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I am big fan of Yeng Constantino and a longtime supporter of Parokya ni Edgar so I was excited to hear about this new collaboration! 

Even more exciting is knowing that both Chito Miranda and Yeng Constantino are coming to the 3rd ELEMENTS National Singing and Songwriting Camp as Mentors this year! 

Today is the last day to apply for the all-expenses paid Camp! So, all of the aspiring Singers Songwriters out there should log on to www.elementsmusiccamp.com.ph NOW and send it their entries! 

If you like Chito and Yeng, this is your chance to learn from them directly! 

Congratulations to Parokya and Yeng! Love the song! 

yengconstantino:

Pangarap Lang Kita - Parokya ni Edgar with Yeng Constantino

Nagulat ako nung kinontak ako ni Kuya Chito para dito.. Sobrang saya ko na nakajam ko sila… at sana di pa ito ang huli… Sana sa album ko naman yung next… :) (praying mode)

IS OPM DEAD?

This has been the trending topic over the weekend and whilst this has been discussed before, I finally feel compelled to write down my own take on things. 

First of all, let’s define “O.P.M.” It can mean “Original Philippine Music” or “Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-Aawit.” The former is a description of music and the latter is the group headed by Mr. Ogie Alcasid. Let’s take care not to confuse the two. 

That said, along with co-Board members Messrs. Ding Dong Avanzado, Noel Cabangon, and their colleagues, Mr. Alcasid has also taken up the cudgels of working to champion, promote and protect Original Philippine Music. (For that, we should all be supportive and thankful.)

So, let’s discuss the matter of the moment. Let’s answer the question, “Is OPM dead?” If we mean this to be the definition of the acronym, then let me just say a few things:

People are making a fuss and statements are made that the Artists that they see on television or hear on the radio are not singing Original Philippine Music. They sing covers of foreign Artists. That is true. We do see this happen weekly on musical variety shows on the major networks. But they do not do this all the time so let’s be careful not to criticize them. I know that they sing OPM in their concerts and their other activities that they do outside of mainstream media.

That said, these Artists that we see on television are NOT the entire music industry nor are they the only ones who solely define Philippine music. They are a percentage of it, yes, and maybe are the most popular. We all know they do exist alongside many other Artists. Many of them still also produce original material. Just take Ogie Alcasid and Gary Valenciano as the best examples of this. They have songwriting awards under their belt that no one can ever question. 

Furthermore, there are numerous Artists supported by  mainstream media that create and perform their own music like Gloc-9 and acts like Parokya ni Edgar, Pupil, Noel Cabangon, Sandwich, Kamikazee, Yeng Constantino, Callalily, Ebe Dancel, Jay Durias, 6cyclemind, and many more. 

If we just look at these names and see how exposed and active they are, then clearly we can say Original Philippine Music is not dead. 

Plus, count in the mix the other acts that continue to attract audiences and listeners who are not always seen on TV and radio: Wolfgang, Rivermaya, Joey Ayala, Cynthia Alexander (when she was still here), Grace Nono, The Dawn, The Youth, Hilera, True Faith, Sinosikat?, Up Dharma Down, Tarsius, Pedicab, Imago, Urbandub, Cattski Espina from Cebu, Maan Chua from Davao, and so much more.

How can the music be dead? It will never die. For as long as Filipinos create music and it is heard by others then it will live on. Who said that the health of OPM had to be determined only by what radio played or TV showed? Don’t concerts count? The fact that places like Conspiracy, 70’s Bistro, Route 196, Stone House, Saguijo, 19 East, Outpost in Cebu, MTS in Davao, Kaffeeklasch in Baguio, among countless others, continue to have shows presenting local Artists who sing their own songs, then we can safely say OPM is alive and well and will be for a long time.

However, I do know what is dying is the way the music industry used to behave. The centers of power are no longer concentrated on a few entities. The internet has democratized the way people create, share, and access music so for as long as Filipinos anywhere in the world are creating their own music, OPM will thrive. Just look at the success of AJ Rafael, for one. He is an internet sensation, is Filipino, and sings all of his own material. Oh, he was put forth in the Grammy nominations list and was a Finalist for the Billboard Awards, too. Is OPM dead? Not when we have Artists like him reaching audiences all over.

In fact, if you count the internet as mainstream media now, it is actually filled with so much more OPM than regular TV or radio. It doesn’t have space or time limitations and its reach goes beyond what a transmitter can do. 

Maybe what people are really reacting to is the fact that mainstream media doesn’t play as much OPM as we would all like. I know for a fact that Ogie Alcasid has had to lobby in Congress to enforce Executive Order 255 that requires all radio stations to play four OPM songs every hour. I cannot accurately say if this is being followed but based on this furor then I would venture to say it isn’t so. 

If we really want the state of OPM to be better, then there are two things that I see need to change. 

First, that the people who make decisions on content in radio and TV should recognize that the market – that’s us! - is willing and ready to hear more of what our fellow Filipinos have to offer. There is nothing wrong with supporting foreign music but let’s support our own first. They should allocate more time to playing OPM and also work their shows to present more Philippine content. 

Second, we the fans should also take this responsibility upon ourselves. We cannot go on talking and talking about the state of OPM but think twice or thrice about legitimately buying a local Artist’s album or a ticket to their concert. Bring in all the foreign acts to perform here – that’s good for tourism – but let’s do our bit to also support our local Artists, their craft, and the entities that spend their resources to make things happen for them. 

