MANILA – Since it began in 2008 as a television series featuring live studio-recorded music performed by various artists, “Coke Studio” has expanded into a musical platform adopted by several countries to showcase the diversity of their music and by extension, culture.
The show was launched in the Philippines late last month with the goal of elevating an already resurgent Original Pilipino Music scene. Through this new television show that airs every Saturday at 7PM, OPM legends and emerging artists from varying music genres and sub-genres have come together to create new and exciting sounds for the present and next generation of music fans.
In the first episode of “Coke Studio,” top notch music producers Raymund Marasigan of Sandwich and Buddy Zabala, formerly of the Eraserheads and The Dawn explained what to expect from the series.
“Coke Studio gathered 14 different artists, paired them into twos and then they cover each other’s songs and then collaborate in one song,” Marasigan revealed.
“This is going to be the first time we’ll be working with them in one studio. We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Zabala chimed in.
Kicking off the exciting partnerships were folk legend Noel Cabangon and indie rapper Curtismith.
“Wow! Noel Cabangon is an institution. He’s an incredibly gifted songwriter and he’s a wonderful performer, always gets the crowd going,” Zabala enthused.
“I didn’t know much about Noel before meeting him so I looked him up on Spotify and YouTube and it was very interesting to see that he had such a wide variety of sounds you could pull from,” Curtismith noted.
Cabangon was likewise thrilled to work with the rising hip-hop star who in his words, sounded “new and fresh.”
The maiden broadcast was a hit especially on social media where the entire episode earned over one million views for “Payong Kaibigan,” the resulting collaboration of the two artists.
The videos of Cabangon’s performance of Curtismith’s “Jus Chillin” and Curtismith’s version of the former’s “Kanlungan” also went viral on the official YouTube channel of “Coke Studio” and the Facebook page of Coca-Cola Philippines.
Building on the frenzy of the very first broadcast, the second episode featured The Ransom Collective, a promising indie folk band with legendary musicians Gabby Alipe and John Dinopol of the hard rocking outfit, Urbandub.
“We all grew up listening to Urbandub and it’s very heavy and it differs so much from our sound because ours is way lighter,” exclaimed Jermaine Choa Peck of the acoustic alternative group.
Unbeknownst to one of OPM’s rising sensations, Alipe and Dinopol are equally fascinated with The Ransom Collective, which aside from Peck is also composed of Kian Ransom, Leah Halili, Redd Claudio and sisters Lily and Muriel Gonzales.
“The new generation of bands now are very eclectic with the choice of genres they pursue, even with the way they write and express themselves,” Alipe admitted.
For their collaboration, the two groups worked on the basic arrangement initiated by Kian Ransom. Despite being the more senior and experienced musicians of the lot, Alipe and Dinopol were both okay with deferring to their younger counterparts.
“When we were offered this project, we took a stance that they [Ransom Collective] should be the highlight of this event because it’s their time,” Alipe pointed out.
The result was “Caution to the Wind,” an instant hit with the show’s viewers that quickly generated over 1.6 million combined views on YouTube and Facebook.
In addition, The Ransom Collective’s rendition of Urbandub’s “First of Summer” and Gab & John’s take on “Fools” did not disappoint with over 1.4 million total views.
For the third episode, Marasigan and Zabala featured Jensen and The Flips, an emerging band known for their sexy brand of soul music and Moonstar88, a group known for their heartbreak songs.
Jensen and the Flips are composed of Jensen Gomez, Miggy Concepcion, Michael Gemina, Carlo Maraingan, Mel Roño, Sam Valenia, Jesser Sison, Fitz Manto and Choi Padilla. The current line-up of Moonstar88 consists of Maysh Baay, Buddy Zabala, Bon Sundiang and Herbert Hernandez.
Upon meeting, both groups were impressed with each other’s easygoing nature and knew right off the bat they will click.
“When we found out we had chemistry, we both get each other’s jokes. If we can collaborate well on jokes alone, what more with music?,” noted Choi of the Flips.
The two groups agreed on creating what Jensen described as “a sexy, heartbreak song” and came up with “Gigil” which to date has earned a total of over 2.3 million views on YouTube and Facebook.
Likewise, the two groups’ respective covers of each other’s tunes, namely Moonstar88’s classic hit, “Torete” and Jensen and The Flips’ “Slow” also had impressive views of their own.
Jensen and the Flips’ version of “Torete” also made it to No. 1 on Spotify’s Top 50 Viral Playlist with their collaboration with Moonstar88’s “Gigil,” The Ransom Collective’s version of “First of Summer” and Gab & John’s version of “Fools” also cracking the Top 50.
With an intriguing mix of sought-after musicians and rising newcomers, “Coke Studio” hopes to inspire the creation of fresh and exciting musical content that will influence impressionable young audiences into appreciating Original Pilipino Music like they never did before.
Succeeding episodes of “Coke Studio” will feature Sandwich, Reese Lansangan, BP Valenzuela, Autotelic, Gracenote, Franco, Ebe Dancel, and Abra.
“Coke Studio” airs every Saturday at 7PM on TV5 and also live on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter on the same time slot. For social media updates, subscribe to the show’s YouTube channel at Youtube.com/CokeStudioPH and follow the Coca Cola Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CocaColaPhilippines/.