Events are never complete without karaoke. For us Filipinos, it is a big part of our lives. Whether it’s a reunion, an outing, a birthday party, or a holiday, expect that in the Philippines a karaoke machine is ready to play your song of choice. It doesn’t matter if the person isn’t as great as Whitney Houston, backing down from singing is not the Filipino way.
In every celebration there will always be the karaoke machine that we rented for 500 pesos and that is already for 24 hours. I remember one time when my aunt who works at Hong-kong went home and we celebrated my grandma’s 82nd birthday at a resort, it was a family reunion at the same time, she challenged everyone to sing and the one who achieved the highest score will be given 1000 pesos as a prize. My relatives are very good singers, I wish I inherited that talent, unfortunately I have a very low range and I can’t sing high notes.
Karaoke is known for its popularity in Japan. It is a form of interactive entertainment which an amateur singer sings along with an instrumental version of a well-known song using a microphone. Lyrics are displayed on screen with a moving symbol to guide a singer. Alongside is a big and thick songbook with all the songs that are basically arranged in ascending order with its corresponding number
But what exactly is the reason why Filipinos are obsessed with karaoke?
In Philippines, we’re naturally born singers (being in tune or not). Wherever we may go, we always bring our love to singing. So, don’t be surprised if you’ll hear a Filipino screaming out one of Beyoncé’s “Love on Top” song. Singing high, over-the-top notes is what we mostly do best.
Here are the lists of why karaoke’s are awesome.
First, we simply like singing. Whatever were doing when we are in the mood we suddenly caught ourselves singing. Most especially when we are bored in the house or office. When I’m at work whenever they play a song that I know the lyrics, I habitually started singing along with it even my colleagues enjoy singing along. There were times when they play songs with a really high note and some of my colleagues will try to hit that note and we laugh when their voice will crack and will clap when they hit the note. We usually sing in the shower, when we’re cooking, doing laundry or cleaning the house. Filipinos really love music and singing along with it.
Second. It’s a stress reliever. Life never stops on giving stress in our life, and for some Filipinos singing in karaoke machine is not just for entertaining, expressing or bonding but also to relieve their stress by singing alone or with friends.
There was one time when my friend was broken hearted and we decided to go to one of those KTV bar to have a bonding and cheer up our friend. My pal is a really great singer and even became a champion to one of the singing contest that were organized by our municipality. She chooses to sing ‘When I look at you’ by Miley Cyrus and she really let out all her emotions while singing, I thought she was going to burst out and cry but she didn’t. After that she told me that she felt much better after singing in the Karaoke. When Filipinos are having problems, often times we just sing our hearts out to feel lessen our burdens in life.
Third. When Filipinos are in love. There is a traditional form of courtship that was very popular in Filipinos way back the early part of Spanish colonization to Philippines. It is called Harana or Serenade in English it is where the suitor will visit the house of a lady and sing by her window until she comes out to either accept or deny him. The suitor may or may not be accompanied, but usually his companions will be playing guitar or backup vocals as he sings. This practice is not being used now but I think this is one of the reasons why there are a lot of good singers in the country.
Fourth. For Entertainment. Let’s admit it karaoke is the best source of entertainment in every event of a Filipinos life, from birthdays, to barangay fiestas and to weddings. Karaoke is always there to make your party twice entertaining. Either with a good voice or bad it’s because Filipino feel connected when it comes to singing.
Fifth. To express. Singing is one of many ways to express your feelings, and because there are many karaoke machines in the Philippines, we always want to express our feelings by singing on the nearest karaoke machine. Whether we are happy or sad we just want to sing it out.
Sixth. To bond. Karaoke is one of the best ways of bonding with your friends or family. Even though you’re not a family of singers, it still gives an impact if you sing together. Because a family that sings together, stays together.
Some of the most commonly sung Filipino songs are Dadalhin by Regine Velasquez, Halaga by Parokya ni Edgar, spoliarium by Eraserheads and Narda by Kamikazee. We also love Englsih songs like Mr. Brightside by The Killers, Bring me to Life by Evanescence and It’s all coming back to me now by Celine dion. Filipinos also sings foreign non-English songs like Voltes V no Uta, First Love by Utada Hikaru from Japan and even K-pop. I have this friend who is a huge K-pop fan, she tried to sing a Korean song by the girl group 2ne1 and she did get the notes and the lyrics, it is upbeat and has a really catchy tune.
When I was a student, we also rent karaoke machines when we have a Christmas party and that was the time that we can showcase our talents in singing. It was an amazing experience because you’ll be surprise how talented your classmates are and they really have a good voice, even our teachers can sing really well too, I guess they develop those good vocals in speaking in front of a class every single day.
When I was working at Manila our office have a recreation area wherein the employees can play billiards, ping pong and have a room for karaoke. It was great because it is somehow a stress reliever at the workplace. Me and my colleagues sometimes hang out and bond by singing. Here in my current workplace they don’t have a karaoke but they still have a recreation area, but we are free to sing in our stations since they always play a music in the speaker, but we can’t be too loud to respect our coworkers who’s focusing on their job.
Singing is really a huge part of our life that even our very own President confidently sings at the House of Representative after delivering his State of the Nation Address 2019. He sang Henry Mancini’s Moon River together with the Philippines Philharmonic Orchestra.
It is an understatement to say that Filipinos love karaoke. Almost every Philippine home has a karaoke machine or a Magic Sing microphone – a digital mic that turns your television into a karaoke machine. Other types of karaoke machine are Grand Videoke Symphony Karaoke Player and Platinum Bravo Multimedia Videoke.
