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Karl Ramirez

Karl Ramirez is a Filipino activist singer-composer, music producer, and frontman of the alternative pop-rock band Pordalab.


He is currently a coordinator for Musika Publiko, former Executive Director of the League of Authors of Public Interest Songs (LAPIS), a member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) and the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (FILSCAP).

His song Convergence won the grand prize in Net-25’s 2010 songwriting competition. He was also selected as a participant in the 1st Elements National Songwriting Camp held by Ryan Cayabyab’s 7101 Music Nation.

"Ramirez was introduced to music at a very young age. His mother, Divina, gave him piano lessons every after Sunday school, while his father, Mon, a licensed and topnotch engineer and creator of Arkibong Bayan, taught him how to play the guitar. He self-studied the violin when he was in high school. 'The skills I learned through the years of learning those three instruments helped a lot when I started arranging music,' Ramirez said.
It was in 1998, while studying in the University of the Philippines in Diliman, when Ramirez first tried his hand at musical arrangement, mostly musical scores for independently produced film and documentaries. 'At that time, even if production was already computer-based, the recorded output was crude and uneven, with a lot of hisses and hums,' said Ramirez. During his stay in UP Diliman, Ramirez became an active member of Ibalon and Agham-Youth. Ramirez’s early works can be found in his online portfolio.
In 2001, Ramirez further improved his craft when he joined BicolXPress , a progressive and independent audiovisual organization in Bicol. “Being immersed with the oppressed and exploited, it became a necessity to do research on cheap, more efficient and convenient means of producing and recording music scores,” Ramirez said. In 2006, Ramirez produced the musical score for BicolXPress’s human rights movie Hustisya! , an instrumental renditon of Tambisan sa Sining’s 'Awit ng Pag-asa.'
It was only in 2009, that Ramirez started writing and performing his own songs. One of his first musical creations, 'Alagaan ang Kalikasan (Caring for the Environment),' became the official theme for the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center’s segment in Radyo Veritas aired every Friday at 7:30 a.m. Ramirez later produced musical arrangements and accompaniments for the progressive stage musical Makata’y Mandirigma, Mandirigma’y Makata , which he said is a fusion pop and rock orchestra."
-- from Makibaka: Music Inspired by the Struggle for Change Ayi Muallam /

Pordalab Edit

According to the band's description:

We perform to inspire people to love. We perform to encourage people to care about others and our country. We are a relatively new band, but what we sing and the collaborations we do go as far as 2009. Originals mostly written by our musical director, songwriter, and music producer Karl Ramirez.


Discography listing needs updating.

In November 2010, he released an online compilation Makibaka! Rakenrol Tungong Pagbabago (Struggle! Rock ‘n Roll Towards Change) a collection of rock & pop songs for and about the people’s struggle for meaningful change. Songs Desap, Panata sa Bayan, Mananatili Ka (Written by Empiel Palma), Elian, Sobra-Sobra (Written by Yen & Karatula), Song of the League (Written by Danny Fabella), and Dahil (Written by Ericson Acosta), all produced independently, were released shortly after. A self-published CD edition containing 17 tracks was released in August 2011.

Two new original songs – Tumugon sa Hamon and Free were released in the first week of September 2011.

Members of the band Plagpul and Sinangag, namely Pol Torrente, Jay Jamoralin, Leo Daniel Isais, Jimmy Jamoralin, Peter Panelo, Ephraim Leynes, and fellow people’s artists Roselle Pineda, Loujaye Sonido and maestro Tony Palis have greatly contributed in live performances of songs Makibaka, Desap, Elian, and Sobra-Sobra.



List of Works and CollaborationsEdit

Songwriter, Arranger and Performer:

Arranger and Performer:

Sound Engineer and Producer:

  • Free the 43 – Written by Carl Lopez and performed by Aki Merced and Renato Reyes (2010)
  • Desaparecido – A violin rendition performed by Jonathan for the musical Mrs. B (2010)

Composer and Arranger – Original Sound Track of “Ka Bel” a documentary feature by Mayday Productions about the life of Filipino labor leader Crispin Beltran, March 2011

Musical Arrangement – 8 song segments in the musical “Makata’y Mandrigima, Mandirigma’y Makata” a Filpino musical staged at the UP Diliman Theater, November 30, 2009. Written by National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera and Palanca awardee Edward Perez. Directed by Rommel Linatoc. Musical direction by Rica Palis.

Songwriter and Arranger – Original Sound Track of “Hustisya” a video documentary about human rights produced by the Bikol X Press, 2006

Further readingEdit

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