Presentation Blog: The Power of Indie Music

Image result for pinoisepopThe article that we looked at was Pinoise Rock by Balance.  The piece explores how Pinoy indie rock, and indie music in general, helped develop translocal scenes in both Manila and San Francisco.  One of the largest festivals of Pinoy indie rock music is the PiNoisePop festival, which brings together the Filipino community and builds comradery among them.  Because Asians are often discriminated against in the mainstream music industry, they are forced to produce indie music.  However, this is not necessarily a bad thing since with indie music, bands can foster community and strengthen the bonds between people of the same race.

Balance calls music scenes “a network of relationships, a social ecosystem where every member is necessary” (Balance, pg. 127), and she makes a very strong point here.  When it comes to music and genre, they aren’t defined simply by the lyrics or the instruments used while producing the music.  Music and genre are both defined by the cultural values, rituals, practices, traditions, and the groups of people they are found in.  As a result, Pinoy indie rock isn’t Pinoy indie rock simply because the band playing it is Filipino or that their lyrics are not mainstream, but it is Pinoy indie rock because it is something that resonates with the Filipino community.  “Indie rock’s overarching sounds and sensibilities emphasize pathos-emotion, in general, suffering” (Balance, pg. 129) and often times “address the issue of not belonging” (Balance, pg. 128).  The emotions that these sounds invoke resonate strongly with the Filipino community because these are feelings that they are all too familiar with.

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Even outside of the Philippines, there is a strong presence of a Pinoy indie rock scene.  Balance draws attention to the San Francisco indie rock scene in particular.  “Pinoy rock isn’t dead here […] and neither is it dead anywhere else in the world” (Balance, pg. 136) are the sentiments shared by the Filipino community in San Francisco, and this sentiment is shared by others around the world.  The success of these Pinoy indie rock festivals in America shows that these festivals are a great way of bringing together the Filipino community and strengthening their bonds with each other and their homeland.

Along with music festivals, there are other methods of bringing together musicians and audience as well.  There are magazines, brick and mortar music stores, and other means of bringing people together.  Balance attributes the importance of these revenues to the fact that many fans of indie rock are relatively young and lacking a readily available Image result for record playerincome that they can use to spend on records and CDs.  Balance emphasizes the importance of things such as record copiers that certain locations have that allow people to copy and share music.  These places become places where fans of the music can congregate and connect with one another.  The same can applied to magazines and stores.  They allow people to share the music they care about with one another as well as introducing one another to newer songs and artists.

With the advent of technology, this sharing of indie music has become more streamlined.  Rather than being forced to visit a friend or a music store, one can simply go on the internet and find what one is looking for there.  One of the things that Balance talks about is how Filipino cover bands “[create] informal networks of musical education by circulating and sharing pop music introduced and carried over by U.S. soldiers, Image result for saraswathi jonesexpats, and Filipina airline stewardesses” (Balance, pg. 153).  Nowadays, cover bands and any other artist for that matter can create these same networks by putting their music online.  Saraswathi Jones is one of those artists that have taken advantage of the internet and used it to bring attention to her music.  Described as being postcolonial pop, Saraswathi Jones incorporates indie sounds and instruments while performing local music in terms of the language she chooses to sing in and the sitar that she plays.  While she may not be signed on with any record label, through the power of the internet, she is able to put her music out there and connect people of her heritage, which is what Balance claims is the power of indie music.

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