What is Original Pilipino Music / OPM?

This weekend, Undiscovered SF pops-up at Sunday Streets for a 12-block street jam in the heart of SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District and we’re bringing the heat with island style band Native Elements and OPM legends, Dakila. But what exactly is “OPM”?

Original Pilipino Music, now more commonly known as Original Pinoy Music, Original Philippine Music or OPM for short, originally referred to Philippine pop songs, particularly ballads, that were popular in the Philippines during the late 70s to the present. OPM artists such as Rico Puno Jr., Ryan Cayabyab, and Celeste Legaspi in the 70’s, and Regine Velasquez, Sharon Cuneta, Martin Nievera, Pops Fernandes, among many others led the way in the 80’s and 90s.

Today, OPM is experiencing a bit of a resurgence, with new Pilipino underground artists like Jess Connelly, BP Velazquez, CRWN, Lustbass (from Manila Rising event last year curated by Mark Herlihy) and more creating a new OPM sound. Oakland party crew ASTIG OPM has a monthly night dedicated to the past, present, and future of OPM music. Record collectors are even digging for Pilipino rare grooves on vinyl.

Here’s a few of our favorite OPM rare grooves:

VST & Company is one of the most influential Filipino disco groups, and is considered to be one of the pioneers of what is known as the Manila Sound, the precursor to OPM. Peep this epic video of the band rockin’ out in Manila during the 70’s.

Sharon Cuneta is one of the most popular OPM artists to come out of the 80’s. Today, she’s an actress, talk show host, commercial ad endorser, and a reality show judge. Listen to this beautiful modern soul track off Sharon’s “Sixteen” album.

Dakila, which means ‘great’ and ‘noble’, is one of the first Filipino American bands to be signed by a major record label in 1972. Known for their Filipino Latin Rock sound, they toured with Malo and Buddy Miles and opened for Cal Tjader, Jose Feliciano and Cheech and Chong among others.

Eva Eugenio was another popular singer from the late 1970s and early 1980s. She is most famous for the hit song Tukso, but Ang Tangi Kong Pag-Ibig was the banger off the same album.

To get you ready for Undiscovered SF x Sunday Streets, listen to ASTIG: A TRIBUTE TO OPM mix by Proof.

Written by Marky Enriquez

marky enriquez