Philippine record label Greater East Asia, a unit of BMG Records Philippines, released 1896 Ang Pagsilang (1896 The Reborn) in 1996. The album commemorates the historical 1896 uprising of Filipinos against the Spanish colonizers. The uprising was repelled, but the event is highly significant in Philippine history.
1896 Ang Pagsilang is unique in that it includes artists signed to BMG Records Philippines as well as artists from other Philippine labels. 1896 Ang Pagsilang is a well-produced, cohesive effort, and the music is quite good. Much of the music is acoustic in nature, although some songs contain electric guitar.
The opening, "Hanggang Ngayon" (Up to Now) is acoustic-based and contains a charming, understated melody sung in a reverent, proud manner. The group that performs the song is Siglo; it is a composite of singers and musicians from various Philippine bands formed specifically for the album. "Hanggang Ngayon" commemorates the Philippine quest for freedom and pays respect to the sacrifice made by Philippine forefathers. The ethnic-styled "1996 (Bayani Ka)" (Your Hero) is performed by Grace Nono, widely respected as a champion of Philippine indigenous music. Most Philippine artists base their music on Western sources, so Nono's contribution to the local music scene is vital. One of the album's most beautiful songs is "Panahon Na Naman" (It's Time Again), performed by RiverMaya. The melody to the song is tender and beautiful. "Askal" (no translation) is performed in a fast, punkish manner and is propelled by electric guitar. 1896 Ang Pagsilang is an excellent album, well produced and containing much fine music.