Searching for “sariling atin” on our airwaves

OPM albums

Ten years ago, Filipino music was everywhere, and a wide range of it, too. There was a resurgence of alternative acts, from veterans such as Rivermaya and Bamboo, to (then) up-and-comers such as Sponge Cola and Hale. Pop acts such as MYMP, riding the acoustic wave, and Jay-R, who represented the R&B front, dominated the charts. The indie scene had groups like Up Dharma Down waving the flag. And, of course, the usual pop acts were still there. The slow rise from the beginning of the noughties, to its peak sometime around 2006 – it was, indeed, a good time for local music.

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Foreign indie acts in Manila? They don’t make much sense. Yet.

The only way to buy a Feist album here is on vinyl, and frankly, that is not right.

In the past few years we’ve seen more relatively out-of-mainstream acts perform in Manila. Gone, it seems, are the times when the only foreign artists who would stop here are 60s and 70s bands targeting baby boomers, or the obviously big pop acts. Now we’ve had visits from Grimes, the xx and Tegan and Sara. We’ve had the Wanderland Festival last April, an attempt at bringing summer festival culture to the Philippines (albeit with half of the line-up being Aussie acts with, likely, a very small following). And, of course, there were the bigger acts, like Joss Stone at Malasimbo (which has been going on for a while and has been, so far, mostly under the radar) and, last month, the Killers.

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