Filipino artistic expression + Christian faith + KBP requirement + musically-gifted individuals = PAPURI!
The 1970’s marked the period of westernization of Philippine music and Christianity with the proliferation of international singing groups, English hymns and Gospel songs.
To curb the looming foreign takeover of the Philippine music scene, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) issued a directive to all radio networks to air Original Pilipino music beginning in 1977. Far East Broadcasting Company initially complied with the KBP ruling by playing Filipino adaptations of Gospel songs. But because of the scarcity of materials, it was quickly axed. Evidently, something more Filipino was needed.
Enter FEBC’s Hymnody Project in 1978. With American missionary Dr. Gordon England at the helm, it began developing music that was truly Christian and uniquely Filipino. Together with 15 young men and women involved in the music ministry, Dr. England started the first all-Filipino original Christian music project. Sixteen songs were selected. Some were already known and widely used in churches while some were freshly written.
While meditating on the first chapter of Ephesians, Mr. Efren Pallorina, then 702 DZAS station manager, was able to coin the name PAPURI!, the Tagalog word for praise, for the project. He also developed the concept of three C’s of putting the project together as a bundle—producing a cassette album, publishing a chordbook and mounting a live concert.
The first PAPURI! concert was held at the jampacked Philamlife Theater on UN Avenue, Manila on October 26, 1979. From then on, PAPURI! was positioned as FEBC’s music arm and a handmaid of the Church on the air and in public.
Over the years, the original three Cs of PAPURI!—cassette, chordbook, concert—have expanded to include another C, church promotions, whose purpose is to introduce and encourage the use of original Pilipino music in their worship, fellowship and evangelism programs.