September 21, 1972 is the day that Former President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law. This began years of tyrannical and crony rule that stifled political dissent and cultural freedom. Despite this, Filipino artists, and especially musicians, remained unwavering in their ways as they expressed their resistance to the Marcos regime, both out in the open and covertly.
The following songs both represent the mood at the time and provide a fitting undercurrent to the whims of the political resistance now. As we confront misguided politics of today, we fuel our motivation to revolt and commemorate the trials of history as we explore these manifestations of revolutionary thinking in music.
“Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran” by Asin
This folk-rock band has been known since their inception for their tendency toward a more homegrown sound, hewing close to indigenous and tribal instruments and musicality for their recordings. Not only that, but the themes they touch upon contain a sense of covert political subversion, particularly for issues that affect the rural Filipino. “Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran” is a banjo-tinged elegy for damages to the environment, an issue that intensified during the Marcos era as the administration coddled illegal miners and loggers.
“FUCK THE WEST (KLUB ANTHEM 4 THE WEST)” by Teya Logos
Teya Logos is a 17-year-old trans artist from Quezon City, whose work centers around more experimental genres of electronic music such as gabber and hardcore. She gained notoriety for “Beki Bounce,” released under the Unizone label, a rapidly accelerating journey from simmering club beats to irresistibly thumping gabber, interspersed with ballroom and Filipino viral video samples. The track “FUCK THE WEST (KLUB ANTHEM 4 THE WEST)” is part of the fifth volume of the MUTANTS MIXTAPE anthology created by members of the Arca discord. It is a declaration of violence against the hegemonic capitalist forces of the West set to harsh footwork synths.
“Kanluran” by Gary Granada
Activist-musician Gary Granada has continually released and performed a body of work that is clear in its politics and with unequivocal accessibility. Beyond writing musicals such as “Lean” he has also crafted an oeuvre of folk solo material that speaks of the plight of peasants in the countryside. “Kanluran” is the West upon which the sun sets, to the delight of the poor and working-class Filipinos.
“Sandata” by KOLATERAL
The “KOLATERAL” album project, led by BLKD and Calix, is one of the richest and most exciting rap projects in the Philippines as of late. It offers highly incisive political and social critique laid raw and strongly against a polished production. “Sandata” features the two project leads with Lanzeta, Because, Pure Mind Quiet Heart, Muro Ami, KIYO, Bang Boss, and Promote Violence. It doesn’t mince words as it delivers a damning verdict to Duterte’s drug war: “Pasistang rehimen, buwagin! / Pababain ang mga nakaupong ulupong, patumbahin! / Ang sistema na bulok gigibain (gigibain!)” DZUP
More songs on our “Revolt” Playlist!