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What in the world is makata pop? An introduction to the band Munimuni

If this is your first time hearing about Munimuni, let me give you some advice. Head on to Spotify. Type “Munimuni” on the search bar and start listening. Done? You’re welcome.

What you’ve probably noticed about this group is that their brand of indie folk is complemented by deep, poetic lyrics written in Filipino. Which, of course, is bound to hit home even more than usual. And yes, here at SCOUT, we’re a sucker for bands that give us all the feels. Munimuni only proves that they’re definitely not here to blend into the background of the Filipino music scene. Composed of members Adj Jiao, TJ de Ocampo, John Owen Castro, Red Calayan and Jolo Ferrer, Munimuni has arrived to make a name for themselves.

The name Munimuni itself came up after a random jeepney ride where TJ realized that the word “muni-muni,” which means “reflecting,” “daydreaming” or “meditating” in English, captured the essence of their music. Formerly calling themselves The AJ Project in reference to frontman Adj (who brought all the members together), the group has been making music for around four years now with their own genre called ‘makata pop.’

What exactly is makata pop? It’s actually a term they coined themselves when they realized that what sets them apart from other indie OPM artists is their incorporation of Filipino poetry into their lyrics. Although not entirely opposed to English, they prefer writing their songs in Filipino to make them more relatable and striking to the everyday listener. Makata pop, as they describe, is a “rediscovery of the beauty of Filipino poetry,” which we hear in combination with soulful melodies and grounded, earthy folk.

One of their most heart-wrenching and memorable lyrics comes from their track “Sa Hindi Pag-Alala.” Band member TJ writes, “Kakalimutan na kita, siguraduhin mong hindi talaga pwedeng tayo.” TJ, who made the song a while back, sheepishly admits that he cringes whenever he thinks about what had inspired it before. But hey, we can’t blame him for taking the time to create. After all, the most painful experiences sometimes make for the best songs, art, stories and films.

The band has released their debut EP in March 2017 entitled “Simula,” with six tracks that’ll probably make you cry or smile if you’re going through something real personal. Munimuni is currently writing new songs for their upcoming album and we’ll definitely be looking forward to it.

You can listen to Munimuni’s EP Simula through Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud. For updates about their upcoming gigs, you can visit their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @munitheband.

By Bea Amador
Photo by Nuki Timtiman, color graded by Marilen Magsaysay

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