Cheats performing in Los Angeles in 2017
OPM, or Original Pilipino Music, is a term that once referred primarily to the ballads and love songs popular in the Philippines in the 1970s and 1980s. A modern take on the harana traditions, these songs were sung mostly in Tagalog and were often tied to equally emotive films and television shows. They also served as reminders of home for many Filipino Americans, who could relatively easily get their fill picking up cassettes and video tapes from the local Filipino market.
Today, however, the OPM label is just as likely to be applied to any of the music coming out of the Philippines, from the Pinoy Rock traditions of the Eraserheads to the electronic musings of Tarsius. Filipino music has always been diverse, but in the internet age its that much easier to find yourself perusing reggaeton tracks from Iloilo and Calypso from Manila.
But are Filipino Americans, particularly those that are born here, even listening? Certainly a band like the Eraserheads can and has filled places like the Hollywood Palladium with eager Fil-Am fans, but is there a genuine audience for music from the Philippines beyond its shores?
So as part of our continuing series #TFALheartsOPM, the crew talks about music from the motherland, how we’ve connected with it, and why others may or may not be pumping these artists on their stereos.
And as a bonus, some music videos by Producer Mike’s current favorite OPM bands: