In Photos: Linggo Ng Musikang Pilipino, A Multi-Platform Celebration

Heavy rains and traffic failed to halt Linggo Ng Musikang Pilipino (LMP) for staging a record-breaking 70+ music showcases in various venues across the country.

Presented by Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) and National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the multi-platform celebration succeeded in its commitment to offering a broad spectrum of Filipino music talents to a diverse audience, transforming public spaces such as malls and train stations into music performance spectacles and curating top-notch performances in bars, concert halls, theatres, and multimedia outlets.

Railway Jams and busking activities

LMP kicked off its campaign with Railway Jams, a series of live music activities in select LRT stations that run from July 4 to 27. Several artist-members from Organisasyon Ng Musikang Pilipino ng mga Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) performed original material and familiar covers to entertain commuters from different walks of life. The partnership also attracted positive reception from the riding public, allowing them to discover the city’s wealth of music talents and ongoing support for cultural awareness.

As precursor to LMP’s week-long celebration, several music venues in Metro Manila also held open mic and busking sessions that promote upcoming homegrown acts and underrated music finds. It’s also worth noting that Powerplant Mall and Lucky Chinatown Mall offered their space to mount music shows aimed to serenade guests while they dine or shop. One performance in particular proved to be a standout with its world-class musicality: alt-rock and jazz songstress Cooky Chua collaborated with The Manila String Machine for a soothing but elegantly produced number that instantly wowed both the crowd and the curious bystanders in the mall.

Notable showcases

People braved the rainy season to catch some of the finest performances at the Linggo Ng Musikang Pilipino, resulting into packed venues and much-buzzed highlights on social media.

Veteran alternative rock icon Rizal Underground reunited for a one-night only concert at the ‘70s Bistro on the opening week of the LMP. The ‘90s hitmakers churned out their signature anthems “Bilanggo,” “Diskaril,” “Sabado Nights,” to name a few, and was joined by Eddie Siojo on Betrayed’s punk classic “Never Meant To Be This Way.”

More music fans joined the music soiree at the Batang ‘90s showcase in Historia Bar on July 31. They were in for a treat as perennial favorites Barbie Almalbis, Dong Abay, Wency Cornejo, and Color It Red delivered engaging performances that include their past hits and new material.

Rak of Aegis, the acclaimed Pinoy musical also made a glorious comeback with a sold-out, two-day run at the Linggo Ng Musikang Pilipino. With Rappler praising the latest iteration for its “abundance of exuberance and joy in the delivery,” and for remaining truthful to its source material, the Barangay Venezia gang took the Aegis back catalog to roof-raising highs with yet another round of awesome song numbers and top-caliber acting.

Launch Parade

Aside from ringing the nostalgia dial, the Linggo Ng Musikang Pilipino hosted several single, music video and album launches of established and independent local music acts from different parts of the country. The special showcase includes Bulacan indie-pop outfit Blind Stereo Moon, which premiered the music video of their single “Bulalakaw” at the ‘70s Bistro; husband-and-wide tandem A Couple of Notes, which launched their latest single “Sa Piling Mo” at Jess and Pats; and singer-songwriter Benedict Sy and alt-pop collective Approaching Zero, which held their single release party at World’s End and Upperhouse BGC, respectively. 

PhilPop 2018 Grand Winner Chud Festejo from Davao City also debuted his newest EP, Laro Laro at Route 196, while PhilPop 2018 runner-up Ferdinand Aragan debuted his latest independently released single” Dinamalayan” on the same venue and date. Both artists raised the bar in terms of live performance and output, coming to terms with their newfound success and evolving as musicians with a more honed perspective in career and songwriting style.

A Memorable Closer

Linggo Ng Musikang Pilipino capped off this year’s run with a well-applauded ensemble performance at ABS-CBN’s longest running Sunday variety show, ASAP Natin ‘To. OPM members Bea Lorenzo, Ferdinand Aragon, and Bayang Barrios, were joined by mainstays Regine Velasquez, Inigo Pascual and JM de Guzman on putting a contemporary spin on smash Pinoy hits from the previous decades.

