Moments before getting onstage for a homecoming gig last Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Strumm’s, Binky Lampano looked a bit nervous. His wife Donna seemed to be admonishing him on how many beers he’d had. His curt reply, “tatlo.”
Whether that was too much was a moot issue as soon as he sang the first few lines of “With a Little Help from My Friends.”
Lampano, channeling Joe Cocker’s version of The Beatles classic, sounded more soulful as he paced himself, instincts sharp as a cat’s, and then improvised with his own lyrics.
The hushed full-house crowd broke into shouts of approval, firing up Lampano’s ka-duet, Cooky Chua, who had earlier finished a funky set with her occasional side band Bluesviminda and was now absorbing the energy on this jam number.
The next few hours saw the audience transfixed and then loosening up to enjoy the liberating music that the band Lampano Alley was not just playing but reliving like a magical experience.
The lyrics were simple and honest: “I just wanna make love to you… You sound like a dog barking up the wrong tree… If trouble was money…” Delivered in a repetitive manner over similarly repetitive rhythms, these songs mirrored life itself unfolding in its cycle of joy, anger, toughness and vulnerability.
The music’s name is called the blues, invented by the black race, older than jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, and whose descendant is rap. That night, Binky Lampano personified the blues because he felt its power—long before he went to America where he’s now a college teacher.
He’s in Manila for a vacation and will be having another gig Monday, Aug. 17, at ’70s Bistro. The shows were organized by The Philippine Blues Society.
’70s Bistro, 46 Anonas St., Project 2, Quezon City; tel. 4343597
Mossimo Music Summit
Nightlife in TriNoma mall consists of movie choices from 10 cinemas and dozens of restaurants, the ones with a relaxing ambiance located at the fourth-floor garden rooftop.
Sitting next to each other are The Bistro Group’s Fish & Co., TGI Friday’s and Italianni’s—the third one was where we recently enjoyed a dinner of salad and penne for two at just a little over P1,000.
If you’re in the vicinity, try to come to the TriNoma Activity Center at 4 p.m. on Aug. 22 to catch the finals of the Mossimo Music Summit 2015—a talent search organized by lifestyle fashion brand Mossimo Philippines and talent/management company Curve Entertainment.
Out of hundreds who auditioned, four made it to the finals: Kristel Herrera, 22, a lounge singer from Sampaloc; Zsaris Mendioro, 27, a singer-guitarist from Los Baños, Laguna, who performs with a loop device; Mark Francis Reyes, 20, a “doble-cara” singer (one who swings from female to male voice) from Lubao, Pampanga; and the acoustic trio OTM.
We caught a media preview of their performance recently; Reyes stood out for his ability to sing “The Prayer” in soprano and baritone, while OTM was effusive in interpreting “Rather Be.”
The winner will take home P500,000 in cash and prizes from Mossimo, and sign a recording and management deal with Curve.
Buy this Christmas album
It felt weird being assisted to pass through the kitchen of The Tower at the Philamlife Building in Makati because we were dressed too casually in Lacoste shirt and blue jeans. Oh well, we didn’t know there was a formal dress code in that place; we refused to wear a coat when the staff offered us one.
We just wanted to greet Jose Mari Chan who was honoring some 38 artists who either co-wrote or arranged the songs on his album, “Going Home to Christmas,” released two years ago and which recently went platinum.
In today’s Pari (Philippine Association of the Recording Industry) standards, platinum is 15,000 CD copies sold—a big drop from the 40,000 of years ago but nonetheless phenomenal in this age of digital downloads.
Chan—whose family was present at the event—handed out plaques of appreciation to his collaborators. We strongly suggest buying the CD to hear for yourself why 15,000 people got copies themselves.