Monday, 11 June 2012

AGITPOP! The words and sentiments of Axel Pinpin and the Propaganda Machine

The words and sentiments of Axel Pinpin and the Propaganda Machine
and others contributing

It was yesterday when this writer was watching a video with a musical-cum-poetry number.

Quite strange though to see, but then the message given stirs something few dare to explain, somewhat similar to "Cather in the Rye" given a red sentiment that is, Axel Pinpin.

Mostly written in Tagalog, Axel Pinpin simply conveys a message that is based on realities such as poverty, repression and a need for a revolution; to think that most of his words may think that he is a hard to the core radical venting rage against the system through music and poetry.

Indeed, he is against the system, and he uses art as a weapon against the system.

His life as a radical

Coming from Indang Cavite, Axel Pinpin is known for his spoken poetry through is writeups and accompanied with music.

In fact, he has been writing poetry since his college years, and He has already published a few poetry books of his own before the idea for the band even started to accompany his works. However, he is much recognized by the media for his Activism, especially that he is engaging in peasant-related work in Southern Luzon, also known as the Southern Tagalog Region.

However, according to Pinpin, he tends to separate himself both as an artist in his band and as a secretary-general in a peasant organization, all regardless of having similar ideas conveyed such as a need for general social change and enlightenment whether through spoken poetry or through press releases and the like; to think that he himself is a professed radical whose obligation is to liberate by all means-such as using cultural work.

But as for his ideals and aspirations, all despite given appraisals from the music and to the literature community, also given heckles and imprisonment. As he, an ex-political detainee wrongly imprisoned by the Arroyo government from 2006-2008 for his actions, simply convey that being a government critic lies risks to be accepted, and yet despite these he afford to write and even made a book that still carries the message similar to Lu Xun's, Letov's or even Hernandez's, Sison's and Lumbera's.

To others, it is quite strange, especially that he, a rebel conveys his message into music-such as a concoction of rock and groove. In an instance, one of his poems is given a sound that is groovy in everybody's ears, yet the message remains the same: revolution.


Obviously, upon hearing his poems set into music, it is itself an example of AgitPop.

AgitPop, coined by this writer, is a marriage of AgitProp and Popular culture; it utilizes the existing scenes and turning it into an idea that is worthy to be called revolutionary.

In fact, Jiang Qing's Revolutionary Peking Opera fuses the east and west by the use of eastern and western instruments-how come Raising the Red Lantern includes wearing western attire that is worth realistic than the usual Peking Opera? North Korea's Sea of Blood also had similarities in it, using eastern music, western instruments, and radical ideas to create an opera that is agitating not just appraising; so is Axel Pinpin's.

To think that his poetries are accompanied with some folk rock, groove, or any other genre, the message remains as it is as it dominates over sound. Bamboo Manalac's revival of Buklod's "Tatsulok" attempted to merge AgitProp with Pop culture, yet it turned out to see pop culture dominating over AgitProp to think that "Tatsulok" is originally a protest song during the 1980s featuring the society as a social pyramid from the elite top to the have-not bottom; this writer somehow think that yes, people admire the song "Tatsulok" because of its music, but how about its message then? It turns out to be commercialized plain and simple as few tend to reflect to its message that is anti-system in a tone that is rock to described as radical.

Kinda strange at first about Pop culture gone radical, obviously Pinpin's music and others may usher a new wave of "Radical Chics" dancing and singing to the tune of AgitPop regardless of its respective genre. BLKDs rap mirrors social realities and revolutionary patriotism, the Gerilya artist collective utilizes the use of street art such as wheatpaste to convey message of social change and love of country; this writer felt that yes, a new wave has come as more and more will do something what the system tends to call as strange, weird or subversive; to think that social realities like poverty, corruption, oppression and submission to vested interests made people resort to do things by all means such as art or arms.

...or rather say art as an arm.

Anyways, this writer hopes that that will be the time to break the flow, this time a protracted one. That, despite popularity the message always as its forefront and make people reflect and resist than treating it as a mere trend to be imitated; the latter is in fact what the system wanted, negating the message and reducing it into a mere word made for the sake of popularity. 

Singers such as Chikoy Pura and Bobby Balingit somehow became popular in mainstream scene after their songs had gone popular not just in the protest movement, but then their music remains true as it conveys reality using rock music; they've been played in the radio, videoes shown in youtube or any social media,  but the message keeps as it is whether in revisiting about EDSA I  (as what Pura made in his song "Sayaw sa Bubog") or forgetting God after having everything around him (after Balingit's "Nakalimutan na ang Diyos") making the people realize something after hearing their music and be agitated contrary to what the usual music scene that is made to consume.

In fact, this writer tried once joining a spoken poetry session, quite nice to join to especially that this writer also writes poetry as his therapy for a barren mind and soul other than writing stories and drawing. This writeup also made revisit some of his writeups too, like:

"If that's the case then does having a fashion, music, movie, TV program using a "Patriotic" statement make a person Patriotic? Or just a fad, a ploy used by the prevailing order in desperately currying popular support and making them contented to it?"

Well, that message made this writer think that there is a need for a new wave of culture that is genuinely enlightening for the common man and not a culture that is made to consume without consciousness. Pinpin's music, as well as others wanted their creativity as way to enlight, to arise and revolt against an other that is, repressive as been sought and endure.