THE Vispop brand took a dip in 2019 and has yet to recover. The alternative contest, Vizma, even with bigger cash prizes, could not match the output of Vispop, though it cemented the status of Ferdinand Aragon (“Matag Piraso”) as the “It boy” of Bisaya pop music.
It is good that there is MinPop. I heard about the Mindanao Popular Music Festival from a Facebook posting of Jude Gitamondoc where he served as one of the resource persons in a boot camp in June last year. It aims to create a bigger platform for Mindanaoans to showcase their music to the world. The first MinPop will culminate in February 2020, but already the 10 finalists have been selected and promoted through lyric videos posted on Youtube. I must confess that I felt the same excitement in wanting to listen as I had during the release of the first set of finalists of Vispop in 2012. In general, the choices are divergent, becoming more impressive with the superior and creative music production. Well done, Ricardo Floirendo, festival chairman, and Jeremy Sarmiento, festival director.
Of the 10, I have fallen for “#Buang” by Sherwin Fugoso, “A.M.” by Mau Ria Pama and “Tethered” by Marckenny Joshua Bohol. Jewel Villaflores, best female vocal performance in Cebu Siloy Music Awards 2019, captures the essence of the song, “#Buang,” from the starting verse, “Dakong kamalas gyud nako ‘ron/Wa ko damha ‘ning pahiyom mo/Ambot ba kung makatindog pa ko karon,” and her distinctive delivery turns this into a pop gem as it goes upbeat. Mau Ria Pama must take the title as discovery of the year, with her intimate and somewhat provocative entry, “A.M.,” that ends cleverly. It’s one of those songs that you not only listen to, but also experience. Where has this guy, Marckenny, been hiding all these years? His “Tethered” should bring him to the world stage—all the elements are present: great composition, brilliant vocals and technically perfect arrangement.
Allow me to describe in one or two words the rest of the other finalists: “Bahala Na” by Crissia Jenn Kaamiño: sentimental; “Balay” by Kenneth and Adam Niel Corvera: breezy country-flavored; “Bulawan” by Miggy Ann Kaamiño: total pop; “Filters” by Sarah Faye Dulaca: classy; “Rason” by Kent Charcos: soulfully smooth; “Sabihin Mo Lang” by Crissia Jenn Kaamiño: cute; and “Sayaw” by Marvin Asis: totally cool.
Mindanao has produced some of the important names in Philippine pop music including Joey Ayala, Gary Granada, Wadab, South Border and KZ Tandingan. It is time that its new crop of music artists takes their rightful place not just in the Philippines, but also, the world.
Let us listen to MinPop.