Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Current Setting (2008)

Many times I've been asked about how much our local music scene has improved. Depending on which platform the question was perceived from, answers vary.

Last Saturday (Oct. 18) I watched a concert featuring Taken By Cars, Pedicab, Gasulina and our very own Powerspoonz at Paseo. With me were Rescue A Hero, Bai Nuñez (The Ambassadors) and Paul Aguilar (The Line Divides) - the latter two being the most active young leaders in our little music community today.

The question was asked again. Paul brought it up and the conversation became more interesting - I gathered my thoughts attempting to opine over tagays of beer.

This was how it went (imagine a whirlpool effect just as how movies do a flashback scene)...

The year was between 1996 and 2000. My observation was that bands were not cool yet about writing and playing originals. The crowd and event organizers didn't appreciate it so much either.

Local radio stations were unmindful of this "little music culture". Some bands dared but my guess was 1 out of 10. I suppose it wasn't worth the time for them to spend an effort on the creative process.

In 2000, Artist Dais supported the idea of a weekly gig held every Wednesday of every month. Local bands were encouraged to play more originals. It was a niche market and Midweek Sessions was born.

In attempting to achieve this goal, a special program outline was set on the last Wednesday of each month aptly called "Uncovered". It emphasizes that only original songs were allowed in this evening.

It became an exclusive engagement for local bands - an opportunity to prove something and to creatively flaunt their musical ideas.

The rule was very simple :

Bands who can play the most number of originals in a set of 6 songs in the previous weeks will get an Uncovered slot.

Meanwhile, NU107 was the hippest radio station in town believed to be the most supportive of local talents for promoting homegrown bands via regular airplay. At the first Uncovered installment (which turned out to be successful), the station's head advised me to minimize the encouragement of original songs.

The rationale, his rationale being that, and I qoute... "People are not ready yet."

Was there anyway to tell?

We succeed when we dare to fail. So I persisted and I refused to budge.

More bands surfaced and original songs, although painfully slow, started getting public acceptance and attention.

A couple of years later, Warren Tan (Squall) produced 2 albums locally distributed at limited copies adapting the title.

New recording studios were established almost every year.

So I said to Paul... "Yes. I think Cebu's music scene has improved so much."

At this point, we turned our heads to the Paseo crowd, dancing to the bands' original music. This is something that was not there before.

Last year's article

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