Radical music now playing

Never in my life have I witnessed radical songs being played in the mainstream media. Since the late 80s when I became an activist, how I wished that the progressive songs I played on my walkman would be played on radio as well. Red scare was so great then that not one radio station would dare to play one.

Although I still love progressive music (I occasionally play Buklod, Joey Ayala, the latest rock collection against globalization, etc. on my notebook), the passion for it ebbed down as soon as I got married and concerns in life became complex. I almost lost hope in progressive music being mainstreamed and being a tool for cultural change.

Until the time when I came to watch and hear Bamboo sing right on SOP (Channel 7) last Sunday the song that I used to adore and would sing out loud everytime there was a chance to: Tatsulok.

I shivered at the thought that the song sung by Noel Cabangon and Rom Banan in the early 90s would now be sung by a new-generation band right in front of SOP’s audience and the televiewers. Unbelieving at first, I doubted whether Bamboo knew the song it was playing. But Bamboo, the lead vocalist, rendered the piece with his heart.

Revivals are fashionable, indeed. But Bamboo must be raved about and commended for its choice, a very relevant one as far as the socio-political and economic realities are concerned. The song reminds everyone–elite, middle, and lower classes alike–that the real problems of the society are inequality and inequity. As the song says (in my best English translation attempt): For as long as the elite is at the top of the pyramid, social and political turmoils will not end.

I can see the dent that the song will create on the minds of the new-generation music-loving youths and middle class alike. Likewise, I know for sure that there are many cross-generation activists like me who have seen the hope for radical music to become mainstreamed ultimately.


  1. I think radical music became mainstream. If I’m not mistaken, Rage Against The Machine has songs of socio-political content (I miss that band actually 😦 ). Dicta License, a homegrown band is heavily influenced by RATM. I miss those early 90’s bands like Philippines Violators, Yano and the Wuds…

  2. Chris, I guess you’re right. Maybe I was not paying attention to RATM songs, or the radical music of the contemporary times, for that matter. When I wrote this entry, the brand of songs in my mind were those like Tatsulok that bordered on inciting uprisings against the unfair system. Analogies are straightforward and listeners can easily understand the revolutionary messages.

    Yeah, Yano! My favorite, just because its lead vocalist is my namesake 🙂 .

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