The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Open Grounds came alive on Saturday, November 11, as the much-anticipated “Fusion: The Philippine Music Festival” took center stage. This musical spectacle, aptly named Fusion Freedom 2023, celebrated the rich tapestry of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) by bringing together artists from diverse genres and generations.
Before the main event kicked off, the afternoon witnessed the FreeJam intercollegiate battle of the bands, where budding talents in the Philippine music scene battled for supremacy. The competition culminated with the emergence of PAU as the winning band, capturing the hearts of both the audience and the judges.
Congratulations to PAU for winning FREEJAM: Battle of the bands! Your music and hardwork paid off. We wish you good luck on your trailblazing future ahead! 🧡✨#CelebrateFusionFreedom pic.twitter.com/TTVqelNvNH— Fusion PH Music Fest (@FusionPHFest) November 11, 2023
The evening festivities began with a dynamic lineup of performances from OPM luminaries, showcasing the breadth and depth of Filipino musical talent. Gracenote and 6cyclemind set the stage on fire with renditions of their iconic hits, ‘When I Dream About You’ and ‘Sige,’ respectively. The baton was then passed to the new generation with ‘Hey! June’ and rapper Al James delivering electrifying sets.
Shanti Dope took the stage and, in a surprise move, invited Gloc 9 for a show-stopping collaboration on “Shantidope.” Gloc 9 continued to captivate the audience with a rap set featuring his chart-topping hits like ‘Sumayaw Ka’ and ‘Sirena.’ Soul Supreme KZ Tandingan followed suit, leaving an indelible mark with performances of ‘Marupok,’ ‘Imposible,’ and ‘Labo.’
The rock icon Bamboo graced the festival with his presence, delivering unforgettable renditions of ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Awit ng Kabataan.’ The night took a sensual turn with the sultry stage presence of Denise Julia, paving the way for Asia’s Phoenix Morissette to showcase her vocal prowess. Morissette later brought out Fil-Am singer-songwriter Troy Laureta for a spellbinding first live performance of their collaboration cover, ‘Ang Huling El Bimbo.’
The new generation of hitmakers, Adie and Arthur Nery, continued to elevate the energy, creating ‘kilig’ vibes among the audience. The nine-piece band Ben&Ben added their unique sound to the mix, leading up to the grand finale.
Closing the night on a high note, P-pop Kings SB19 took the stage, delivering an impressive performance of their chart-topping hits, including ‘GENTO,’ ‘I Want You,’ ‘Ilaw,’ ‘Freedom,’ and ‘CRIMZONE.’ Despite a momentary technical problem when the music unexpectedly stopped during their first performance, SB19 showcased professionalism by seamlessly transitioning into an acapella rendition, earning them thunderous applause from their dedicated fan base, A’TIN.
In an official statement, the organizers expressed gratitude to the attendees for contributing to the special atmosphere of the event. “Your support is the heart of this celebration, and we truly couldn’t have done it without each one of you,” stated the organizers in a social media post.
Fusion Freedom 2023 proved to be a historic night, uniting OPM legends and emerging talents in a celebration of Filipino music that will resonate in the hearts of fans for years to come. As the echoes of Fusion Freedom 2023 linger, the festival stands as a testament to the enduring power of Original Pinoy Music.
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