For the Desi Islander Asia Pacific American community, May brings special meaning. That means remembering the heritage of individuals and showing the complexity of the Asian-American community. Officially recognized as the Asia Pacific American Heritage Month, this time is truly special and extra space to be loud and proud – a time to commemorate the diversity of achievements, culture, languages and history that characterizes the current APIDA community.
Celebration is not a reason for exclusivity. In a critical time where xenophobic phrases and actions are haphazardly targeted at Asian-Americans, music media are already available to help ease disputes and promote harmony. Music has the power to unite people, and its melody goes beyond superficial obstacles caused by language differences or stereotypes.
This article and Spotify are related playlist no and cannot include music from any style and country of origin – there is only so much APIDA music that cannot be limited to one article. However, this is a unique opportunity for all to explore some of the various musical cultures that simultaneously add to the wealth of the APIDA community.
Original Pilipino Music, or OPM, is a term used for traditional and modern music compositions in Philippine culture, but the audience is clearly not only Filipino. According to increasing third Nursing student Jana Mirafuente, raw emotions in vocals and guitar resonate in an indescribable way with listeners to share in sentiments and develop in the connections provided by music media.
The classic hit song “Huwag Na Huwag Mong Sasabihin” by Kitchie Nadal and “Pagdating ng Panahon” by Aiza Seguerra bring nostalgic elements to Mirafuente, reminiscent of karaoke parties or celebratory events. Beyond the nostalgic sentiments, he details the cultural transcendence which is incorporated into some of his favorite songs.
“In ‘Harana’ by Parokya Ni Edgar, the singer said, ‘Ibubuhos ko ang buong puso ko / Sa isang munting harana the sayo’ which means, ‘I will pour all my heart out / To this little serenade for you,'” said Mirafuente . “This kind of highlights how much music can be done. You don’t need to say much … to get your point across, and this is true regardless of what culture you are from. “
Outside the Philippines, artists from other Southeast Asian countries have increased as a dynamic presence in the American R&B and rap scenes. Malaysian artist Alex Bong, better known as “alextbh,” combines subtle melodies with eternity and beats.
Nicole Zefanya from Indonesia-America simultaneously delivered songs that were full of enthusiasm and sadness with her stage name NIKI, sometimes working with other artists under the Asian-American mass media company.
Alumni of the 2020 class Shivani Saboo emphasize that a large number of ways in South Asian music have helped him continue to celebrate his legacy. Some artists tease several South Asian languages in one song, according to Saboo. Although he understands Hindi, Saboo explains that his musical preferences range from Gujurati and Punjabi to Telugu.
“The songs use very poetic and sophisticated language beyond the depth of the choice of everyday words that I use at home every day,” Saboo said. “I still feel strongly associated with South Asian music – even when it’s a language that I don’t fully understand … [there’s] something in rhythm and melody that metaphorically hits a special rope in me. “
Because South Asian American youths have to channel much of their cultural identity, Saboo details the mixing trends of South Asian and American songs that have become popular. Some of these hits combine modernity with tradition – “Bollywood – Swalla Remix” featuring lyrics from the Hindi classic song “Akhiyaan Milaoon Kabhi” over the beat of “Swalla,” by Jason Derulo’s, which produces pop songs that highlight both cultures.
“This mix not only integrates music from both cultures [and] shared identity but also reveals a community of people who go through the same struggle to balance their roots with the environment in which they grew up, “Saboo said.
From original Korean drama soundtracks and ballads to rap and acoustic songs, many of the rich talents that surround the East Asian music world are undeniable. Many may be familiar with the popularity of K-pop, but the rising third-year student Sumin Lee articulates the emotional familiarity found in OSTs – especially those based on drama of love stories with love or unrequited tragedies – that resonate with listeners of all backgrounds back.
“Even if you don’t understand the lyrics, you can still understand the despair or tragedy behind the tone,” Lee said. “Because OST comes with the first storyline and puts the song behind it … it fits right into so many different situations.”
For the third year student on the rise, Daniel Soong, Taiwanese music has a special amount of reflective and sentiment, which is seen even in the titles of some of his favorites – “Rhythm of the Rain,” “What time are you in” and “Blue in green “Instrumentation and character determine for Taiwanese music according to Soong, painting pictures even without understanding language.
“Because the style of the song is closely related to the lyrics and their meaning, you can still understand what the artist wants to convey,” Soong said. “It’s not trying to be more than it really is, so in a way it’s simpler and why I’m interested in it – it’s authentic.”
There is unity in diversity – a theme that is prevalent in the spotlight of APIDA’s music culture. It further radiates in many genres consisting of Chinese music, from Mandopop to thematic ballads ranging from innocent to sad love. The third-year student on the rise, Sophia Chang emphasizes it as a poetry that is released, the main thing for reflection from all audiences, including students in today’s society.
“[In 小幸遇 (A Little Happiness) by Hebe Tien] 青春 是 段 跌跌撞撞 的 旅行 [is translated as] “Youth is a bumpy journey,” Chang said. “I think this sentence is in harmony with the cultural pride that was celebrated during APAHM because for Asian-Americans, young people kind of find out the balance between their own culture and … American culture.”
In harmony with celebrating APAHM, the third-year student on the rise, Candy Liang, is aligned with an open heart and an open mind that music and culture must be accepted.
“[There is a] need to respect and respect differences in backgrounds, experiences and stories, “said Liang. “It’s important to have an open mind when listening to other people’s experiences, and then reflect on yourself to learn more about yourself … without judgment.”
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