With a well-curated music program and a bigger fifth year run, Linggo Ng Musikang Pilipino is poised to become a staple multi-genre festival with longer staying power and undeniable impact. Here’s hoping for more years of support and love.

LMP is also brought to you by Light Rail Manila Corporation, Ikot MNL, Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), Power Plant Mall, PhilPop, and other digital, bars and other production partners.

Going ONCE, Going TWICE

Concerts. Music Festivals. As I live and breathe, such have been my playground for over half a decade. Maybe I’ve been to close to a hundred events, if we’ll include bar gigs and mall shows. Music is life. It is what salvages me from combusting in the daily grind that is corporate slavery. I can’t pinpoint the exact time nor artist that started the ball rolling. Although I suspect it was most likely a Bigfish Manila event sometime in late 2000s. I was into international DJs and bands (rock, pop-punk ones to be exact) for as long as I could remember. Bazooka Rocks Fest, Road to Ultra, Sonic Carnival, Paradise International Music Festival and Bigfish Innovation White are way up on my list as the memorable events. From Britney to Boyzone, to Kanye West to Zedd, to Mayday Parade to All Time Low, seen them, dropped dead.

So if anyone would have told me during the heyday of my EDM haze and rock enthusiasm that I would one day become a kpop stan, I would’ve laughed so hard that person may very well curse me to the ends of the earth. Don’t get me wrong, I have actually had the chance to listen to kpop way before the whole Hallyu fever swept though the world. I knew of the first gen (we are current on the 4th gen now apparently) artists and actually liked BoA, Shinhwa, S.E.S.  and Rain (before he became everyone’s wyecandy when he starred in the kdrama Full House). It’s just that I would never consider spending a penny for something I don’t really understand. Concerts and music fests aren’t what you would label as a cheap thrill. You do actually have to invest in the experience, and so I did.

Fast forward to the last quarter of 2017, kpop girlgroup TWICE released in what I would later find out was their first full album, Twicetagram. And with it was the song that got me curious (and regretful? Kidding.) enough to check the video out and bam! Likey and the hit which followed, Heart Shaker, proved to be the double whammy that will lure me into the abyss called being a kpop stan lol. I got myself a copy of said album during the early part of 2018. And I’ve spiraled down since :p K-pop artists are apparently notorious for releasing mini albums which could contain any number of tracks from 2 to 5 or maybe a bit more if you get lucky. And they release these mini albums like quarterly almost and they have about ten thousand versions per album. Okay maybe 3 versions but having been a collector of band albums in general, of course the norm is just one album version and they’d release one every so or so number of years. And then there are merch from pins to fans to keychains to friggin photocards coz yes, their faces in mini photos deserve to be collected and some are even more expensive than a concert ticket. And for the love of TWICE, I delved into it all. 3 version albums – check; photocards – check; merch – check; concerts – big fat check.

My first TWICE concert was supposedly in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia last July 2018. Imagine being a ONCE (that’s what you all their fandom, FYI) for less than a year and already having such burst of passion to go fly out to finally watch them live. But lo and behold, such was not the story. The concert was scheduled for a Saturday night, and my friends and I arrived in KL on a Friday morning whereas TWICE arrived sometime in the afternoon and managed to hold their presscon even. But on that fateful night, less than 24 hours before the concert, a cancellation notice broke thousands of hearts, mine included. Technical and safety issues were laid down as reasons for the abrupt decision.

With my broken heart and still hazy mind, there was still the strong desire to see them live. And while we don’t spit dough in this economy, we must toil to make any dream come true. And so, Jakarta Indonesia it was. A month later, finally, oh finally. My first TWICE concert. Everything was superb, they were a sight to behold, they sounded wonderful, it was an experience not soon to be forgotten. And just March of this year, my Japan coincided with their Dome Tour. Now what fool would miss this chance. Their Osaka show was on the exact time I was there and even if tickets were sold exclusively to fanclub members, which I sadly wasn’t, the heavens made a way to find a fanclub member very much willing to get me a ticket. And it was yet a whole other experience. Osaka Dome Tour was phenomenal, if I could sum it up.

