A Tribute to the Music of Patatag

Professor/Dept. of Composition and Theory


In 1990, when the Philippines had already realized the extent and/or limits of its “relative freedom” under the Corazon Aquino government, I collaborated with the group Patatág in producing a cassette album of song-narratives that told of the plight of Filipino masses. At that time, despite the relative democratic space that allowed for such socially-oriented cultural productions, the bulk of Philippine society bore the brunt of continued militarization, foreign economic domination, neo-feudal politics and an ongoing “total war policy.” Entitled Masdan, O Yahweh, this collection of songs captured Filipino religious fervor, however transforming such to relate to the context of the ongoing struggles of the people. This was to be Patatág''s third album, representing the expansion of their repertoire to include my music as well as songs and texts by major contemporary composers and writers such as Rody Vera, as well as national artists Francisco F. Feliciano and Rolando Tinio.

On Thursday, August 27, 2015, about 25 years since we launched the album. I remounted the entire album repertoire in a live concert that featured the music, now rendered as a magnified sonic experience. Held at the do Hall Auditorium, the performance opened with a pre-concert forum at 6 pm by well-known writer and Palanca awardee, Mr. Rody Vera [musical director of Patatág] and myself on aspects of production and the development of the repertoire in 1980s protest music. The concert which followed at 7 pm featured soloists from the students and faculty of the UP College of Music, with the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Novo Concertante Choir, the UPLB Choral Ensemble, the UP College of Music Chorus class, the UP Guitar Ensemble and the UP TUGMA. The entire performance played to a full house and served as a gathering of friends.