Wednesday, September 28, 2016

[Music] Rediscovering Filipino Music, Thanks To Spotify

Pare Ko / Ipagpatawad Mo / Dahil Ikaw / Ikaw Lamang / Ang Aking Awitin.
And no, this is not a sponsored post, hah.

Spotify is one of my favorite mobile apps. Since I always need to have music on the go, I almost always have Spotify on too, playing just the right soundtrack for whatever my current mood might be. It's definitely an added bonus that this particular app helped me rediscover original Pinoy music (OPM) all over again.

OPM Love

I've always loved listening to Filipino music. I guess there's just something about it being homegrown that touches me, plus it's always nice to have a good OPM song echo in your head for hours. Siguro'y malapit ka na ring sumali sa Supermodel of the Whole Wide Universe!

The OPM treasure trove that today's music stores don't carry like they used to. Leave me alone to my Third World devices, kids. Image from earthings!.

That being said, I remember how difficult it was for me to actually listen to OPM back in the day. I'd constantly switch radio stations in hopes of hearing Rivermaya or Sandwich. I'd rejoice if I saw the music video of Ang Huling El Bimbo on MYX. I'd longingly gaze over the rows of Filipino albums in record bars, hoping to someday be able to afford them all. I didn't have much of an Internet connection either, so I'd feel bitter towards friends who used Napster or Limewire to get their music fix. #Batang90s

Enter Spotify Philippines
Fast forward to 2014. When Spotify was officially launched in the Philippines, I was excited to discover an app that can stream music through my phone. Since I was (and still am) a Globe subscriber, it helped that the telco added Spotify access to its mobile surfing bundles, but what really pushed me to downloading it was learning that the app would have a collection of OPM hits in a very robust OPM catalog.

So I abandoned playing music via YouTube and started streaming exclusively with Spotify. I would later also discover that forking over money to Spotify monthly meant having the option to download the tracks I loved on my phone (plus no ads and unlimited skips!), so after a month, I upgraded my account to Premium, an arrangement I have loved ever since.

Its acceptance into Philippine society grew pretty quickly, making the Philippines become Spotify's 2nd fastest growing market in the world for 2015. I guess it helped that they brought Hale back, too. Image from ABS-CBN news, data as of 2014.

 All-Tagalog Playlists, Please

Spotify would soon be my music partner wherever I would go. Nevertheless, while I enjoyed the OPM playlists Spotify curated, I soon felt that what they had wasn't enough to satisfy my craving for Filipino music. (Besides, I had grown weary of the bubblegum hits by Jadine and Kathniel that I would constantly find in their playlists.) So I started creating my own lists, particularly ones that had nothing but Filipino/Tagalog hits in them.

A few of them would include my chill OPM playlist, my lakbay playlist (for tunes that my friends and I love to jam to while on the road), and my OPM alternative rock playlist. I would later go on to make a few more, always with the thought of keeping them full of only Filipino/Tagalog songs.

One of the playlists I am most proud of is my OPM Karaoke Playlist, which is full of Tagalog hits for all those birit moments. 'Di makatulog sa gabi sa kaiisip...

Discovery and Rediscovery

The fun thing was that, while I was able to curate a few playlists and add a couple of tracks that I really enjoyed, I was soon discovering lots of songs that I totally forgot about. I was reminded not only of Tootsie Guevarra, 17:28, or Aegis, but also of Smokey Mountain, DJ Alvaro (Ang Tipo Kong Lalaki), and Richard Reynoso (the original Ale).

In this regard, one particular highlight for me was when I started compiling hits for an all-Filipino bossa nova playlist. (And by all-Filipino, I mean all-Filipino language tracks.) Sure, there was Sitti and that bossa nova album by The Company, but that was about the extent of the OPM bossa nova I knew of.

With luck, research, and Spotify's related artists feature, I soon compiled 25+ hits of bossa nova tracks in the Filipino language, including a bossa nova cover of popular Visayan track Usahay and a song or two by Bong Peñera (which, up to now, I'm hesitant to keep there, since they sound more like samba than bossa nova).

(By the way, if you didn't know, Bong Peñera, with his band Batucada, was known as a major proponent in the Filipino samba and bossa nova music scene. His influence dates all the way back to the 1970s, too. Here are my sources.)

To be honest, I had a hard time compiling more than 20 tracks for this bossa nova playlist. Here's to hoping for more Filipino bossa nova in the future!

Thank You For The (Pinoy) Music, Spotify

Besides this, I am happy to continuously discover new singles and albums from different Filipino artists through Spotify. Thanks to the app, I discovered Jerika Teodorico's Labyu Langga, enjoyed PhilPop albums, and found that Miss Kita Pag Tuesday song that used to be the cause of my LSS way back when.

The Visayan pop music industry is thriving, especially with the VisPop Music Festival! Image from MetroCebu News.

Needless to say, I am thankful for Spotify and how it helps me connect with OPM in this little way, especially since I'm frequently on the go and need a reliable source of music for my needs. Also, thanks to this app, I find myself thirsting for more OPM news, getting excited over live concerts nearby, and having fun with V81 Radio, a Filipino-owned company I've been freelancing for that broadcasts "All Hits All Pinoy" over the Internet.

Yes, I know there are other music platforms out there. I just happen to enjoy Spotify among them. So what about you? What's your preferred music app of choice? How do you listen to OPM? Let me know in the comments below!

In the meantime, I'll probably be adding a few more tracks to my playlists, like my Abangers one or the one I titled Mahal Pa Rin Kita. (You will really find a common thread in Pinoy music the more you listen to it.) You can check out my Spotify profile here, or tweet me a good OPM song at @geekyDC. Happy listening!

With my many OPM playlists on Spotify, I do welcome suggestions! Sige na, [please] na, [please] na please, pambayad ko sa jeepney kulang pa ng diyes.

PS: I really wish this were a sponsored post, but it isn't. I just truly enjoy using Spotify, and highly recommend it to my friends and family. :)


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