But of course, there is nothing like watching them in your own country. So when they announced a would tour that effin-finally included Manila, I was ready for a throwdown. We all know how horrendous ticketing services are in the country: the disorganized queue for the physical tickets and the sites that bog down during the day of selling. And surprisingly, though not unexpected, tickets managed to be sold out in a matter of three hours or so. Many clamored for a day 2 but scheduling is a bitch when you’re Asia’s top girlgroup. And my cursed arse, yes, it must really be me, failed to get a ticket. 🙁

And now that Twicelights in Manila is bound to happen in days, do I still have a chance?

                             Yes or Yes?

Dreamcatcher: Invitation to Nightmare Manila

In some Native American cultures, a dreamcatcher or dream catcher is a handmade willow hoop, on which is woven a net or web. The dreamcatcher may also include sacred items such as certain feathers or beads, believed to give its owner good dreams.

But for k-pop fans, Dreamcatcher is their version of rockstars, sans the instruments. Originally debuting in 2014 as MINX with 5 members Jiu, Dua, Siyeon, Yoohyeon and Dami, they eventually added 2 members Gahyeon and Handong to re-debut as Dreamcatcher in 2017. On that same year, they released their first EP titled “Prequel”, which debuted at number 5 on the Billboard World Albums Chart and peaked at No. 1 on the US iTunes K-Pop Top 100 Chart.

It was March this year when Dreamcatcher held a tri-city Asian tour (Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines) called “Invitation from Nightmare City”. While the Jakarta stop was later on cancelled, their Manila show proceeded last March 24 at the SM Sky Dome. This was the final stop of the short tour, much to the delight of PH Insomnia (their fandom name).

Some may say there is eeriness to their sound. Reminiscent of 90’s Japanese bands even. The strong drum beats, rap, mixed with melodious singing. And if you would listen to their instrumentals, the heavy feels of electronica can be felt. Not to say that these girls can’t belt out a heartwarming ballad as they have a couple of slow songs that’s more guitar than drum-based showcasing their voice colors and distinct styles in singing. Their sound is truly what sets them apart from a slew of girlgroups that have come out through the years. When heard, they may sound raw and hard but when seen, they are performers to behold.

And if your music company changing its name from Happyface Entertainment to Dreamcatcher Company doesn’t prove that they are as real as a dream come true, I don’t know what will.

Dreamcatcher: Invitation to Nightmare City Manila was presented by MyMusicTaste.

Jesse McCartney MNL

Somewhere between Aaron Carter and Justin Bieber, there was another blonde boy who proved that nice guys definitely don’t finish last. In 2003 at sweet sixteen, Jesse McCartney may not have been expecting that he will be releasing what would arguably become his most popular song, “Beautiful Soul”. The song was featured on the soundtrack of the Disney TV show “That’s So Raven”  as well as the films “Sydney White” and “A Cinderella Story”. He even got to perform it with US Olympic Gymnast Carly Patterson on an episode of “Celebrity Duets”.

Four major studio albums and sixteen years later, Asia finally got the chance to swoon over one of the nicest yet most talented popstars, as Jesse brought his Resolution tour for a tri-city tour, making an initial stop in Vietnam. And when it was finally Manila’s turn last July 13, boy, did he make it worth the wait. Held at the New Frontier Theatre, he opened the show with a short dj set and quickly ushering into “She’s No You”, followed by “Leavin'”.

And barely halfway through the show, he made the crowd swoon even more as he picked a member of the audience who he serenaded who his own rendition of Robin Thicke’s “The Stupid Things”. And as if that wasn’t swoon-worthy enough, he followed it with “Bleeding Love” while playing the keyboards. Did you know that he co-wrore that song with Ryan Tedder? Though it didn’t make it in any of his albums so it was handed to Leona Lewis instead.

The night ended with his string of hits “Better With You”, “Shake” and closed with his latest hit “Wasted”. Or so we thought. He returned for an encore and rightfully wrapped up the night with  “Beautiful Soul”.

Lucky VIP ticketholders who won the meet&greet raffle had the chance to take a photo with Jesse post-concert. Overall, it was just a nice filled with warm smiles and awesome music. The Asian leg of the Resolution Tour wrapped up the next day, July 14 at the Gateway Theatre in Singapore. Resolution Tour would resume for the U. S. leg by September.

