By Marjorie Gorospe “Friendship is the secret why we’ve come up with good music,” Filipino rock band BOK76 says. Calling each other “bok,” which means “brother,” the band’s members have been together for at least nine years – all in the name of music. Also known as “Bonded on Kinship,” this Filipino band is composed of Erwin Bautista (vocals), Donini Montealegre (guitars/vocals), Jay Castelo (drums/percussion), Owee Nicolas Paz (bass) and Elwynn Dayrit (guitars). Bautista and Montealegre have been together since grade school. The two had been “rivals” in many competitions but eventually they became friends. According to Bautista, the band's music reveals each member’s experiences. Montealegre composes most of the songs while the rest of group adds other elements to complete the music. “Don is the band genius. His ideas inspire the group,” Bautista says. The band has released its album “Revelations,” which is composed of 12 tracks, including the band’s latest singles “Last Kiss” and “Traydor.” “Nagpapasalamat kami sa mga traydor [We’re thankful to all traitors],” Montealegre jokingly says. This song was among the most requested songs in gigs in local bars. “Traydor” has also been the band’s ticket to local radios. As I listened to their other songs, the band’s lyrics are often sad portrayals of life. Most of their singles tackle bitterness. BOK76, however, have happier music. Their influences vary from new wave, rock, blues, metal and Japanese, says Bautista. “We just want to reveal that BOK76 is here and we exist,” Bautista says. BOK76 is set to release a music video of a new single “Sa Panaginip,” which is due this December.
Recently in OPM Category
By Marjorie Gorospe Filipino indie rock group Menaya has some news. Having had its share of radio airplay, Menaya’s second album ominously titled, “The Worst News,” is by far delivering good news for the group. One of their songs “Safer” has topped the charts of NU Rock 107 for five weeks, while another song “Favorite Sin” is climbing, according to Brian Sombero, vocalist of the group. You can listen to theirs songs from their MySpace profile or view a music video of "Safe" on YouTube. Menaya is composed of Brian Sombero on the guitar and vocals, Hepe Lavador on Drums, Mike Bacalzo in guitars and Gil Olivar on Bass. The group’s major influences include Mafia, Myriads and The Stills, which are foreign acts playing different genres of indie, post-punk, alternative to heavy metal music, depending on your taste. Sombero could not say what sets the band apart from other local acts emerging from today’s generation of indie bands. However, he says indie (independent) rock means the opposite of mainstream. “This is our music and hopefully more people will embrace it,” he adds. Hepe Lavador adds: “We cannot deny that most Filipinos listen to foreign music but we should also try to listen to original pinoy music and realize that our own music is not that ordinary.” The group is happy where it is now. But it is hoping to break the international scene “one step at a time.” Menaya is already earning a name, as it was recently tapped to become frontact for local singer and performer Ogie Alcasid with the Idols. Alcasid’s concert is produced by The Underground Studio Inc, apparently owned by the Menaya vocalist Brian Sombero.
By Clarence Yu Contributor BEING a club show band is a delicate act, and in most cases, we only see the performances of these bands, but we never get to know them in depth. In most situations, audiences like them for what they play on stage and, after awhile, start to slowly think no more of these bands than just mere entertainment. These bands, and their collective members usually play for a living, and it’s easy to discount the fact that they have their own lives, experience, frustrations, and most of all, opinions. Meet Shayne and Brown Union. Think of the real Rhythm and Blues, Pop, Motown and Funk. Hark back to Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Earth Wind and Fire and Angela Boefill. Led by lead vocalist Shayne, the band performs to standing crowds regularly at Aruba Metrowalk, Tropezz at Greenbelt, and the recently closed Bagaberde in Pasig. Rarely will you see such an excellent caliber of musicianship since the days of Music Hall in Greenhills in the 1990’s. Highlights of their set include cool renditions of 70’s and 80’s standards. “We usually play Top 40 music,” says male vocalist Tobey Padilla. “We call it ‘Chopsuey’ in short,” he adds. “Filipinos do love listening to sentimental and dance music of 70's and 80's and they never get tired of asking the same old song over and over again and we feel happy with it every time we sing those songs,” Shayne says. And just because they play Top 40 music doesn’t mean they are confined to this genre, at least in terms of influences. “I count Marty Friedman and Allan Holdsworth as my main influences,” mentions guitarist Erwin De La Cruz. Marty Friedman of the thrash metal band Megadeth? “Yes,” he confirms. On plans of making an album, “yes, but as of now, we are still waiting for a recording company that will recognize and believe in our talent,” says Rommel Bandiling, bass player and musical director. “We have our own compositions. We have a few and 3 of those are now being played in our gigs: ‘Wonderful life’, ‘I Love You’ and ‘Sadness.’” “We’ve gotten several offers to play abroad, but often turn them down because we just can’t give up on the Philippines,” drummer Ferdinand De Leon says. “It’s sad too that, unlike here in the Philippines, artists abroad get good support from their government,” adds keyboardist Arvin Martinez. “We're too focused on political issues here; instead of focusing and rebuilding a good nation and meeting the needs of every Filipino. We hope that one day, the government can support us in the arts and culture and music industry by bringing back our very own music like Kundiman, Sarswela, Balagtasan and stage plays like Florante at Laura and encourage all the composers to start writing their own songs again,” Bandiling adds. “Hopefully, people can come to see us and find that there is more than one dimension to this band,” says Shayne. Indeed, with influences ranging from the Jackson 5, to