A Village in the Making
There are musicians across Asia who write and perform songs that are rooted in people’s struggles. People’s Music is the broad term we use to refer to the songs expressed by these musicians; songs that speak about the hopes and aspirations of peoples and communities who are struggling against forces of oppression and marginalization.
These songs articulate the stories of peoples and communities; amplifying their calls for change and transformation to the way societies and economies are organized; these songs advocate for alternatives and just solutions to issues and problems facing societies.
Across the region, purveyors of peoples music have come together both as a movement of artists and as part of bigger movements for social change. In Thailand, groups like the legendary Caravan, who has been around for decades and continue to voice out the people’s opposition to repressive regimes is one the leading proponents of the song for life movement. In the Philippines, there is the experience of Musika, a collective of artists who pushed the idea and practice of what came to be known as Musikang Bayan. In Indonesia we hear the voice of Emha and his Gamelan Ensemble leading efforts to organize and strengthen peoples’ resilience to natural disasters like the tsunami and earthquake disasters that hit that country.
There is a growing consciousness as well among peoples across Asia, as both a response and a challenge to the efforts of government to build regional communities- to likewise build bridges that will unite these communities of artists into one village– A village of people’s music and art.