THE Free Mel Show, for the second year in a row declared June as Philippine Music Month with the mission of encouraging all stakeholders in the Philippine music industry to push for a bill declaring June as Philippine Music Month. If it’ll ever happen, the month-long celebration will have music festivals, radio airplay, school and bar gigs, symposia and fundraising drives to support musicians. This could be done with the cooperation of OPM, KBP and government agencies, as well as other musician groups in an effort to promote Philippine music and address the plight of Filipino musicians.
In our little way, our FB group featured patriotic quotes, progressive Filipino songs and as culminating event, The Golden Banduria Award. For the latter, we even had a FB Live show where we named dzRJ, the Rock of Manila, as this year’s awardee acknowledging “its vital role in providing precious airtime to progressive Filipino music artists and bands in laying the foundation of Pinoy Rock and for championing Manila’s counterculture in the ‘70s.” The radio station founded by Ramon Jacinto used to be called Boss Radio and shifted to the Rock of Manila as its banner program Pinoy Rock & Rhythm introduced original materials of artists like Juan de la Cruz Band, Anak Bayan, Maria Cafra, Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society and Florante.
I must confess though that I never listened to dzRJ in the ‘70s as its broadcast could not reach Cebu, but I learned much about it because of Jingle Chordbook Magazine that happens to be the first recipient in 2019 of our Golden Banduria Award. The iconic magazine was first released in October 1970, thus it will have its 50th anniversary this year. Sad though that its founder and first editor-in-chief Gilbert Guillermo passed away at 74 on July 21 of a still unknown cause. Already, some of the prominent writers and artists in Manila have written tributes to the former English teacher at Far Eastern University who at 24 years old launched the Chordian Angel that taught many to play the guitar, myself included.
On a personal note, Jingle played an important part in what I am today. I joined the first and only Jingle Songwriting Contest in 1974 and luckily made it to the Top 10. It inspired me to become a radio disc jockey. It gave me courage to introduce a music column, Music Jam, in SunStar Cebu that led me towards becoming one of its opinion columnists. To Gilbert Guillermo, thank you for what you’ve done to me. I am just one of the many whose life you shaped. As you wrote in the Editor’s Note in the first issue of Jingle: “...(A)ltogether, let’s take a mind excursion down here in JINGLE – where music is soul and soul is music.” We really did.