Transpopular Musics: Diasporic Filipino Musicians
in Hong Kong & Singapore, 1960s-1980s



Anjeline de Dios

This research project investigates popular culture and creative industries in Asia through a study of an important yet under-researched group of transnational creative subjects: diasporic Filipino musicians active in the recording and live music industries of Hong Kong and Singapore, in an era of transpopular music between 1965 to 1989. The term “transpopular” is proposed to the interconnectedness of musical practices, roles, styles, languages, conventions, and activities across spheres of musical labour, entertainment industry sectors,  audiences, and geographical registers (local/regional/global scales of culture and economy). Although relegated to the margins of national histories of music, existing research has shown that diasporic Filipino musicians were active facilitators of transpopular material that reflected the unique flavour and preferences of domestic and regional markets, notably through their capacities as intermediary performers in the “backstage” of industrialised popular music, and as “familiar strangers” who mediated creative relationships with local and other foreign musicians. They therefore exemplify the distinctly collaborative character of popular music in the region at a pivotal cultural, economic, and political period of Asian culture, crafting music that reflected both the globalizing preferences of its target audiences, and contextually specific conditions of meaning-making and musical production.

Funded by Early Career Scheme, University Grants Council






“Sweet Inspirations” (1983, HKTVB), performed live in-studio by Filipino-Hong Kong group D’Topnotes

“No One Ever Gets the Blame” (1976, House Records), by Filipino-Hong Kong musicians Rowena Cortes (singer), Chris Babida (songwriter), and Andy Bautista (songwriter)

The Reynettes, "Kowloon Hong Kong" (1966, Columbia Records, Singapore), a jingle for the Hong Kong Tourism Board by Filipino-Hong Kong family performers The Reynettes


Tags:
#Filipino #musicians #popularmusic  #hongkong #singapore

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