A Unified Voice with Musikaramay

April 16th, 2020

The Philippine live music scene has always been a take it or leave it proposition. Not to say that Filipinos lack talent and perseverance. In fact, there is an abundance, not just of talent, but of genius. And, I think we all know how oriented we are with the virtues of initiative, diligence, and resourcefulness.

Could it be the lack of opportunities, or maybe the other side of the coin, where there is too much talent than there is demand for? So, it’s not surprising to see musicians choosing to either go abroad, or just completely abandon their passion to move on to other, more profitable endeavors. Whatever the reason may be, the reality of being in the live band circuit in the Philippines is that only a very small percentage of people who take the plunge actually make it.

Until someone takes up the cudgels for the sector, the musicians will have to take care of their own.

Enter Musikaramay, a non-profit organization which was set up a few years ago by seasoned drummer, Stanley Seludo. The the name of the group is a play on two words: music and karamay (Filipino translation for companion or to help). The deal was initially to busk around the metro, and donate the earnings to struggling street musicians. The idea was quickly picked up, and they suddenly found themselves performing on the grounds of different malls. Soon, the novelty of the project died down, and Musikaramay had to evolve. And evolve it did.

Soon, the group went into organizing fund raising concerts, basketball tournaments, and FB groups to help different marginalized sectors, or giving financial assistance to different foundations. Its supporters, and beneficiaries have grown to include business owners, and fellow musicians. Its activities have transformed from modest ideas into more complex, yet focused ones.

Not that the organization has forgotten other marginalized sectors of society, but just in the meantime realigned its efforts to assist fellow musicians. Because in helping your own, we all become stronger, and able to help others as well.

Among the group’s activities are:

  1. A weekly musicians’ basketball league to promote healthy living.
  2. Online music classes which promote peer learning, as well as to raise funds for various charitable projects.
  3. Online, free seminars about financial health and investing for musicians.
  4. And recently, a fund drive, to solicit monetary and in-kind donations, for distribution to musicians affected by the lockdown due to COVID19.

More plans were on the way, but were put on hold. The current situation has made aid distribution a more critical focus of the group’s efforts. And, in what has been short of a miracle is how volunteerism amongst band members, managers, other members of the industry has now become the cornerstone of the movement. The call for aid is being answered by the influx of financial and food assistance, and friends who brave the streets to distribute food packs.

This ongoing drive is being made possible with the help of:

  1. PAGCOR
  2. Musicians Helping Musicians led by Jimmy Bondoc, Paolo Santos, Thor Dulay, and Al Henson.
  3. Bandamayan led by singers Darly Ong, and Angeline Quinto, who have raised significant amounts thru their FB live performances.

As a former singer years back, I have had first-hand experience of the life in the Manila live music circuit. And, I am one of those guilty of giving up on it. My heart goes out to my friends who have chosen to duke it out to pursue their love and passion for music. My hope is that through Musikaramay’s advocacy (which has become mine as well) the music industry will be united, and finally get the representation it deserves.

For more information on Musikaramay’s projects check them on:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/musikaramay

Email: [email protected]

POP! Creators/RyanRegino

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