JUST A THOUGHT: “You can’t eat applause for breakfast. You can’t sleep with it.” — Bob Dylan
THE SEVENTIES: It was a time when Original Pilipino Music (OPM) boomed, banged, and bloomed, thanks to a presidential executive order that required mandatory airplay of Filipino songs (four songs every hour) on all radio stations nationwide.
Singers like Rico Puno, Celeste Legaspi, Kuh Ledesma, Anthony Castelo, Didith Reyes, Imelda Papin, Hajji Alejandro, Hot Dog, VST & Company, Cinderella, The Apo, flooded the country with hit songs one after the other. Theirs was known collectively as Manila Sound.
“Mamang Sorbetero.” “Dito Ba.” “Balatkayo.” “Bakit.” “Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musika.” “Bongga Ka ‘Day.” “Pers Lab.”
These are just some of the anthemic hits of that era, considered a more contemporary golden age in Philippine music.
PRESERVING OPM LEGACY: Efforts to preserve the legacy of that historic period (and beyond) in OPM are being made by a team of artistically inclined creatives, made up of Celeste Legaspi, Moy Ortiz, Girlie Rodis and Tats Manahan.
First step is the planned opening of an OPM Archive at the Filipinas Heritage Library of the Ayala Museum in Makati.
The opening of the museum has been pushed back by the ongoing quarantine, however.
Celeste says the idea of setting up an OPM archive meant to keep the memory of a more contemporary golden age of Philippine music alive is very important to her.
“Perhaps, this feeling is driven too with the declaration of Ryan as National Artist for Music. That here in his award the excellence of the period is recognized by the country.’’
PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEMORIES: Celeste says today is the most opportune time to document this gift that our country has unselfishly given us, the OPM Years from the 70’s to the present. It had been a formidable time for original Pilipino music, she muses.
She then calls on fellow singers and musicians of the period to look into their files and personal collections and set aside materials for the archive.
They may take photographs of the memento, provide a short anecdote about it, identifying the personalities involved.
The following items are ideal for the archive: Photographs, posters, music scores, scripts, magazines, album/ CD covers, press releases, reviews of shows/albums, recordings.
The OPM Archive Team also welcomes any other item artists may consider vital in providing a full picture of the Pilipino music scene from the 60’s onwards. Already up is the OPM Archive Facebook Page, designed as a forum of ideas.
Celeste laments that unfortunately, due to lack of space, the Heritage Library will not be able to store costumes or trophies.
The OPM Archive Team dreams of holding an OPM exhibit and possibly a concert during the grand Archive opening.
FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS: The museum is seen as a testament for future generations of Filipinos so that they may know that once upon a time, there was this golden era of Original Pilipino Music.
On a personal note, Celeste posted on Facebook: “The 1970’s will always be the most memorable years of my life. I was 20. I just graduated from college. Then I met Nonoy. Soon after I was a brand-new wife; a mother by the end of 1972, afraid of martial law, then .. to my surprise a singer on TV by 1977.
“I was working with Pilita Corrales, Carmen Pateña, Carmen Soriano, Rico J, Basil , Leah, Mr. C. Such a whirlwind .. the 70’s was.’’
SINGERS ASSOCIATION: The idea of putting up Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) started in the mid-1980s when a group of friends, singers all, were singing Christmas carols.
The singers, including Celeste and Danny Javier, were gathered in the home of Ryan Cayabyab. They were all jobless at the time.
Word got around, so that the group got invited to perform in Christmas parties at the houses of the rich, key areas in Makati, and even the US Embassy.
“That experience showed us that together we could achieve great things,’’ says Celeste.
It was then they hatched a plan to put up a singers’ association. Celeste became its first president.
Members of the Organisasyon are enjoined to contribute in the setting up of OPM Archive.
Photographs may be sent to [email protected].