DOCUMENTARY FILM 1
Sa Madaling Salita, OPM!
Ang Himig Pilipino sa Dekada Sitenta
UP College of Music, EPAPC Scholar-Consultant
Running time: around 70 minutes
Languages: English and Filipino with subtitles in English
Launched: March 29, 2019
Sa Madaling Salita is about the production of studio-recorded music in the Philippines during the 1970s. It takes a look into the relationship between the music industry and the various media organizations and institutional networks, with emphasis on the multiple viewpoints from below such as those by music makers themselves: singers, songwriters, arrangers, session musicians, radio DJs, industry managers, and fans.
What is it that makes OPM the music of the Filipino people of the 1970s? How have the technology, social constructions and beliefs influenced the sounds that were recorded and spread throughout society? How did various human agencies move ideals, tastes and standards to affect listeners? What were the sounds that shaped and were shaped by the everyday cultures of Pinoys?
Playing an instrument, performing for an audience, writing out lyrics or jamming with friends are each remarkable activities of musicking. Placing a song on a record takes music-making on a different platform of building an identity, which in different ways, brings the effects of repetition to a people’s consciousness. In this film, we see the 1970s in the Philippine recording industry in a multitude of lenses. A music fan browses through his LP collection and memorabilia of tickets to concerts he attended. A musician relives his prolific session work at a leading recording studio at this time when eight to sixteen track setups surged and allowed new sonic practices to become norms. A recording artist shares her own involvement in conceptualising an album, bringing to recorded songs stages of her womanhood. Born outside Manila, one shares of how it was being a stranger penetrating through the main language of the industry. Singer-songwriters share their process of thinking with poetry, melodies, grooves and progression, bringing out their streams of creativity against the scene of what Manila was. A radio DJ acknowledges both the listeners’ and his own rhythmic feel and taste when placing probable hit songs on-air; regardless of what payola was. A promotions manager shares the ways and ideas to bring to the top his record company’s artists. A music arranger speaks of the elements and tricks of becoming an in-demand music labourer. A production insider talks of what was not seen by the public, of what he believes should truly be known by more. A chordbook magazine owner takes fans of music beyond the confines of just lyrics, chords, and learning how to play the guitar.
Industry makers, product creators, local music ideologies, government politics, cultural policies, pop culture, media and technology are all that molded this spirit of Filipino music-making in the world of the recording industry in the 1970s. These ideas sprung up through the agency of the people in the world of recorded Philippine music, and it all crafted what was born then and is still known today as OPM (Original Pilipino Music).