Tunog Natin

An OPM crusade
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

Tunog Natin, a concert series featuring a number of the most distinguished, along with the most promising names, in the local music scene was staged initially at the Ayala Triangle Gardens to lobby public support for the dwindling Original Pilipino Music (OPM). The next leg unfolded at the Avida Centera Tower grounds in Mandaluyong City very recently.
Presented by real estate developer Avida Land Corp., Tunog Natin is a call to revive the Filipino’s musical interest for homegrown artists and locally-produced records. It is a series of concerts that Avida will stage in key locations around Metro Manila in line with its upcoming milestone events and project launches.
“The idealism is back because of the dynamism and energy of young blood. It’s actually difficult to pinpoint what’s the original Pinoy sound because we have an international soul already and that’s what makes us acceptable in the global market. You can’t put down talent. Given the right training and support, Pinoy artists can compete and be at par with all other international artists globally. All that’s needed is a reorientation of the Filipino music’s audience,” declared veteran multi-media artist Mitch Valdez, chairman of the board for Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit.
The Ayala concert coincided with the launch date of the second phase of Avida Towers San Lorenzo, the company’s latest offering in Makati. The Tunog Natin concert became part of Makati City’s “Colors of Freedom” celebration.
At the head of the performers’ roster was singer-songwiter and Apo Hiking Society stalwart Jim Paredes, whose work from the ‘80s featured recordings and compositions that are considered classics. Then there’s True Faith, whose music has grown even more unforgettable since they began in the ‘90s with their blend of New Wave, easy listening, middle-of-the-road, and pop to create an OPM sound that’s truly their own. Aside from Pop Prince and balladeer Myrus, True Faith was the only other act to be part of the series’ second leg.
Myrus, who is also the project head of the concert series, said that the concert series seeks to revive interest for OPM and assure the future of both the artist and Filipino music’s extensive genre.
“No less than the future of OPM is at stake in this campaign. It would be such a loss to our cultural heritage if we do not fight the bandwagon trend and just allow original Pinoy music to die out. It’s also in the best interest of Filipino musicians, especially the young up-and-coming artists, for OPM to continuously thrive. Our future as musical artists, and purveyors of Philippine musical culture, depends on it,” explained Myrus.
“Every leg of Tunog Natin offers something different throughout the series. That way, we can experience the richness of Pinoy music. Whether they are younger acts or established veterans, they are simply the best in their respective genres,” he added.
Established performers like bossa nova queen Sitti, the sweet-voiced pioneer of the sound revival in 2009, graced the show. Also featured were alternative rock bands Callalily, 6Cyclemind and Pedicab, whose music continues to define and evolve the Pinoy rock genre. They were joined by Princess Velasco and Sabrina, two of the best-selling acoustic artists today.
“After the band breakout, OPM has been okay for a couple of years now. But OPM shouldn’t be a fad ‘coz it’s who we are. Aside from television and mass media that’s putting a strain on Pinoy sound, it’s actually more expensive to do Pinoy covers than with a foreign song. Perhaps that’s the reason why some Pinoy artists would opt to do foreign covers. This campaign is worth all the trouble in continuing the fight. OPM may have evolved from its sound before but the heart’s still there,” intoned child wonder turned singer-actress Aiza Seguera.
Up and coming superstars were also part of the show; with the likes of groundbreaking boy-band 1:43 (One Forty-Three), multi-awarded R&B artist Arnee Hidalgo and acoustic act Aries Sales. The artists only performed OPM compositions in their repertoire.
Event presenter Avida Land is supporting the project as this contributes to the preservation and development of the Filipino culture in general; and of original Pilipino music in particular. “OPM represents the best music that we can share with one another and offer to the rest of the world. Life for a true-blue Pinoy is simply unimaginable without it. Over the years, since the 1980s, OPM has evolved with our culture and has been passed on to the younger generations. It is a source of pride as well as inspiration for a lot of Filipinos. We welcome all those who have a passionate and abiding love for OPM to be one with us in this campaign,” enthused Tet Tatco, marketing manager of Avida Land Corp.
Filipino audiophiles are urged to help bring new life to OPM and save the heritage and legacy of Filipino musicians by attending the free concerts. The series will not only showcase the beauty and creativity of Pinoy music but also preserve and promote OPM for generations to come.
Tunog Natin is not only a great time for reminiscing over classic favorites but also our chance to watch the next generation of performers take OPM to newer heights and thrilling dimensions; as the rock group Tanya Markova does. Best of all, we will all be helping continue OPM’s legacy unto the far, far future of sound space.

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