Text by: Kimmy Baraoidan
The event was held last February 21 at the Henry Lee Irwin Theater in Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City. This year’s theme is “Why Coordinate,” which highlights the need to connect with others and work together toward the betterment of society. Speakers included musician, producer, and television personality Jim Paredes; Paul Rivera, founder of Kalibrr; Dr. Queena Lee-Chua, math and psychology professor at ADMU; social activist Rico La Viña; transgender male and UP student Julian Tanaka; and ADMU theology professor Dr. Roberto Guevara.
I love attending talks like this because I always have new ideas to take home with me and to chew on.
Jim Paredes, most famously known for being a member of the APO Hiking Society, shared his insights into the local music scene. His observation is that Filipino musicians are trying so hard to fit into this Western musical mold that we end up being copycats without our own identity. And he did not refer to just the current generation of musicians. He even traced it a few decades back and tried to explain why and how this culture of putting Western music on a pedestal persists.
I myself am guilty of this Western music-worshipping. I am a musician and had been in several bands in the past, none of which had attempted to actually sound ‘Filipino.’ Our songs are just a few among gazillions of songs that are trying to sound like a badass Western metal band with little or almost no Filipino flavor. A couple of mainstream foreign bands who have successfully incorporated their roots into their music that immediately come to mind would be Ill Niño and System of a Down.