Pinoy music in the new normal: More inclusive, diverse

Ryan Cayabyab

If there’s one good thing about the quarantine is that it has given many musicians, including Ryan Cayabyab and Noel Cabangon, more time to express artistry.

Saying he is super “inspired” these days with his craft, Ryan revealed he has written nine songs during the pandemic.

"That does not happen often to me. I usually write one song in two years or three years. Alam niyo, hindi ko dati hinahabol and inspiration, pero ito talaga (na panahon ng pandemic), pasok ng pasok ng libre," he said in a conference that included Bulletin Entertainment.

Noel couldn't agree more. He wrote an Ilocano song and another about the lockdown.

"Artists are more creative these days,” he said.

Still, there are those whose anxiety over the situation cripples them to create work. What to do?

Well, Ryan said to not force it.

"No matter how hard I have tried and used all the discipline I imbibed in college as a musician, kapag ka tumigil 'yung iyong tap, hayaan mo muna siya," he shared. "Mag-iigib ka muna ulit ng bagong tubig bago mo siya mabubuksan."

To clear his head, he goes out of the house or if that’s not possible, does things completely unrelated to music. Should inspiration strike then, Ryan whips out phone to record his musical ideas.

Noel Cabangon

New normal

This year's PhilPop Music Festival will continue under the theme "Breaking Borders."

According to Ryan and Noel, who are both festival co-chairs and PhilPop Music Festival Foundation Board Members, PhilPop 2020 Songwriting Festival will be different from previous years. This time, they’re committed to highlight diversity of music from different parts of the country through clustered semi-finals round.

Songwriters submitted entries based on their origin or residence. Each cluster will be represented by three songwriters. The Top 15 will be recorded by the Warner Music Philippines. Finals night is on Nov. 14.

Ryan reiterated they aim to break borders internationally too. He advises songwriters to write in the way they want to express themselves.

"We have been trying to convince everybody to write in their own language or dialect. This is because we think each language has its own inflection. So it will naturally decide also the melodies they will create," he pointed out.

"Imagine if you use your natural language of expression, you are able to contribute more to the national literature, of music literature of the Philippines so mas nagiging unique 'yung tunog, mas nagiging interesting."

Noel said they wanted to “democratize” the competition. 

"Rather than concentrating sa National Capital Region, we want to recognize good songwriters from the different regions of the country," he said. "Sometimes kasi 'pag nasa province ka, you feel inferior to people na nasa Metro Manila. So to encourage these talented songwriters, we are giving them this opportunity."

Pandemic or not, Ryan said there’s no denying the immense power of music. 

"Of all the art forms, music has a superior ability to cut across language, race, income barrier, bring people together, and express cultural identity," he said.

"Gusto namin ipahatid na ang musikang Filipino ay hindi po natutulog sa harap ng pandemya na ating kinalalagyan sa ngayon. Bagkus, nais din namin magsiwalat ng virus, pero ito po ay creative virus. Hindi para puksain ang paglikha ng musika, kundi para lalong hikayatin ang mga manlilikha na sa panahong ito ay nariyan lang sa tabi-tabi ang mga muses."