Jesse McCartney MNL was presented by Random Minds.

Day 6 in Manila

Just like how most K-pop concerts would go, the New Frontier Theatre (formerly known as Kia Theatre) was already flooded with Day6 fans early October 6, 2018. Fans lined up early to get a good spot within the venue as the concert had a standing crowd setup. Having been around since 2015, Day 6 is only embarking on a world tour this year. A boy band in the truest sense of the word, as members actually do play instruments aside from singing their own songs.

The concert crowd was mostly packed with a young-spirited woman. When the show started, the crowd was right away treated to a spectacular display of lights. Avid fans of the group might probably know that the first song that the band will perform would be “Man in a Movie”. But when Jae Park, Young K, Sungjin, Wonpil, and Dowoon came out on stage to perform, it turned out to be a surprise as the audience had no idea as to what will be the intro song. And as the excitement built into the night, cheers and screams only got louder.

From their song “I Smile” to “Beautiful Feeling”, the crowd sang and grooved along with the gentlemen on stage. One of the much-awaited performances of the night has got to be “Shoot Me”, and Day6 delivered. They brought to the concert stage what the fans were teased with since the beginning of the show. The audience was already swaying along when the set list finally got to another crowd favourite, “You Were Beautiful”, Jae was almost in tears when he briefly spoke that it was the first time that he wasn’t able to sing the first verse because the Filipino fans sang it beautifully, he simply had to let them sing it.

The show was supposed to have ended after “Beautiful Feeling”, but Day 6 knew that their fans will probably ask for more. So after quite a while of hearing the crowd cheer, the band came back in tees to perform “Wish”, “Freely”, and “Sing Me” for their encore.

At the end of the concert, the five of them delivered their appreciation speeches to the crowd. According to some of the band members, they did not expect that they will do well in the Philippines. However, they couldn’t be more wrong, as their fans in the Philippines were exceptional. The Filipino My Day, as their fandom is called, could not have been more enamoured.
Day 6 in Manila was brought to us by JYP Entertainment and MyMusicTaste.

Season of Gfriend in Manila

South Korean girl group Gfriend successfully held their first concert in the Philippines which took place at the Kia Theatre. Originally slated to take place last August 19th, the concert was pushed back a week due to an incident in the NAIA runway leading to several flights being canceled and delayed. Formed in 2015, the 6-member group has steadily risen in popularity despite coming from a small music label. This is the first major concert for the group which began in South Korea last January leading to an Asian tour which comprised of concerts in Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore. They capped it off with concerts from September 8-9 in Seoul as the grand finale for its ongoing Asia tour.

On the day of their Manila concert, the group held a red carpet event and presscon wherein vvip ticketholders were also able to attend. They answered a few questions from fans and posed at the photowall much to the delight of the attendees. Vvip ticketholders were also invited for the soundcheck hours before the actual concert.

On to the main event, the concert started at 7 PM, divided into several concepts or “season”. The first season was called “Glass” wherein the girls performed their songs donned in military outfits. The second season was “Flower” wherein all the girls wore sky blue colored outfits and they opened this stage with an acoustic rendition of their latest single “Sunny Summer”.

A break in between seasons, there was a solo stage instead. Each one of the girls performed solo singing some of the biggest hits by other Korean artists. SinB performed BoA’s “Number 1”, Sowon performed Sunmi’s “Gashina”, Umji performed IU’s “23”, Eunha performed Gain’s “Bloom”, Yuju performed Ailee’s “Heaven” and Yerin wrapped up the solo stage with Hyorin’s “U Go Girl”.

Their third stage was called “Awake” which may very well be a coming-out-of-age theme as they wore school girl outfits giving off a fun and youthful vibe. The fourth and final stage was called “Parallel” and this time around the girls wore colorful and stylish outfits that really suited their persona. It was quite a cheerful one as well as all of them came down to and walked around greeting the Buddies, as their fans are called, taking photos and waving hellos at them. While giving their ending speech, they said that they were surprised that the Filipino Buddies were not just doing the fan chants but actually singing loudly along to their songs. Filipinos love for karaoke really did show well as their fans really did sing along to almost every song.

