Supporting Our Locals

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Friday, July 11, 2014


By Ching Pangilinan
Culturati

RECENTLY, I received a lot of queries about my involvement in the underground music scene in Pampanga. Personally, I prefer referring to it as the local scene instead of the underground since the latter word often connotes a negative meaning. For a long time I have been typecasted as an academician if not a geek, but people who are close to me know that I have a side to me that is punk, rooted in a passion for the arts and music and a family that is very much into music and supportive of the local scene. Local scene here includes independently produced, do-it-yourself, “self-funded businesses, musicians, bands, instructors, writers, photographers, designers, recording studios, artists”, among the like.

My eldest brother Jaybee loves new wave music and is very much a child of the 80s. He used to be the head of the cadet combo at the Philippine Military Academy during his senior year and his drumming prowess never fails to surprise people when they see beyond the gentleman and officer. My second brother Jude is a buzz word among punks in Pampanga, he even has a song named after him by Kapampangan punk rock band Holy Cow. Aside from being a visual artist, he used to be the vocalist of bands such as Land of the Witch and Rattle Pack, and the farthest he got in his music career was being featured at the now defunct NU 107 radio station.

Our first cousin Francis has been active in the local underground music scene for more than twenty years now. His band Istukas Over Disneyland recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and released a split LP with French band La Theorie de Buxon in Europe. He also put out his own fan magazines, produces cds and recordings of other local bands, and organizes gigs of local and foreign bands. He is quite well known and well-respected among members of the punk and hardcore community in the Philippines and internationally.

Among the next generation in our family, my nephew Bret who plays the bass guitar and drums has been in several bands since his high school days and his latest band project Praying for Estella is active in the Baguio scene and at UP Baguio. He also has an independent clothing line named Boar Brand Clothing, which is gaining quite a following among the college crowd. My niece Lia has also ventured into band performances, though not as successful and sustained as Bret, but her passion for music and the diversity of her knowledge on bands and other musical acts is impressive. My two younger nephews Jaz and Jae are now going through a band phase in their adolescent lives but are bordering on the emo, more than anything.

The latest addition in our family, my daughter Sunis, started listening to classical music in my womb when I used to attach earphones to my pregnant belly for her to listen to. I guess this gamble paid off since she appreciates different musical genres, ranging from classical to punk rock, and counts the cellist Yoyo Ma, the Ramones, Holy Cow and emerging indie rock band Brisom among her favorites at the age of two.

Our family background contributed greatly to an intense involvement and support for the local scene. As a family, we support our locals by attending or organizing gigs and shows, producing and publishing fanzines, hosting visiting bands, buying homemade art pieces and band merchandise, and supporting local produce from our community’s farmers. We also try to grow our own vegetables and fruits at home as much as we can, and our dad still plants rice for our family’s consumption.

My day job and writing also helps me promote our local scene through public and private partnerships that harness local talents and discover community-based products and services. Supporting our locals also paves way to a deeper sense of patriotic duty and pride of place. We become more aware and more appreciative of what we have and what we are capable of as individuals and as a part of community.

Support our locals, all the way!

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 12, 2014.

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