Kundiman, Shayne and Brown Union very much deserve your listening attention. Another Filipino show band I met is known as “First Five and a Half.” They are of a different breed of show bands in the country since they are more known to split your guts as you laugh through their whole tight set. Unlike any other show band I’ve seen before, this band will do something unexpected and totally improvised comedy on stage. The band boasts a wide range of knowledge in songs in their set lists, from rock, pop, AM music to OPM. From getting onstage in skirts, to starting the song with lead vocalist Arf running out into the street while singing, you’ll surely leave the bar with your sides splitting in laughter. “Our set list depends on the crowd that we examine before we start the gig. The repertoire is quite wide: we can play little bit from the 60s, 70s, most 80s, some 90s and contemporary music,” says drummer Edgar Manuel who counts Steve Gadd (drummer for Eric Clapton) as one of his influences. The band normally breaks out into improvised jams, much to the laughter and amusement of the crowd. “Anything goes with this group, spontaneously. It’s like inuman sa kanto....people respond more, they feel its not just a show,” chimes in bassist Kin Garcia. “And we try our best to make them feel part of us during the set,” says lead vocalist Arf Fausto. But this couldn’t possibly be what they want to do for the rest of their careers? “We have original material. Recording an album is easy nowadays,” says guitarist Bong Dimalanta. “What we want is a company that will support us, not just record us.” “We feel that there is a lot of hope in the air,” vocalist Ritci Austria adds. “The Filipino music industry is maturing: compared to before, OPM definitely has a lot more airtime and a following.” “But then, most of the hits are revives,” counters Manuel. “That’s why I stopped listening to the radio a few years ago and concentrated on the music I love: jazz and blues. As a serious musician, I hate the machine/programmed type of music…it’s so blunt.” This comment gets a blank stare from keyboardist Mike Abedin who is responsible for some of the keyboard sequencing on some of the songs the band does. Of course, you can tell it’s an inside joke. Aside from that, you can be sure that the musicianship is top par and is definitely worth a look-see. The band normally plays Mugen Bar at MetroWalk in Ortigas.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net I RECENTLY got this e-mail message that says Odysseylive.net is live. Labeled as a "social music network." So I went to check it out. First impressions: Odysseylive.net seems to have covered all bases. It has streaming music, featured blogs, news about gigs, and classified ads. For artists (or those who want to be a rock star), you can register and upload some of your music. You can also invite friends to join this social music network. It was also quite easy to set up a profile. The service is still in "super beta." I am not sure what that means. But I did notice some bugs as I went in to check out the service. You don't have to register though to listen to the streaming music of featured Pinoy artists on the homepage. What's interesting here is that you can also upload up to 10 megabytes of data (photos, music, etc.) to your own profile. Personally, I don't think that's enough. But this is still the super beta version, hehe. As I went in to check some of the streaming music available, I found this interesting collection of Filipino bands compiled in an album called Bandtrip2. You can listen to at least 12 of the songs in the album. I thought, "What if you want to download the music you're listening to?" Hmmm. Currently, you can only listen to the music available online but there are no indications if the music is for sale or available for download. Here's another discovery: Beach Head with their chillout (with a mix of hip hop) song called "Freestyle." According to the group's profile, "Beach Head is a project band that writes, records and shoots video's during the songs composition. " A quick check reveals that Beach Head is apparently a side project of Urbandub's Gabbie Alipe together with the Kerplunk boys. Beach Head also has a nice video available on YouTube.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net FILIPINOS overseas who long to listen to the sounds of home can access a new online music site and download an entire library of Filipino music. PinoyTunes.net has over 3,000 all-Filipino songs ranging from the latest pop and rocks songs to classics of the 80s and 90s, as well as hard-to-find songs released during the 60s and 70s. The songs are encoded in high-quality MP3 format and have been encoded with digital rights management security. which allows the copying of the downloaded songs up to five times. The songs come from such record labels as Alpha Music, Star Records, GMA Records and Villar Records. It also includes songs from independent labels giving these artists an opportunity to promote their craft. PinoyTunes.net is founded by Bambi Fonacier, who also owns music retail store Odyssey and the Touch Music Video digital entertainment station. Her aim is to reach Filipinos abroad who might want to hear the songs that they used to listen to while in the Philippines as well as show the latest music trends in the country. The site was launched during a Philippine trade exposition in New Jersey. Fonacier noted that the US is perhaps the single biggest market for their service. “Since around 70 percent of the US population is connected to the Internet, it is safe to assume that there are about three million US-based Filipinos who have access to the internet. Translated to sales this means a multi-million dollar business opportunity not only for our company but also for the Filipino music industry as a whole,” Fonacier said. Fonacier said that even artists are excited about her online library as their music can be heard worldwide and artists can earn royalties when songs are purchased and downloaded. Registration is required to download songs, with an annual membership fee of $11.99, which can be paid through online payment service PayPal. There is also a five-day trial membership worth $3.