Discovering “Great” Pinoy Funk

By Guest Contributor Ninoy Brown, originally published at FOBBDeep

Recently, a personal mission of mine has been to scour for Pinoy funk.  Music from the Philippines, as well as from Filipinos living abroad.  Having been exposed to more funk recently, since I’ve surrounded myself with lockers and boogaloo style dancers, I’ve been wanting to expand beyond Kano’s “I’m Ready” and Herbie Hancock’s “Ready or Not”.  Rather than deciding to make this task easy for myself, why not create a challenge and find some funky ass Pinoy cuts?

The latest discovery: a pre-gentrified SF Mission District funk group named Dakila.

Dakila is a ’70s era group with which I had no prior knowledge.  In a world where online commentary is a sea of ignorance and hatred, the last place one might try to find information about a group would be in the YouTube comments section.  It appears I need to have more faith in this forum because this is where I found most of my information regarding the family connected octet, consisting of David Bustamante (guitar), Bert Ancheta (guitar), Fred Ancheta (bass guitar), Frank Magtoto (drums), Romeo Bustamante (organ), Carlos Badia (congas), Michael Gopaul (timbales).

Their only album, Dakila, was released in 1972 and recorded in San Mateo and released by Epic Records.  With a Latin infused rock/funk sound reminiscent of Santana, Dakila also brought in Filipino influences, rockin’ in Tagalog on some of the tracks.  I wish I knew more about this era and other Fil Ams doing music at the time, as it would be interesting to know who, and even how many, folks were singing Tagalog on a major label release.

On the protest chant inspired track “Makibaka/Ikalat” (dare to struggle/spread it around), Dakila sang for struggle along with unity.  Considering that this album dropped in 1972, a year that lives in infamy in the Philippines as a year that martial law was declared, I can only wonder, at this point, whether or not the message was connected back to what was going on in the Philippines.  “El Dubi” is nice 5 minute and 47 second instrumental track that features some hard breaks that scream to be sampled.

According to the YouTube comments, at least one of the members have passed, but it would be a blessing to see this group reunited, especially for folks who just got hipped to their flavor, such as myself.

Dakila – “Makibaka/Ikalat”

Dakila – “El Dubi”

All credit due to Wilfred for schoolin me on hella old school Pinoy music. He’s in a trippy band called The ElectricSonic Chamber.  You should check them out.

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