOP, weekly eliminations are being held since December 2018.

With all of these updates, how does each songwriting competition differ from the other?

1. PHILPOP

The Philippine Popular Music Festival, more known as PHILPOP, is a project of the Philpop Music Fest Foundation established in 2012. It is a songwriting competition inspired by the defunct Metro Manila Popular Music Festival, more known as Metropop, where Philpop executive director Ryan Cayabyab became one of the winners with his entry, Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika. In 2012, the songs used to be released under Ivory Music and Video but 2013 and 2014 entries were under Universal Records. It was in 2015 up to the present when the songs were released under Viva Records.

Some of the songs from this competition that became major hits were the following: “Dati” (written by Thyro Alfaro and Yumi Lacsamana; interpreted by Sam Concepcion and Tippy Dos Santos), “Triangulo” (also by Alfaro and Lacsamana), and “Di Na Muli” (written by Jazz Nicolas and Wally Acolola; interpreted by Itchyworms and remade by Janine Teñoso).

Here are the top 30 songs for PHILPOP 2018:

2. Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs

Himig Handog is a songwriting competition operated by media conglomerate ABS-CBN and its affiliate record label, Star Music (formerly known as Star Records). It was first held in the year 2000 as “Himig Handog Para Sa Bayaning Pilipino” where the song entries were pertinent to heroism, such as Arnel De Pano’s “Lipad ng Pangarap” (interpreted by Dessa), Trina Belamide’s “Para Sa’yo” (interpreted by Dianne dela Fuente and the Bataoke Kids). In the year 2001, the competition’s theme was geared towards the youth, where it was known as “JAM: Himig Handog Sa Makabagong Kabataan.”

It was only in the year 2002 when the said songwriting competition fully focused on love songs. Some of the songs that rose to fame from this competition were the following: Angelo Villegas and Allan Feliciano’s “This Guy’s In Love With You, Pare” (interpreted by Parokya ni Edgar frontman Chito Miranda), Gigi and Ronaldo Cordero’s “Hanggang” (interpreted by Wency Cornejo), Soc Vilanueva’s “Kung Ako Na Lang Sana” (interpreted by Bituin Escalante, Jungee Marcelo’s “Nasa Iyo Na Ang Lahat” (interpreted by singer-actor Daniel Padilla), Jovinor Tan’s “Anong Nangyari Sa Ating Dalawa?” (interpreted by Ice Seguerra), Francis Louis Salazar’s “Akin Ka Na Lang” (interpreted by Morissette Amon), Edwin Marollano’s “Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako” (interpreted by KZ Tandingan), Jovinor Tan’s “Pare, Mahal Mo Raw Ako” (interpreted by Michael Pangilinan), Meljohn Magno’s “Simpleng Tulad Mo” (also interpreted by Padilla), and Libertine Amistoso’s “Titibo-Tibo” (interpreted by Moira dela Torre).

For this year, here are the top 10 finalists.

3. A Song of Praise (ASOP)

A Song of Praise, more known as ASOP, is a songwriting competition conceptualized by Eliserio Soriano (of Ang Dating Daan) and Daniel Razon. While PHILPOP and Himig Handog focused on showcasing newer materials for the popular music scene, ASOP is geared towards religious and inspirational songs. (Think of Hillsongs and 2000s Jamie Rivera.)

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Entertainment, Music

ALBUM REVIEW: Love, BoybandPH

Two years after winning ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Boyband Superstar, quintet BoybandPH has released its second album under Star Music called Love, BoybandPH. A listening party was also held, weeks prior to its launch.

It is composed of nine tracks, namely, Kaligayahan (Happiness) Interlude which has two parts, “Kung Di Mo Natatanong” (If You Haven’t Asked), “Hanggang Kailan Kaya” (Until When) – the album’s carrier single, “Please Lang Naman” (Please), “D’Tyo” (Not Us), “Drive”, “Tagahanga” (Fan), and “Pa’no Ba” (How). “Tagahanga” was penned by pop-rock singer Yeng Constantino while “Please Lang Naman” was written by Moira dela Torre. “Pa’no Ba” was created by Tawag ng Tanghalan’s Songsmith Froilan Canlas, the group’s vocal coach.

The Kaligayahan Interlude (both parts) channels the best of the group’s vocal harmony, in terms of balance. The voices are even at the start of the song while the melody is clearly heard during the stanza parts. The bass part is also distinct.

Kung Di Mo Natatanong is reminiscent of 1990s Bubblegum Pop Boyband Ballads commonly played during Junior-Senior Prom dances. Counterpoints may have existed in the chorus part but they are seamlessly done, along with the song’s main melody.

Hanggang Kailan Kaya, the album’s carrier single is a mix of boyband harmonies and electronic pop. Some parts may be modified through music technology or “auto-tuned” but the vocal parts remain distinct and not overly artificial. Overall, this song is danceable.

 

Dela Torre’s Please Lang Naman has a sound fit for television commercials. Along with its guitar patterns commonly used in sway-worthy music, the song’s character is light and easy. It focuses more on the BoybandPH’s member’s individual vocal prowess. However, the “woooh” parts could have sounded better if they are sung with a bit of swing feel.

Both “D’Tyo” and “Drive” have a danceable feel. Drive’s recurring instrumental pattern is distinct, as well as its bass lines and sawtooth riffs. However, the boys’ voices are more remarkable in D’Tyo than in “Drive.”

Constantino takes a little break from her usual pop-rock songwriting practice in “Tagahanga.” Compared to her previous works, “Tagahanga” has more of a pop sound, which is peppered with electronic beats yet the boys’ vocals remain unadulterated.

“Pa’no Ba”, penned by Canlas, is an R&B ballad, which is reminiscent of Boyz II Men’s and 98 Degrees’s ballads that existed in the 1990s. The song’s melody is not only remarkable. The background vocal parts are also even, especially in the chorus part. In fact, nobody from the quintet sticks out in the chordal parts. Russell Reyes’s and Niel Murillo’s ad lib parts are distinct yet sung seamlessly.

Of the tracks mentioned, BoybandPH’s vocal harmonies are best channeled in “Kaligayahan Interlude” (both Parts 1 and 2), “Kung Di Mo Natatanong”, and Pa’no Ba. My only suggestion for “Pa’no Ba” is to have an acoustic version released soon to make the song’s meaning come out better.

Overall, this album deserves a rave, not only because the entire album sounds current. With Canlas’s and Kiko Salazar’s guidance, the quintet’s vocal harmony is “eargasmic” because of its balance and seamlessness. Looking forward to more purely a cappella songs from BoybandPH.

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