23 April 2016, 9:10 pm – THREE Filipino musicians on Wednesday shared their thoughts on
contemporary songwriting and the OPM (Original Pilipino Music) scene at the
Civil Law Auditorium.

The roundtable discussion, titled “Titik and Himig: Philippine
Contemporary Songwriting and OPM,” featured three prominent personalities in
the Philippine music industry: Ely Buendia of Eraserheads, Ebe Dancel of
Sugarfree and Lourd de Veyra of Radioactive Sago Project. 

In her opening remarks, Prof. Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, director
of the Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies, said the music scene
was one of the more dynamic avenues for writers. “Some writers do earn a living
from their writing and even become celebrities, with tons of fans,” she

De Veyra, a UST journalism alumnus, urged aspiring song writers
to imitate, integrate and innovate. “You are a sum total of everything
that you listen to, subconsciously man or hindi. Tapos `yung integration,
pinapasok mo sa diwa mo `yun tapos pupunta ka dun sa ikatlong ‘I,’ `yung
innovation. So may lalabas na bagong tunog du’n sa ginagawa mo,” de Veyra

In response to a question on how to make one’s music last,
Buendia said songwriters and musicians should refrain from being too topical in
their music. “Base sa pag-enjoy ko ng music and art for the past 45 years,
timelessness would constitute not being too topical if you really want to
achieve [something] that will [last] for generations to come,” he said. 

Dancel said writers should practice sincerity and always have a
story in the works. “I think I owe it to myself and to my fans to be sincere
always. I never underestimate my audience. Always have a point, always have a
message, always have a story. How do you become sincere? You write from where
you are,” he said.

Filipinos have a responsibility to keep the music industry alive
amid changes brought about by the digital age, Buendia said. “Kanya-kanya tayo
ng responsibility to keep our music industry alive, not that it has to be
alive. There is such a thing as a natural death, maybe that’s not such a bad
thing kasi nagkaroon ng paradigm shift nu’ng nagkaroon ng digital age and the
way people consume and appreciate media, art and music,” he said. 

De Veyra encouraged music lovers to support their favorite
artists and called on the government to support other music genres. “Hindi
`yung minimina mo `yung katutubo, kung hindi `yung kombinasyon ng katutubo at
bago na tunog. `Yun sana ang mas mabigyan ng pagkakataon at `yung gobyerno sana
mas kumuha ng maraming programa at pagkakataon at mailapit at magkaroon ng
programa para sa mga hindi masyadong mainstream na musika,” he said. 

Dancel cited the South Korean government’s financial support for
its music industry. “Ultimately, they succeed because they have a nation behind
them,” he said.  

The forum was the latest installment in the “Ustingan” series,
an informal gathering for students, teachers and literary enthusiasts to
discuss topics such as writing, publishing and popular culture. Cedric
Allen P. Sta. Cruz


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