Spanish and later American colonial regimes created a
Philippine society whose Western social institutions were modeled after
their respective societal structures. While both Spanish and American
regimes gave their shares of social and cultural influences, it was the
American regime that established institutions that make up some of the
present structure of modern Philippine society. The creation of such
institutions and the absorption of Philippines into the global political
economy likewise created a need for forms of leisure that was fit for such a
society. This social condition gave rise to the development of Philippine
popular music into the forms that are known today.
Anglo-American popular music was widely heard in
dance halls and cabarets, including vaudeville shows at the early part of
the twentieth century. The well known musical genres at the time like the
cakewalk, the foxtrot
and the ragtimeóforerunners of what was to
develop as Jazzówere played by Filipino
dance bands in cabarets. Vaudeville shows (bodabil)
consists of a variety of acts that included slapstick comedy routines and
tap dance numbers aside from popular music. Filipino folk songs were
arranged into dance rhythms to suit the emerging American taste. With the
introduction of radio, sheet music, live entertainment and movie themes,
popular music found its place in the mainstream of Philippine society.
During the Japanese invasion in the Second World
War, American forms of entertainment were banned along with the suppression
of American values. The Japanese branded American culture as decadent while
concealing its own agenda of economic and cultural expansionism. With this,
a pro-Filipino virtue was promoted side by side with a pro-Japanese virtue
and songs were one important medium to disseminate this value.
In the late 1940ís as the world was rebuilding
itself after the turmoil of the 2nd World War, American forms of
entertainment re-surfaced in the Philippines. American military presence,
which demanded the forms of rest and recreation, exposed the Filipinos to
swing and continued the proliferation of popular stage
shows like the bodabil. Later, in the
1950ís, a popularized version of the samba
was introduced. This was followed by the emergence of the instrumental
groups known as the cumbachero (a local
version of a Latin-American band), which became well-known in fiestas and
other social gatherings.
In the 1950ís to the 1960ís, newer genres as
rock and roll and country
music appealed to a younger generation of Filipino popular
artists. Filipino counterparts of famous Western artists as Elvis Presley,
Jerry Vale, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and the Beatles were heard over the
radio and seen in movies and on television.
While preference for foreign artists prevailed,
local artists continued to strive for a distinct sound that could be
referred to as "Filipino". Conscious efforts to develop that Filipino sound
(Pinoy Sound) came however in the 1970ís
with the creation of Filipino rock music, dubbed as Pinoy
Rock, Filipino Jazz or Pinoy Jazz
and Filipino pop ballad or the Manila Sound.
Those initial efforts came to a significant development in the late 70ís to
the 80ís with the flourishing of various Filipino pop styles.
In the late 70ís, the Metro Manila
Popular Music Festival (or Metro Pop), a song
writing competition for amateurs and professionals, became the buffer for
the creation of new pop songs and the introduction of emerging artists and
performers. Other local competitions inspired even more artists and
composers to create more music. These include Likha Awit
Pambata (a childrenís song competition), the
Himig Awards, and the Cecil Awards.
It was at about this period when the Organisasyon ng mga
Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), was created to address the
needs of Filipino popular artists. OPM also stood for
Original Pilipino Music a handle for music composed and/or
performed by Filipinos, even with its eventual use of English lyrics.
The effort to probe deeper into the search for a
Filipino identity in popular music was attempted in the late 1980ís and the
early 90ís by a group of composers who banded together to form
KATHA (write/create). This effort gave rise to the move
to create Brown Music, a kind of
counterpart to the African-American "Black Music". The outputs of
multi-awarded composer Ryan Cayabyab to fuse indigenous musical elements
with foreign pop idioms took off to enable non-mainstream artists like Joey
Ayala to surface in the commercial arena. As the decade of the 90ís
commenced, more and more alternative artists entered into the mainstream.