Due to the country’s situation, the yearly tradition of having live concerts to celebrate the Buwang ng Wika was canceled. However, OPM proves to be stronger than the COVID-19 pandemic. Last July 22, a digital press conference for Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino 2021: Ituloy ang Awitan took place. Discussing the upcoming celebration of the program, the press conference was attended by National Artist and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, singer-songwriter and OPM board member Noel Cabangon, and PETA President Cecille ‘CB’ Garrucho among others.
On the exclusive Q&A portion, Village Pipol had the opportunity to ask them about the current situation of OPM in the country.
“Sa ngayon ay marami ng kabataan ang tumatangkilik sa mga banyagang musika. Ano po ang maaaring makapagpabago o maaring makapagbukas muli ng pagtangkilik sa sariling musika natin sa pamamagitan ng LMP program?”
(Nowadays, most of the youth enjoy the music of international artists. What can the LMP program can offer to change it or make them love our own music again?)
The Maestro expressed how excited he was at the question. He answered that he puts his confidence and trust in OPM. He also said that even before this phenomenon happened, he already liked international music. However, as an OPM artist, he states:
“…mula noon hanggang ngayon, wala kaming ibang ginawa kung hindi makipagkompetensya. Kasi hindi naman natin pwedeng sabihin na ‘Ay tiklop na tayo diyan dahil magagaling sila’.”
(… from then until now, we did nothing but compete. Because we cannot say that ‘Oh, we’re nothing compared to them.’)
Additionally, he said that having that kind of mindset is wrong. Other artists being great is not an excuse to not compete with them. Maestro claimed that he and Noel influenced other artists with the mindset of competing head-on. He advised that we should not think that we already lost against the other music.
“Kasi mayroon tayong atin, na wala sila. Meron! Kaya ngayon inuungkat namin iyong atin na hindi nila makukuha, ever.”
(Because we have something that they do not have. So that is why we relive our own that no one can have, ever.)
Meanwhile, about the LMP program, Maestro said that this yearly celebration is effective for the whole year. That the program highlights the original Filipino music.
Anyway, Mr. C assured us:
“Hayaan niyo, gumagawa kami ng paraan. Nakikipagkompetensya kami. Babalik at babalik din sa atin yan.”
(Don’t worry, we are making a way. We compete. It [love for the OPM] will go back to us in no time.)
Moreover, Noel Cabangon gave us another meaningful answer.
He stated that this program will serve as an instrument for Filipinos to embrace our own music. Just as Philpop 2020 did where they held an event about composing songs in different dialects. Songs with Bisaya lyrics, Ilokano, Ilongo, and other local languages were featured. Therefore, this program also showcases that Filipino music is as diverse as other international music.
Similar to what Philpop did, Mr. C and Noel persuaded artists from North Luzon to create songs with their own dialect. And in this way, our music will continue to live.
“Kasi ang musikang Pilipino, ito po ang nagkukuwento ng buhay ng ating kultura, ng ating sibilidad bilang Pilipino. Kaya pinag iigting po namin ito.”
(Because our Filipino music tells the story of our culture, our civilization as a Filipino. That is why we are continuously strengthening it.)
LMP has a one-week celebration that serves as an umbrella, aiming to instill in Filipino’s minds and hearts that we need to love and embrace our own.
Cecille ‘CB’ Garrucho supported what Maestro mentioned before regarding Filipino music that has something that you really can’t find anywhere else.
She gave the first-ever premier of Rak of Aegis’ as an example. A lot of big musical broadways were also held that time but Rak of Aegis lasted for seven seasons.
“Bakit? Dahil may Pinoy na Pinoy na essence ang Rak of Aegis na hindi nila mahahanap sa broadway.
(Why? Because Rak of Aegis has this real Filipino essence that no one can find in broadways.)
There were also a huge number of viewers from Singapore and Dubai that attended the Pinoy musical. A lot of them watched over and over, season after season.
To conclude this question and answer part, the LMP program and the people behind it will go all out. They will continue to encourage Filipinos to open up their hearts and continue their love for OPM. And, with the goal to make the whole country sing our own music in the future, we must take our part.
We can entertain other foreign music. But, let us not forget the music that screams the pride of Filipinos, the OPM. Pinoy, embrace what is ours and ituloy natin ang awitan!
May Ann Lorio Leanillo is a Journalism Student from Cavite State University. She loves writing but is still learning and exploring the world of pen and paper. Watching action movies, mystery, fiction, and fantasy genres is what she enjoys the most in her free time. Believes that hard work and determination works over skills.