The Creation of Pinoy Rock

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Of all the countries in the Asia and Oceania regions, the Philippines have had one of the most war-torn and bloody histories. After three hundred years of Spanish rule, and half a century in American rule one does not find the original Philippine culture but instead a new culture, with new customs, religions and music. Instead of finding their traditional native instruments there are now "guitars and other string instruments, brass instruments and a few remaining harps and flutes, also of Western origin." (Maceda vii) That is not to say that all native music has been lost, the indigenous music culture has been preserved by small isolated tribes, but they represent less than ten percent of the Filipino population. Although much indigenous music was nearly washed out because of centuries under colonial rule, the “emotion and passion of the Filipino spirit in their music is still evident.” (O’ Brein 12) How is it that over ninety percent of a country has forgotten its native music and how integral it used to play a part in their ancient culture? The first and primary issue is that the country had been divided until Spanish rule; Over 180 native languages and dialects are spoken in the Philippines, proof of the diversity of the native Filipinos. (Maceda xi) Because of the many different tribes in the Philippines the Spanish fought for many years to unite them under their rule and in the process forced their style of music on to the Philippines which eventually took over the native music. The introduction of the television and radio by the United States acted as the final factor in the permanent status of Western style music in the Philippines. Corazon Canave-Dioquino, in her article “Philippine Music, A Historical Overview,” separates the history of Filipino music into three traditions: Indigenous, Spanish-European Influenced, and American Influenced. This paper will discuss how the Filipinos used westernized music to invent their own style of rock n’ roll called Pinoy rock, which has become internationally acclaimed genre. Some of the artists have even won awards in the United States. (MTV) Nowadays Filipinos turn to music typically for leisure. Most social gatherings involve a guitarist while the others sing along to either popular American or Filipino songs. Karaoke has become an integral part of the Philippine culture. The television stations there more than illustrate this: At any given moment, one can watch either a vocal competition or a variety show where Filipinos sing current American hits. One show, called Pinoy Pop Star is the Filipino version of American Idol, but it uses mostly American tunes. Also, there is an increase in the number of Filipino singers immigrating to Japan other countries in Asia to spread their music there. Because of their skills of mimicking American popular music, Filipino musicians are wanted out all over Asia (Maceda 133). This tradition of “copying” or using westernized genres stems from the arrival Spanish and the subsequent colonization of the Philippine Islands. A popular and successful American rock band named Journey, after losing their lead singer, held a worldwide competition to find a new one and a young man from the Philippines won and now currently tours with the band. In order to determine how Pinoy Rock became what it is today, we must first discuss the indigenous Filipino music as its roots show how the Filipinos were able to adapt to Western music so easily. The Philippines is an archipelago composed of 7,117 islands located in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. (Igncaio, 14) The original settlers of the Philippines were said to be nomadic migrating people, and since then many other nationalities migrated to there. Because of its scattered geography the inhabitants of the land have also been scattered, creating many different and unique cultures. Each one of those cultures has created a unique style of music personal to their customs and lifestyles. To sum up...
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