“Magmula no’ng ako’y natutong umawit, naging makulay ang aking munting daigdig…kay ganda ng ating musika Ito ay atin, sariling atin at sa habang-buhay awitin natin!”.
Maestro Ryan Cayabyab wrote masterful lyrics and a melodic tune that continues to characterize OPM (Original Filipino Music) ever since it’s debut in the first Metro Manila Popular Music Festival.
Every time this song is played, it gives this writer a sense of pride on how beautiful our home-grown music is.
Filipinos love music, and music loves Filipinos. Each family will have at least one Karaoke King/Queen or Guitar Hero, and OPM hits and classics transcends generational bounds with yesterday’s classics becoming today’s hits given fresh interpretation and revival.
Music is an important tool for education and is a medium for the younger of our generations to learn about our cultural heritage and traditions. The repertoire of the Filipino Musician today has evolved with time while staying true to Filipino Roots telling stories about our past and keeping history alive.
Taking center stage at the Pinoy Festival in Burnaby are young and up-and-coming Pinoy Bands showcasing 90s, contemporary, and original compositions grown in Canada, written by Filipinos.
Let’s Go Boys was formed by a group who just wanted to get up, and play music. Listening to the drumer, guitarists, and basist, you get raw talent without pretentious hiding behind fancy electronica. Marco Sayo (on drums) keeps time fluid and drives the energy of the performance with styles reminiscent of Mar Dizon and Raimund Marasigan with hints of Dindin Moreno.
The heart of any band is the bassist, and Jonnel Quitoriano uses sure and calculated strokes to keep the heartbeat going like that of Yanni Yuzon and Nathan Azarcon. Phoenix Lachica and John Parrin each alternating between rythms and lead sling their guitars and harmonize with each other akin to listening to early Marcus Adoro and Darius Semaña. On vocals we have Romar Gohil joined by Andy Santarin who engages the crows and channels the band’s energy down the stage with evocative styling crossing over Bamboo Mañalac and Ney Dimaculangan.
Easy Play was formed in 2022 by a trio who are passionate about the Easy Listening Acoustic playing style. Composed of Jhonver Serquiña on guitar and vocals, Rommel Olavario on bass, and Ralph Peñalosa on drums, they describe themselves as a band “specializing in OPM music from the 80’s up to the current mainstream hits.” They are the resident band of Grand kitchen restaurant in Surrey and on top of being available for private events and parties.
When asked, they would say that they are influenced by “80s manila sound like Vst&Company, Boyfriends and current mainstream OPM like Ben &Ben, Sunkissed Lola and Nobita”. Listening to the band, this author hears hints of Mannos (Nyoy Volante’s former band) and MYMP albeit with vocals sounding like the great Ka Heber cum Joey Ayala.
esKape “was formed early 2023 as a project band for vocalist Angel Fidel and bassist Christian Que.” They started off as a loose collective of session musicians with gigs around the greater Vancouver area.
With Ralph Penalosa joining the band, he brought with him the up-tempo spice they were looking for; and with guitarists Don Honorio and Jeck Tinitigan completing the band with influences ranging from Pinoy Rock and Rhythm, 90s Alternative OPM, to the original Manila Sound.
Listen to these bands and more, live this June 24th (Saturday) at the Pinoy Festival in Burnaby.
By A. Fernandez