Thursday, August 6, 2009

Is Original Pilipino Music (OPM) a Lost Art?

The controversy over the 2009 National Artists awardees which blames President Arroyo’s corruption and dirty politics for spoiling the selection process made me think of popular Filipino music and arts.

No doubt, the Philippines is blessed with talented artists. Music alone produces fine Filipino singers and choral groups that are recognized as one of the best around the world. But is original Filipino music becoming a lost art?

I love Filipino music and I miss listening to it. My friend Kristan and I always gets a good laugh every time we talk about the pinoy songs we used to listen on the radio during the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, I can't find anything in this current or even in my generation of singers new songs worth listening to because all they play are covers and revivals. Pakiramdam ko hihinto lang ang pagrerevival at pagiging popular ng foreign songs kapag hindi na baluktot mag-Tagalog is Martin Nievera (my shameless attempt to be funny).

Same thing with TV, I don't watch soap operas but I read about them online and noticed remakes of old movies and foreign series fills up the afternoon and primetime TV schedule.

The idea on the article I read recently and blogged on The Point can be related to the decline of OPM and TV. It says the decline of the quality of contemporary music, literature and other forms of art is a reflection of the change in the very thought process and concentration levels of a culture.

Pinoy's inclination that Western culture is better, superior and beautiful is the culprit why local adaptations and remakes are always popular. Mahirap na yatang tangalin and mindset na ito. The current generation's use of media and technology is also blamed for shaping the way people think: superficial, less to ponder and emotion-driven. Bumababaw daw ang tao ngayon dahil sa internet at text. Whatever feels good and simple impressions is preferred over logical and well-reasoned thought, affecting the songs and shows Filipinos want to see and make.

It's hard to blame Freddie Aguilar's harsh criticism of Filipino artists and music. May basis naman kasi sya, mali lang ang kanyang delivery. To prove Ka Freddie's assertion will never be right, Filipinos need to change the way we think. To start, develop the right values and worldview. A worldview similar to the Creator that strives for excellence and craves to create beauty from the unattractive and the empty. Then develop critical thinking skills and art appreciation by reading more and exposing one-self to original works of arts and literature.

As for entertainment industry executives who decides what songs or shows to produce, I hope you give Filipinos more what we need and not always what we want to see or hear.


  1. I, for one, think Cynthia Alexander flies a pretty awesome flag for local music. With musicians like her, Joey Ayala, Bayang Barrios, and the lot still recording and making music, I think there's still a chance for OPM as I know it.

  2. Ganns - I agree with the artists you picked.

  3. Totoo lahat ng sinabi mo. Wala ng OPM. As a matter of fact yung acronym na yan nabago na from Original Pilipino Music to Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit.

    Last time akong nakarinig ng OPM was during 90s. 1999 was the start when OPM artists where no longer creating their own material.

    Ang last frontier na ng OPM as of now ay mga banda- anyway sila rin naman yung movers and shakers way back- Eraserheads, Parokya ni Edgar, Bamboo, Rico Blanco (River Maya), Barbie Almalbis (formerly Hungry Young Poets and Barbie's Cradle). For the record si Ogie Alcasid lang ang hindi kabilang sa rock genre na nakagawa ng original material. Ang mga dumagdag na lang Kamikaze, Imago, Sinosikat, Hale (nadisband pa), Kitchie Nadal. Kung sa rap music, si Francis Magalona lang.

    OPM does presents itself as a lost art. Other Asian countries keep churning their own hits and their own material while we don't we just wait and fish for something that we also enjoy.

    But of course Filipino artists have the talent yun nga lang, ang sa kanila na lang interpretation of songs but when it comes to songwriting, I couldn't think of anyone else (I'm talking about Filipino artists who are not in the band).

    Di ko inexpect na ganito ang mangyayari sa OPM.