Building a better world through songs: Musicians’ collective to launch album of peoples’ music from Southeast Asia

The Asian Music for Peoples’ Peace and Progress (aMP3), a collective of progressive and socially-engaged musicians from Asia will be launching the album A Village in the Making: Peoples’ Music from Southeast Asia on June 18, 2019 from 1:30-430 pm at the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Mini Theater in Bangkok, Thailand.

The album is aMP3’s inaugural offering, which showcases 14 original songs from artists from Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand.

The carrier track, The Village is a song originally written for the Earth Citizens Assembly organized by the Alliance for a Responsible and United World held in Sao Paolo, Brazil in 1997. The song, which was given a new arrangement featuring new choruses in Bahasa, Khmer, Tagalog, and Thai speaks of hope for a better place, a community where peace, freedom, justice and equality reign.

An excerpt from the liner notes written by Filipino singer-songwriter Jess Santiago describes the collaborative process that went into the making of the album:

 This modest collection began with an attempt to translate the refrain of The Village into Thai, Khmer, Bahasa Indonesia, and Tagalog during the Asian Peoples Music Concert in Manila in November 2017. Soon after the concert one of the Thai participants, Pik, who works as arranger and sound engineer for a recording studio in Bangkok, did a demo of the song. Pik hardly speaks English. But that proved to be no problem. As the song says: “…the language of the heart is the mother tongue of all”—and Pik has a big heart. He listened to the original recording of the song till his ears bled just to learn the English text so that he could do the demo vocal himself. His demo became the backbone for the recording of the song—with the translated refrain—during the group’s meeting in Bangkok in May 29-June 1, 2018. The song became the anchor to further develop the idea of producing an album. A few more songs (Una Nilang Dinampot by Bong Ramilo and Wake Up by Messenger Band) were likewise recorded in Bangkok. The plan for the album was concretized when the group met again in Bali in October. The remaining songs were recorded in the contributors’ respective countries from December 2018 until March 2019.

Aside from the album launch in Bangkok, the first in a series across the region, aMP3 is in town for a collaborative workshop to write new songs and work on cross-translation of existing materials. The workshop is made possible through a grant from ANA-Arts Network Asia (, an enabling grant body, set up by a group of independent artists, cultural workers and arts activists from Asia, that encourages collaboration, initiated and sited in Asia and carried out by Asian artists. The project is also supported by Focus on the Global South (”

If you have questions or wish to arrange interviews with the musicians please do not hesitate to contact Joseph Purugganan at or +639175460319 on Whats App (english) or Nitithorn Thongthirakul (thai) at

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Musicians from Southeast Asia come together to collaborate on songs that amplify and support peoples’ struggles across the region

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The Asian Music for Peoples’ Peace and Progress or AMP3, a collective of artists with a network of socially engaged musicians across Asia is organizing a co-creative cross-cultural songwriting workshop to be held from 14-20 June, 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Sama-sama: Asian Co-Creative Gathering” will bring singer-songwriters associated with AMP3 from Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Timor Leste, and Thailand together to co-create and cross-translate songs about social, political, cultural, and other issues they and their communities face.

According to AMP3 convenor Jess Santiago: “The project will explore, assess, identify and synthesise processes of co-creation and cross-translation among artists (singer-songwriters especially) from Asia.  We hope to initiate processes that may be replicated for and adapted to varying conditions facing artists and their communities in future related activities. The project will promote both artistic merit and social impact in exploring processes to be developed and adapted thus fostering both the intrinsic and instrumental value of Asian People’s Music.”

Filipino-Australian musician Bong Ramilo, one of the faciitators of the workshop adds: “The participants will work through structured workshops to discuss and select themes inspired by the realities of their communities and collaboratively create songs featuring diverse Asian languages and musical idioms based on these themes. They will also cross-translate songs — for example, translating a song in Bahasa Indonesia into Khmer and other languages (those of the participants) — to better popularise diverse songs across the Region.

A recording of the songs from the co-creation and cross-translation workshop is targetted for release by the end of the year.

This project is supported by the ANA – Arts Network Asia (, an enabling grant body, set up by a group of independent artists, cultural workers and arts activists from Asia, that encourages collaboration, initiated and sited in Asia and carried out by Asian artists.  The workshop is also made possible with the continuing support from Focus on the Global South and the Thai Public Broadcasting System.#


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Ego Lemos’ Alfabetu Song

Ego Lemos brings the alphabet to the children of Timor-Leste with his music. Produced for the Ministry of Education.

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Afternoon jam with the Darwin Rondalla

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Cited as one of Darwin’s most iconic groups the Darwin Rondalla in action at the DCA studio in Malak, Darwin. With Bong Ramilo, Felino Molina, Melody Yuin Foh, Miguel Molina, and Brenda Jeanne Cubillo. Photos by Joseph Purugganan/APM. 26 October 2014.

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Pete Seeger (1919-2014)

“Its true to a certain extent, one of the purpose of music is to help you survive your troubles, help distract you from your troubles, but some music helps you understand your troubles, and some music can help you do something about your troubles.”

Pete Seeger

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by | January 30, 2014 · 2:19 am

Rock vs the Round: Musicians against the WTO


Musicians against the WTO (MAW) represents the coming together of various artists in a project aimed at popularizing issues and generating public interest on the WTO and globalization issues in the Philippines.

Conceptualized in early September 2005, MAW became part of the trade campaign in the Philippines spearheaded by the Stop the New Round Coalition, Focus on the Global South, Kilusang Mangingisda, Tambuyog Development Center, NGOs for Fisheries Reform, Philnet-RDI, and Jubilee South.

MAW produced Rock against the Round CD– a compilation of songs reflecting various perspectives on globalization, from the personal to the political. The CD features 12 songs from a diverse mix of artists representing different music

al genres from folk to punk. The songs touch on themes of poverty and inequality, hunger and food insecurity, commodification of lives and natural resources, global hegemony and domination.

The songs on the Album

 Espasyo – The Village Idiots

Welcome to the Free World – Noel Cabangon

(Hangga’t maari) Ayaw Naming Pumatay – Einstein Chakras

Million Dollar Man – Agaw Agimat

Food Trip- Radio Active Sago Project

Who’s Next- Bridge

Free Market Bull – Strap on 7 inch

Vampire Sam (the global order) – Beauty of Doubt

(ikaw) ay Karne – Datu’s Tribe

Pa-experience – Pedicab

Changes (justice not politics) – Pink Cow

Republika de lata – the Wuds

In 2008, MAW staged a mini-concert in Cubao X, in Quezon City, Philippines which featured performances from Noel Cabangon, Jess Santiago, Pedicab, Peryodiko, Radioactive Sago Project, Village Idiots and Sandwich as part of the continuing campaign against WTO and the Doha Round.

“What is happening in the WTO, the domination by the rich over the poor, the powerful over the powerless is colonialism revisited. Only now it goes by the name globalization. Artists today like those that resisted colonialism in the past must act against and inspire resistance to the oppression and domination” said musician Jess Santiago.

“In these times, for musicians and artists to be apathetic in face of a reprehensible anti-people force like the WTO is a criminal act” added Lourd de Veyra, front man of Radioactive Sago Project.

Listen online and download the album at 

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Concert for Food Sovereignty in Jakarta

Concert for Food Sovereignty in Jakarta

Filipino Musician Jess Santiago set to perform with Ego Lemos of Timor Leste and Indonesian bands in the Food Sovereignty Night Concert on 12 June 2013 in Jakarta.

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by | May 23, 2013 · 7:41 am