We trace the bustling music scenes of different provinces to understand the diverse musical landscape of the country.
THERE IS SO MUCH MORE MUSIC TO BE HEARD OUTSIDE
MANILA. No one is saying that we should stop supporting musicians based in this city. But we all need to recognize that “supporting local” isn’t limited to the capital’s music scene alone.
The Philippine music scene runs deep and is as elaborate as its dialects. We explored four music scenes outside of Manila through oral history from Baguio’s timeless folk musicians to the pride of Davao that is budots.
The current sound of the Philippines spans beyond the walls of ’Guijo and Mow’s. And Manila has always been a mere tip of the iceberg.
Pampanga’s rising hip-hop and hardcore scene
“Nothing is above the surface yet,” is what folk musician Ian Penn had to say about the music scene in his home province of Pampanga. Hailing from Mt. Arayat, Ian has been active in the Philippine music scene (he played a 30city tour around the country earlier this year) as well as in his province. We thought that he’d be the perfect person to ask about the current sound of Pampanga.
But unfortunately, he did not think the same. “Maybe I’m the wrong person to ask, but my answer is I don’t see a predominant genre [in Pampanga],” he confesses. “All I know is that there’s a huge wave of artists coming from Pampanga, all sorts of beautiful characters with different styles and approach to their art. There’s electronic, there’s rap, experimental, reggae, metal, folk psychedelic. It’s a huge salad.”
In Pampanga, two disparate music scenes dominate. And yet, they both represent where the future of Pampanga is headed.
“We have two music- dominant cities, Angeles and San Fernando, with dissimilar music scenes,” Profett from the Pampanga-based rap group Ghoul Gang sets the scene for us. “For Angeles, where I’m from, the scene now is more about variety and diversity in sound. The genre spectrum ranges from hip- hop to shoegaze. As for the scene in the City of San Fernando, they are focused on heavier pieces like punk and hardcore bands.”