In 1999, Philippine rock band Del Pilar released its debut album Del Pilar. The band creatively blends folk-inflected, acoustic music with pungent, metal-style offerings. The opening track "Sariling Likha" (which translates as "Own Creation") begins on syncopated acoustic rhythm guitar, and then segues into a hard-edged rocker. The lyrics implore Filipinos to patronize the music of their countrymen rather than obsess over foreign music. This respect for country is reflected in the band's name, taken from Philippine patriot Gregorio Del Pilar, who controlled the Philippines after Spain ceded the territory following the Spanish-American War of 1898 and died fighting for independence from the Americans. Del Pilar also discusses the quest to better oneself and make something of life, as heard in the trenchant "Tandang Pananong" (which translates as "Question Mark"). There is also much musical creativity at work on Del Pilar. "Albularyo" (translated as "Quack") for instance, contains a haunting choral sound that resembles the singing of monks in a monastery. Technically, Del Pilar consists of vocalists/songwriters Marvin Icasiano and Ruben Quinquito, but the expertise of the two session musicians, guitarist Roy Nivalbos and drummer John Brown, is surely vital to the band's engaging sound. Possibly, Del Pilar patterns itself upon another Philippine group comprising two members proper, Yano, who also make penetrating, insightful music with both a folk and rock edge (one Yano member plays guitar). Del Pilar faded from the music scene without making much of a splash, yet their music deserves a second look -- and listen.
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