'Future of OPM depends on patronage'

by Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jul 04 2012 11:37 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2012 07:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The future of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) depends on whether the public still patronizes the local music industry, according to singer and OPM advocate Noel Cabangon.

Noel Cabangon. File photo

"The future of OPM artists depends on the integrity of OPM. If the people are going to patronize OPM, then there's a future for OPM artists," said Cabangon, who is also the Vice-President for External Affairs of the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mangaawit.

The effort goes two ways, however, as Filipino music can become more popular if it is in tune with what is current in the international scene.

"It's always been that way -- we pattern our music to what is internationally popular," Cabangon told ANC's "Headstart" on Wednesday.

The OPM singer cautioned, however, that "patterning" local music to international trends may mean a substantial change in its sensibilities.

"I think the sensibility now is really different given that maraming nagbago sa technology. Even if you're going to listen to the music right now, it isn't as complicated, not as melodious as compared to the 70's and 80's," Cabangon said.

The 'greats'

This is why Cabangon strives to bring "the classics" to audiences who are otherwise only exposed to "less melodious" contemporary music.

"Ako naman kasi, this is also trying to bring the old songs, the classics to the present, to the young people, to listen to it, because these are also part of our history. It is also important that they have to learn," Cabangon said.

In pursuit of this, Cabangon recently released his latest album "Tuloy ang Byahe," which features covers of classic OPM hits such as "Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka" by Basil Valdez and "Anak" by Freddie Aguilar.

Bringing a recording to fruition is only a part of the challenge, Cabangon noted. In the age of digital media, making a coherent and conceptual album spells a higher chance of selling its entirety in digital space, as opposed to selling individual tracks.

"Ang challenge would be to release a conceptual album that the market would be interested in buying," Cabangon said.

Famliarizing to younger generation

The veteran singer's latest album aims to familiarize the "greats" of Filipino music to the younger generation.

Aside from "Tuwing Umuulan" and "Anak," "Tuloy ang Byahe" also features "Kahit Na" (originally sung by Zsa Zsa Padilla), "Kailan" (Smokey Mountain), "Malayo Pa Ang Umaga" (Rey Valera), "Ikaw Lang Ang Aking Mahal" (VST & Company), "Usahay (a Visayan folk song)," "Huwag Mong Sabihin," "Sika Laeng Iti Biag," "Paano" (Dulce), "Lagi Na Lang" (Lea Navarro), "Iduyan Mo" (Basil Valdez), "Pumapatak Na Naman ang Ulan" (APO Hiking Society), "Manila" with Gloc-9 (Hotdog), "Joey's Theme (Umaga Na Naman)" and "Handog" (Florante).