And after the concert which lasted for about 3 and a half hours, Gfriend was still not done endearing themselves to the Filipino Buddies as they still held a high touch event with the vvip ticketholders. Notably absent from said high touch was SinB who injured her shoulder during the concert.

At the end of the end, one can definitely say that it was the Season of Gfriend indeed. As the fervor they showed onstage was returned with enthusiasm and warmth by the Buddies. This event was made possible by My Music Taste and Source Music.

KUYA Music Festival 2018 “Kabataang Umiindak! YES Aprub!”

During the birthday celebration of Cong. Jose Antonio “Kuya” Sy-Alvarado of the 1st district of Bulacan, a music festival was held at the Bulacan Sports Complex last Saturday January 7, 2018.

The music festival dubbed as “KUYA Music Festival 2018 “Kabataang Umiindak! YES Aprub!” aimed at encouraging youth to appreciate music which is also part of the community’s anti-drug campaign. Thus not only youth attended the gathering but also adults who support the campaign.

The music festival also featured numerous talented artists based in Bulacan, and other big names in the OPM industry. Also present in the event are equally talented DJ’s to pump up the event. The audiences enjoyed the performances from Chiquillera, Sagip Adik Foundation, White Sunday, and Lunar lights as front acts of the Music Festival.

Aside from the said acts, the music festival was highlighted by the performances from popular OPM artists such as Gracenote, Imago, Sandwich, 6cyclemind, Quest, and Autotelic which made the night even more unforgettable for Bulacenos.

Meanwhile, 6cyclemind treat the crown with another set as they went out again per request of the crowd. During that moment a fireworks display was held which made the crowd even more amazed.

To end the Kuya Music Festival 2018, DJ Cathy Frey and DJ Tom Tuazon went out to play music for the final touches of the music festival making the crowd dance along with it like they weren’t tired at all.

Who doesn’t like this kind of music festival right? Who doesn’t like a well organized and well-secured show with plenty of free tickets right?

Maybe if more politicians were able to make this kind of music festival it will be possible that this generation will appreciate OPM more and will be driven away from illegal drugs. As millennials always say these days “sana all”.

#KalyePop –1:43 puts a new twist to KPop in third album

Often mistaken for Korean pop stars, Filipino boyband 1:43 (read as “one forty-three”) has released a brand new EP #KalyePop, giving the term KPop a different dimension. The album has been released under MCA Music.

#KalyePop or KPop is our humble contribution to the rebirth of the local music industry. We hope that our new musical direction will advance our mission of winning back the Filipino audiences to Original Pilipino Music (OPM),” says the group’s spokesman Anjo Resurreccion.

According to their band manager Chris Cahilig, the idea of producing a #KalyePop for 1:43 has been in his mind since he formed the boy band in 2010 as a reaction to the young Filipino audience’s fancy for KPop music and stardom. “#KalyePop is inspired by the musical aesthetics of the everyday Juan dela Cruz on the street. We wanted a selection of songs that can be easily played with a guitar while having a drinking session or danced by the masses young and old, rich or poor in public gatherings,” explains Cahilig.

Except for the song “Ang Saya-Saya” penned by acclaimed composer Jonathan Ong of Sonic State Studio, the rest of the tracks of #KalyePop, including the hit “Hayop Sa Ganda” and the earlier promotional single “Ikaw At Ako” were composed by musician and the group’s road manager Urie Tesorio. Chris Cahilig also produced the album while Ong arranged the songs. Its neo-colonial-themed album cover was photographed by 1:43’s original and former member Kimmeth Nicolas and styled by Ryuji Shiomitsu.

The three remaining tracks of #KalyePop include the cleverly titled song “Istambay Me” which tackles about the rampancy of unemployment among Filipino youth, and the ballads “Langit” and “Pwede Bang Malaman” which carry 1:43’s signature romantic melody and lyrics.

One of the tracks of #KalyePop is now a radio hit. The song “Hayop Sa Ganda” has so far received over 330,000 views on Youtube and is considered the fastest moving OPM song on the social media site. It has brought back 1:43 to the limelight after the success of “Sa Isang Sulyap Mo,” the 2013 PMPC Star Award for Music “Song of the Year.”