THESE ARE uncertain times with a pandemic wreaking havoc on people’s health and the country’s (and the world’s) economy, but uncertain times notwithstanding, Filipinos will do what they are best at doing: adapt and endure. The same goes for the music industry which at first was halted by one of the longest lockdowns in the world as it is an industry that thrives in front of a live audience, but it has since adapted and re-programmed to be visible digitally.
And that’s what Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino (Philippine Music Week) is doing this year as the six-year-old music festival celebrating Original Pilipino Music is going digital from Aug. 22 to 28 via the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) Facebook page.
“We’re actually very excited for this festival because it’s online… more people wanted to join this time. We are not bound by schedules and traffic like before,” Christian Bautista, singer, board member, and lead convenor of Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino 2020, said during a press conference on Aug. 19 via Zoom.
Mr. Bautista also noted that many performers joined this year’s festival because many singers are out of work and the festival will help them get exposure and be discovered and some will be getting “some honorarium.”
The festival normally held in the last week of July but it was forced to move to a later date because of lockdown. But this worked in the organizers’ favor as August is also the Buwan ng Wikang Pilipino (Filipino Language Month).
This year’s festival revolves around the theme “Musikang Pinoy. Buhay at Ipagpatuloy” (Filipino Music. Alive and Continuing), and will feature a variety of performances including a spotlight on regional music acts from North and South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The festival will also be holding several music workshops and webinars including a songwriting workshop by Ebe Dancel and Jazz Nicolas and one on the history of Filipino music by National Artist Raymundo “Ryan” Cayabyab.
The festival will also be launching the OPM Archive on Aug. 26 and throughout the week there will be busking sessions, album and single launches, and an open mic night.
The Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino will conclude with a grand concert on Aug. 28, with performances by the Itchyworms (which just launched its fifth studio album this week), Christian Bautista, Noel Cabangon, Bayang Barrios at ang Nilayagan, among many others.
Asked about the importance of music in a pandemic, Mr. Cabangon, who is the festival director, said “singers and performers are frontliners too.”
“[I]n a lot of fundraisers, music is at the center. So Filipino music is very important because it brings with it our experiences, our language, our sensibilities, our consciousness, and our feelings,” Mr. Cabangon said in Filipino at the press conference.
The Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino runs from Aug. 22 to 28 at the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PinoySingers/).
For the full schedule, visit the website at https://www.lmp.com.ph/ and the Facebook page. — Zsarlene B. Chua