APO forever

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda -

One of the most dramatic musical developments of the ’70s was the birth of Original Pilipino Music (OPM), a life-changing concept and vision for musical reforms that resulted from the local artists’ concerted demand for equality and fairness and recognition amid the dominance of foreign music in the industry.

Foreign songs belted out by some of the hottest singers and groups were lording it over the local music industry. There were non-stop airplays of top hits from the American Top 40 Hits in leading radio stations, while airplays for local songs were few and far between. There was also a dearth of indigenous songs by homegrown artists and talents in radio programs.

This musical void was quickly filled by the spectacular rise of a stream of home-grown artists and musicians, such as the Hot Dog, Hagibis, The Boy Friends, VST & Company, The Circus Band, The New Minstrels, and many others.

Easily among the most exciting groups then was the APO Hiking Society, a bunch of young, talented, fresh-from-college singers attracting a lot of fans from Ateneo de Manila and nearby schools because of the refreshingly new, unique and engaging style of their songs and humor.

Three decades since the advent of OPM, the APO has remained one of the country’s most enduring and most popular groups. The APO will share with its legions of fans its 38 glorious years in the entertainment industry via a major concert on Aug. 10, 8 p.m., at the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

Billed as Mga Kwento Ng APO: 38 Years of Music & Friendship, the musical event will pay tribute to the achievements of three talented and versatile artists and performers whose bond of friendship and love for music made it one of the most acclaimed groups during a phenomenal career that spans almost 40 years.

The APO’s musical career started in the early ‘70s when four young, fresh-from-college amateur musicians formed a singing group dubbed as Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society and began attracting fans.

The APO first gained recognition in 1973 when it performed at a “farewell” concert at the Meralco Theater following the planned retirement of some of its members from the field of amateur music to either study abroad or join the corporate world. The show became a huge success when it drew an SRO crowd in spite of the stormy weather (the first time the group had a citywide audience), and the APO, now reduced to a trio, pushed on steadily towards its date with fame and fortune.

More than three decades since that “farewell” concert, the trio of Jim Paredes, Danny Javier and Buboy Garrovillo has emerged as among the country’s finest crops of entertainers acclaimed for its brilliant achievements as composers, singers, performers and recording artists. At a time when American Top 40 music was dominating local radio, the APO set the trend for OPM as it wrote and recorded a series of pop hits with distinctly Filipino mood and outlook, such as Mahirap Magmahal ng Syota Ng Iba, Pumapatak Na Naman Ang Ulan, Nakapagtataka, Salawikain and Doobidoo.

As hosts and performers in several top-rating TV shows, the group reached tens of millions of Filipino homes, especially through its own noontime Sunday variety program, Sa Linggo nAPO Sila, which ultimately evolved into a hit noontime daily show, Sang Linggo nAPO Sila.

In October, 1987, during its annual US tour, the APO became the first Filipino pop artists to sing at the Main Hall of New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall and at the Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada’s music capital, both shows at which were officially sold out. It was also the first Filipino group to perform in a public concert in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During the same year, it earned the distinction of becoming the first Filipino group to be recorded on compact disc. To-date, it has waxed a total of 22 record albums.

The group won international recognition for Jim Paredes’ anthem on the 1986 People Power Revolution, Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo, which was recorded by 15 Filipino artists in April 1986. Its English version, A New And Better Way, was launched in Australia a few months later, followed by its release in London in February, 1987 on the occasion of the first anniversary of the People Power Revolution.

The APO received numerous awards and prizes, including the first Dangal ng Musikang Pilipino in 1994 from Awit Awards, the Filipino equivalent of the Grammy Awards.

Tickets are priced at P3,000, P2,000, P1,200 and P500 and available at selected major National Book Store branches, selected major Robinsons Department Stores, Music One (Makati/Alabang), Ayala Malls (Greenbelt 1/Glorietta 1), Ticketworld office and Ticketworld website at: www.ticketworld.com.ph. For reservations and inquiries, call Ticketworld at 891-9999. Major sponsors are Oishi, San Miguel Corp., Petron, Smart, Liveraide Silymarin Capsule and Arthro.








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