The record labels do not have the same spending power and resources to invest in new and developing Artists anymore because they don’t earn as much from CD sales. How can they take risks when they don’t have as much revenue? They may be in a state of flux but they still have the power to get music played on TV and radio. So, if we want more original content on that media, we should support what they do. Think twice then about whether or not you will just rip a CD or download illegally through a torrent.

The reason why K-Pop is a global success is that Koreans support Koreans. In J-Pop, the Japanese support the Japanese. In CantoPop, the Chinese support the Chinese. So, let me ask. can we Filipinos support our own Artists 100% all the time? I say we can and I say we should. I also say this, not just for the passive listener, but to every practitioner who has influence and the ability to make decisions as to what kind of music gets played on the biggest channels and stations, what’s written in the newspapers, and what concerts get produced and the repertoire that is performed.

I know for a fact that OPM is not dead because I work for a little entity called Radio Republic whose vision is to live stream OPM 24/7. In our four months of operation, we have had almost 100 Artists come to the studio to play their own songs. We don’t take foreign covers here. The influx of new Artists from all genres whom we present like LDP, Jonan Aguilar, Bullet Dumas, Curbside, Miscellaneous, Tricia Garcia, Flippin’ Soul Stompers, Feen, and Noodle and all the established, more visible ones like Rey Valera, Jay-R, Freestyle, Ryan Cayabyab, Kitchie Nadal, Barbie Almalbis, etc. is the sign that the talent is present and active. The thousands of people who watch our small site are the living proof that OPM is also being welcomed and appreciated. We even have Norweigians, Americans, and Japanese who enjoy Original Philippine Music.

OPM is not dying. It is not merely surviving. It is thriving. What should come alive more than ever is the support all around for everyone who is part of the music from the Artist to the listener. We can take it. We want it. Bring it on.

REMEMBERING RICHARD TAN 

It has been some weeks since Richard passed away from meningitis and still I think about what his death means. Its impact we have yet to fully feel. 

I think about his Artists and what will happen to them, how Richard stood as their manager, mentor, brother, father, friend. Will someone be able to fill his shoes? 

And yet I do not doubt one thing: his presence and influence will be felt in their music and how they will continue to be the best that they can be. Why am I so sure of this? Because Richard showed them how by example. Because he prepared them for ir. Because he let them shine and be brilliant Artists. And through them, Richard’s light will never die.

REMEMBERING RICHARD TAN

It was a shock to wake up today at 7am when an old friend Lizza Nakpil called asking if it was true that Richard Tan had passed away. He was a colleague in the music industry and a friend to everyone.

My first thoughts were of his family and then of his adopted family made up of his Artists: Parokya ni Edgar, Kamikazee, Typecast, ChicoSci, Gloc9, Hilera, The Youth, Teeth, Franco, and many more, some past and some present. How were they? If I was floored, what more them who saw him as a brother, father figure, best friend? He didn’t just manage their careers. He also managed their lives.

Just two days ago, I was having dinner when a text from Zach Lucero, my Radio Republic teammate, came through saying Richard was in the ICU. I called Lizza who happens to be Richard’s neighbor and I wanted to know what was going on. But she was out of town for a show and with her were PNE and Kamikazee.

I rushed over to the hospital and was able to speak to his doctor. The prognosis was meningitis but complications were cropping up and he was in critical condition. They could not ascertain what type of infection it was because they were unable to perform a lumbar puncture to test his spinal fluid. I left with a heavy heart but took solace in my faith and that Richard was still young and could fight off the infection in his brain. I checked in again yesterday and would update Chito, Aries (aka Gloc9), Lizza, and Day Cabuhat. (Day is Pupil’s manager but is also a doctor so was able to explain and better analyze the situation.) I was hopeful last night even after the doctor said he had developed a fever. His kidneys were now working and the ventilator was helping his heart.

So the news today of his passing came as a surprise. I thought he was fighting, holding on. But God apparently had another plan for him.

As I type now, I remember what it was like to lose Karl Roy a few months ago. I remember what it was like to lose Teddy Diaz, my cousin, kuya, mentor, and best friend, 24 years ago. Whether it be a few months or years, the pain doesn’t diminish. It is hard to lose someone dear to you and even harder to move on. Having been through it a few times in my life, I’ve realized that there is no easy way to handle it. The only way to get over it is to go through it.

Yes, it is a time to mourn and grieve now. But it is also a time to celebrate because although Richard has left this world, he now lives in the best place of all: up there where the music is made and played all day, where the true Giver and Creator of talent is, where he can converse with the ultimate Manager forever. He is with our God who has called Richard back to Him.

Richard touched all of our lives. In tribute to him, let us carry the torch. Let us continue to fight the fight for OPM, believing in talent like he did even when the powers-that-be say otherwise, stay strong when challenges come, stay focused when everything is rocking all around us, and stay true and sincere to the vision of sharing the music.

We owe that to him, to not let his efforts be in vain. We all supported his Artists through the years just as he worked so hard to bring their music to us. I thank him for his quiet commitment and passion for the music. We will always stand by him and his Artists.

As George Harrison sang, “All Things Must Pass,” and this shall too. Thank you, Richard. You may be gone but you will live on in the memory of the living. For you and because of you, the music will keep on playing.

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