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  • Writer's pictureArgus Persa

ALAMAT's Newest Comeback Single “kasmala” Tells Bold Historical Messages

ALAMAT is back with their brand-new single “kasmala.” This Pinoy pop (Ppop) boy band is ready to rock the world stage with their latest song that has modern R&B tinged dance pop sound mixed with historical references that pay homage to our Filipino predecessors. The eight members composed of Taneo, Mo, Jao, R-Ji, Valfer, Gami, Tomas, and Alas, have practiced and trained vigorously to bring to the world the essence of what it means to be proud Pinoys through music.

During ALAMAT’s debut, they were introduced to the world with their single “kbye.” ALAMAT shared in an exclusive interview with PARCINQ last April’s issue that their comeback song would have the same energy! Faithful to their identity as a group with a goal of promoting Ppop by using the major languages of the Philippines, ALAMAT has done it once again and took it even further as their new music video addresses anti-Asian hate and colonialism that sparked the interest and opened the eyes of their viewers.

ALAMAT’s 2nd MV “kasmala”

Since their first music video, ALAMAT quickly rose in popularity amassing a steadily growing fandom called MAGILIW. With all the love and support coming their way, the group and their fans celebrate accomplishing 100,000 YouTube views only 23 hours since kasmala's release!

A product born from the collaboration of Swedish and Filipino producers, kasmala also contains music from traditional Filipino instruments like the ‘Hegalong’ and the ‘Agung’. Listen carefully and you can hear them in the background!

The name kasmala is a disjointed word play on the Tagalog word ‘malakas’ which means strong. Their new single featured seven Philippine languages: Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Bicolano, and Waray-Waray, all sung by the eight members and told a history forgotten until ALAMAT paid it the homage it deserves.

The History Portrayed in Kasmala's Music Video

Every Magiliw, and even casual viewers, revelled in the three sets of concept photos that teased ALAMAT's comeback song! The first set being “Muhi” where the members boldly posed with eccentric headpieces made by contemporary artist Leeroy New. All these headpieces were personally selected by each member from New's collection. The headpieces feature real insults and slogans that were used against the Filipinos from the late 1800s to as recently as the late 2010s.

The second set is named “Migrante” where ALAMAT represented the ‘manongs’ in custom Mark Dela Peña westernized ensemble. The final set revealed was called “Mandirigma,” this time showcasing the ALAMAT members in fashion born from the modernization of traditional Filipino Warrior clothing made by fashion designer Victor Baguilat Jr. as part of his Kandama Collective.

Photo Courtesy of ALAMAT

A history not widely taught in Philippine education, one of the stories ALAMAT members portrayed in the music video is the 1904 St Louis World Fair and how they displayed Filipinos like animals in a zoo. Other indigenous tribes (Pygmies from Central Africa, Indians, people from the Arctic Region and more) along with the Bontoc-Igorrotes 'Head-Hunters’ (native Filipinos), were put inside an exhibit that mimicked their homeland. Taneo, a half-Igorot, portrayed this part in the MV. In the fair, the Igorots were made to kill and eat dogs 'daily' to bring excitement to the audience, a highlight shown by Gami.

Photos Courtesy of VIVA/ALAMAT Official

The Americans profited from this inhumane treatment, and used it to ‘prove’ that white people were superior and that it was their duty to colonize these tribes in order to save them from their uncivilized living. They would wash Filipinos in the act of ‘civilizing’ them as displayed by Alas at the first part of the MV.

Photo Courtesy of VIVA/ALAMAT Official

The second reference from history would be the ‘manongs’, the first generation of migrant Filipinos in America who had crucial roles in the farmworker movement; but they have been severely discriminated against. They had to adapt to the way that the Americans had dressed.

Photos Courtesy of VIVA/ALAMAT Official

As many of the Filipinos were bachelors, the white people became threatened by their presence and accused them of taking their white women. Due to this, they became targeted to violent attacks that even led to death. Soon, a law was passed that interracial relationships between Filipinos and Americans were forbidden.

The members performed Eskrima (Kali and Arnis) a martial art widely known in the Philippines that uses the combination of sharp, blunt, or improvised weapons combined with hand-to-hand combat. Hollywood had used this martial arts within their films, but the Filipino culture was never credited. The Arnis Dance routine was performed in the establishment of the Artist Society in the US to protect in self-defense after the killings of Filipino migrants in America.

Photo Courtesy of VIVA/ALAMAT Official

ALAMAT does not shy away from the dark sides of Philippine History and the harsh racism that our ancestors battled outside of our homeland. The members did extraordinary acting out "Asian-Hate" and "Filipino Hate" in the music video.

Photos Courtesy of VIVA/ALAMAT Official

At the end of kasmala’s music video, you can see the members wearing a golden sash that is actually inspired by ‘sablay’ that Filipinos commonly wear during graduation.

Photo Courtesy of VIVA/ALAMAT Official

Every single frame from the kasmala music video contains easter-eggs that represent the story ALAMAT wanted to portray. Through their clothing designs, their set, their choreography, and their use of props with hidden meanings, they brought back a history that a lot of people have long since left behind.

Once again, ALAMAT has been devoted to their concept with an even bolder display of Filipino culture with the release of 'kasmala.' The Ppop boy band lives up to its message and goals, not just by bringing pride to the Philippines with their performances, but also by educating their viewers.

Watch ALAMAT's latest single 'kasmala' here:

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