When you hear the term, Tunog Kalye. What comes into your minds? Probably street performers? Nahhh… If you are a kid from the 90’s, you probably have heard and experienced this type of music genre. How far do your roots go? How about these names I am about to mention: Eraserheads, Yano, Rivermaya, Siakol, Teeth, The Youth, The Dawn? Any of these bands ring a sentimental bell in your noggin? These bands are the pioneers of the famous Tunog Kalye which started in the early 1990’s. It swept everyone off their feet as almost all Pinoys fell in love with these bands on the get-go. The birth of these musicians was nothing less than legendary.
The raw and clangy sounds of the drums along with the scratchy distortion from their Fender Stratocaster guitars were the ones that filled the typical Pinoy Walkman. Wait… What’s a Walkman? Before smartphones, even before i-Pods. No, no go a little bit farther. Before the CD-Man… there were cassette tapes and the Walkman. Just a quick overview, the Walkman was our Portable Music Player before and it was THE BOMB!
The sound of Tunog Kalye was not fresh and it was not clean to be honest. But the lyrics of each song were either relatable or puzzling to a point that most of us just wanted to decipher the words. The pop-ish beats combined with a couple of rock mechanics were its weapons. Perfectly picked if you ask me since most Pinoys are always ready to jump to a trend and the Pop Genre is always present.
The Guitar Solo
The aggressive take of Tunog Kalye on the Pinoy mainstream music scene was well-received by the public in the 90;’s but just like any other genre, the eyes of the critics were always there, ever-so condescending. As the music went stronger and more influential, the rock industry itself took a step back and welcomed the new sound with open arms. (Well, open ears).
The spearhead of the genre was none other than the Eraserheads. Front man Ely Buendia was like the face and the voice of the genre. A whole lot of other bands went from struggling musicians to aspiring artists. Back when I was in high school, all of the guys and girls who knew how to do a D-A-G chord progression on the guitar decided to create a band of their own! These were the superb years for the rock scene in Pinoy music.
Just like any fad or trend, the hype of Tunog Kalye died down as the years went by. Pop went swinging back and the age K-Pop made its way to the hearts of the youth. The bands from the golden age still perform with the same energy as they had but the audience they once had, is more or less still the same audience. I will not say that the genre is dying but the art of raw Tunog Kalye music is now struggling. The indie scene is swarming with fraught artists who deserve better credit than the ones you normally hear on the mainstream radio.
If you are a child who lived through the age of Tunog Kalye, tap your kid or nephew/niece and give them an earpiece hanging from your mobile phone. For all I know, you might have a song there that was composed by one of the greatest bands in our time. Have them take a whiff of that primal rock music that we once listened and you might be surprised, that fire inside might still be alive.
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