Sadly, this playful pastime also has some dark history. In the past decade, at least half a dozen people have been murdered after singing Frank Sinatra’s My Way in Philippine karaoke bars. The My Way Killings were reported on heavily last 2010 in the international press. It just became a joke by Filipinos that the song “My Way” is the deadliest song in the Philippines. In working class blue collar bars, fights break out due to reasons like bad singing, refusing to give up the mike and revenge for perceived insults when jeered. As the song is very popular in these bars, the song being sung when deaths occur is often “My Way”. Due to the many deaths, many bars and restaurants have banned the song on their premises.
According to the journals of Jose Rizal, while he was in Japan, he stopped when he heard a band playing Strauss. Apparently moved by the performance, he inched closer and heard them mutter in a recognizable dialect. They were talking in Tagalog. He later learned that these were his fellow countrymen performing overseas.
The Philippines has been influenced by numerous cultures, so it’s not surprising that our melodies are diverse and unique among Asias countries. Music and dance are part of any Pinoy occasion, whether it’s religious or cultural.
Largely because of the Western influence since the 1500s, the Filipino songs are hybrids of some sort. One of the forms of these songs is the kundiman which is characterized by a soulful and gentle style. We have troubadours, too. Songwriters like Levi Celerio or Freddie Aguilar are noted for their ballads and folk songs. Think about the likes of the song “Rosas Pandan,” and you’ll see why Filipino songs seem to flow more “smoothly” and are easy to listen to. Another likely reason for Pinoy vocal talent is our prowess with the English language. Majority of our popular songs are, after all, in English.
Singing karaoke has its benefits. Since singing requires a person to think, it means that the person doing it has to use their brain. Whenever you are singing, you have to follow along the rhythm, melody and lyrics to the song. In addition, the emotions from the song you may be singing also connect you to the act. Performing karaoke stimulates your brain because it raises the bar on all of those things you normally do when singing alone or to yourself. When singing a lot of air flows to the brain in the activity of neurons that integrate physical, emotional and psychological to feel excited.
Singing is a natural anti-depressant it is known to release endorphins, the feel-good brain chemical that makes you feel uplifted and happy. In addition, scientists have identified a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus, which responds to the frequencies created by singing. The response creates an immediate sense of pleasure, regardless of what the singing sounds like. Not only that, but singing can simply take your mind off the day’s troubles to boost your mood. Singing is relaxing thus, it lowers our stress levels it releases stored muscle tension and decreases the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol in the blood stream.
When someone has to sing karaoke, they usually have to use their whole body. In turn, this forces us to breath better and with more ease. The muscles from your diaphragm and lungs become fully expanded. In addition, you also cause your abdominal muscles to be more relaxed. That results in better breathing.
Studies suggest that singing and listening to music improves mood, behavior, and memory in dementia patients. Ever notice how easier it is to rhyme words when you sing them rather than speak them? It’s because you’ve tapped into the pattern recognition power of the right side of the brain. Like memorizing other things, this will boost the level of acetylcholine, which is associated with memory in your brain. Music has shown to be a powerful memory retention tool and singing can boost your mood as well.
As well as the fact that singing makes you feel good physically, learning to sing has great mental benefits too. Learning to sing songs improves your reading skills and your motor skills, by developing the coordination between your brain and your body. It’s an artistic activity but also a structured and disciplined one, especially when you sing with others. Singing also helps to calm negative mental chatter because it helps you focus more on the job of singing which stops you from dwelling on life’s issues and problems.
Singing is actually a form of meditation. When you sing, you shift your focus away from your usual life happenings and concerns, towards something positive. It’s a great way of bypassing your ego to acknowledge your soul. It’s also wonderful for relationships and connecting people spiritually and naturally. Singing creates some sort of positive energy inside the body that infectious and transparently good for everyone.
If public speaking is your worst nightmare, then you should start singing karaoke more often. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and sing in a room full of people. Even more so when you have to do it in front of a bunch of strangers. You can start by singing in karaoke with friends and people who already know the drill. Doing karaoke is one of the best things to do which could hopefully kill your stage fear and make for an enjoyable experience. This is one of the reasons why singing karaoke builds so much confidence in those that do it. You also lose any shyness or shame you may have when you sing. Your self-confidence and self-esteem will increase dramatically by singing karaoke.
There are many people who are really shy and don’t really like to sing in front of people. However, that doesn’t mean that they do not have a great voice. On the contrary. In many cases, some people have great voices but were always too shy to sing in front of others. Karaoke lets you showcase your hidden talent. It is possible you may not even know how great you can sing until others hear you. Or until you hear yourself in front of other people.
Singing karaoke also lets you socialize, in most of the cases when karaoke sessions take place, a large gathering of friends, family and people come together. This helps all of those that participate come together with others. It is a perfect situation for socializing and enjoying those around you. You can also meet new people and have fun while you are at it.
If there is one thing you can take away from singing karaoke, it’s that it is very fun. Whether you choose to sing or not, chances are you will enjoy the show. However, taking part in the singing will make it an even more memorable event for you. When we sing, our body releases hormones that that cause us to be happy.
The Philippines may be a third world country, but it is ranked as the third happiest in the world. With this in mind, it’s safe to assume that the reason Filipinos love to sing is to express their happiness. Even when faced with numerous problems, we remain resilient and positive, often singing through the greatest woes. We sing to our loved ones, babies, co-workers, favorite sport teams, even to our worst enemies in form of furious war cries or protest songs. I think that it is something that even other nations admire.