Philpop unveils 2013 finalists
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - May 3, 2013 - 12:00am

The list is out. Here are the composers and their songs, one of whom will be a million bucks richer after the finals night of the Philippine Popular Music Festival (Philpop) 2013 on July 6. These are the cream of the crop, the best from among 3,383 submitted entries which this year came from the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Germany, China, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Australia, Canada, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, United Kingdom, Thailand, Macau and the Philippines.

I do not know what impact these songs will have on the local music industry. I do not know if big hits will emerge or if we will see the rise of future classics. Still, it gladdens the heart to know that the efforts of the people behind Philpop have resulted in an outpouring of creativity. I know a million bucks or even half that amount is an excellent incentive and more than enough to get even the most indolent composer off his butt and working. But creativity can be contagious and with Philpop revving up the engines of the local music industry every year, there is hope for Filipino music still.

And here they are: Segundo by Paul Armesin, a songwriter, arranger and producer for Musikatha; Araw, Ulap, Langit by Marlon Barnuevo, an industrial and packaging designer who teaches at the College of St. Benilde; Pansamantagal by music industry veteran, radio and TV host Jungee Marcelo; Kung ‘di Man by YouTube star Johnoy Danao; Space by Raffy Calicdan of the boy band Take Off, formerly Voyz Avenue of the reality TV talent search X Factor; Askal by Gani Brown, a grandfather and well-known music star in Mindanao.

Sana Pinatay Mo Na Lang Ako by young, fast-rising pop star Myrus Apacible; Sometimes That Happens by the lovely wife, mother, singer and writer Adrienne Sarmiento Buenaventura; Do, Do, Do by Ateneo Management graduate Marion Aunor, who is the niece of the great Nora Aunor; Dati by Philpop 2012 finalist for Himig Ng Panahon Thyro Alfaro and Yumi Lacsamana; Sa ‘Yo Na Lang Ako by the pretty Opera Belle and University of the Philippines music student Lara Maigue; and Papel by Filipino ethnic music specialist Joel Ayala, who performed Piso in last year’s competition.

Take note that the majority of entries are what the industry would classify as crowd-pleasing novelty tunes. Generally upbeat, rock or pop, the main appeal of this type of song is in the lyrics, which could be either funny or satirical and always with easy recall. The rest are the love songs, which are mainly slow ballads ranging from R&B to pop acoustic. We will now await the names of the lucky artists who will get the chance to interpret these songs in the commemorative album and the final contest.

But no matter who they are, Philpop Musicfest Foundation executive director Ryan Cayabyab assures us of an exciting finish. “We are looking forward to again stage the biggest and most illustrious songwriting competition in Philippine history,” he promises.

Still on the local music scene. The Solaire Resort and Casino is hosting the second Tokyo Manila Jazz and Arts Festival (TMJAF). Launched last year in Tokyo, this was envisioned as a way to promote cultural exchange between Japan and the Philippines. Now to be held in the Philippines, the TMJAF will see the biggest assembly of Japanese and Filipino jazz artists get together to celebrate 80 years of music and cultural connections. This will be held from Wednesday, May 8 to Saturday, May 11.

The festival is also a platform that provides exposure for young talented jazz musicians of both countries, among them the scholars of the TMJAP Scholarship Funds for Young Musicians’ Education. It also aims to raise funds for the Kaugmaon Para Sa Mindanao, a private volunteers movement composed of companies, LGUs, universities, NGOs and concerned citizens of Mindanao. The KPM’s objectives include reforestation, the protection of watersheds and the promotion of renewable and sustainable technologies for the people of Mindanao.

Set to perform from Manila are Charito, the AMP Big Band, Noel Cabangon, Marites Salientes, Jeannie Tiongco, the Youth Symphony Orchestra, Arthur Manuntag, Myra “Skarlet” Ruaro, Michael Alba, Colby dela Calzada and Michael Guevarra. Arriving guests from Tokyo will be Makoto Ozone, Kengo Nakamura, Yuki Arimasa, Yushio Suzuki, Hiroshi Murakami and the Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio. Also joining the Festival will be American drummer Gene Jackson.

One of the highlights of the event will be a workshop for young artists that will be held at the Solaire Ballroom on May 11. Check out the website, for details of this and other activities. Tickets are available at or you may call 891-9999 or Radio High 105.9FM at 706-1580.

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