July 11, 2011

Bahaghari Band of Iloilo

2007 - This is an old article posted by 'gustongmagingmanhid' blog.

Bahaghari Band. Standing, Leonard Mabaquiao and Ryan Lloyd Lagon. Sitting (from left) Jerwin Ocate, Alvan Dianala, Phillip Paloma, Roy Balin, Jeomar Gestuvieo, Ian Infante and Frederick Esguerra

The music
Reggae, a music genre developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s is sometimes used in a broad sense to refer types of Jamaican music. It is based on rhythm style; the tempo is slower than ska and rocksteady and is often associated with the Rastafari movement. Rastas influences many prominent reggae musicians in the 70s and 80s.

“We are not Rastas!” Phillip Paloma laughed his famous laugh. Everyone in the group agreed.

“I love taking a bath everyday,” Ryan Lloyd Lagon added which again everyone nodded in conformity.

“You see, everybody can love reggae. It doesn’t necessary that you have to smoke weed just to enjoy the music,” Frederick Esguerra explained.

Reggae song lyrics deal with many subjects, including faith, love, relationships, poverty, injustice and other broad social issues.

Bahaghari wants to speak the universal language of many issues through reggae.

The band
Formed one night in 2004 in a drinking session, nine willing bodies from different bands and music influences picked their instruments and launched themselves as Bahaghari.

“Bahaghari or rainbow has different colors. Every color is beautiful to see but would it be more wonderful and majestic if these different colors merge?” Phillip said.

The band, composed of Phillip Paloma (vocals/guitars), Leonard Mabaquiao (drums), Ryan Lloyd Lagon (guitars/keyboards), Alvan Dianala (bass), Ian Infante (sax), Jerwin Ocate (trumpet), Jeomar Gestuvieo (thrombon), Frederick Esguerra (percussions) and Roy Balin (sound engineer) started doing reggae songs to entertain Ilonggo crowd.

“They are few reggae bands here in Iloilo,” says Phillip, the spokesperson of the group. “We do not expect we penetrate the scene. All we want is to bridge the gap between regions of beliefs.”

Dreadlocks and influences
The wearing of dreadlocks is very closely associated with Rastas, people who love reggae but as they say “Not every dread is a Rasta and not every Rasta is a dread…”. This is true among the group since they are not part of the Rasta Culture.

“This is mainly for fashion,” says Lloyd as he showed his dreadlocks.

If there are spiritual guides for the band, then it would be Tropical Depression and Gondwana.

Gondwana, a Chilean Band has been spreading the word of Jah Love. With pulsating energy and a smooth sound, seven polished musicians are the soul of Chile’s number one reggae band today. Spirit moving falsetto notes, bubbling bass and hard drums, tight horns and guitars with the ability to move with ease in a sound ranging from calypso to hard rock; are the skillful ingredients found in the highly acclaimed Gondwana.

Tropical Depression has been supportive to Bahaghari. Papa Dom’s group has been inspiring the Ilonggo boys of the love and affinity for the reggae sounds. Since the time Tropical Depression functioned as a gateway of introducing reggae riddim to the country, Bahaghari has been an avid follower.

The gigs
In February 2004 Bahaghari conquered the stage of Shellsyd Bar and Resto Grill. From then on, expect a “standing room only” every Tuesday and Saturday nights at Shellsyd.

“We get nervous when the crowd digs us; they can be rowdy, we don’t like that. Though we get excited, as much as possible we remain passive sa reaction ng crowd,” Phillip said.

One unforgettable experience the band had was their gig in Guimbal.

“Kinulong kami sa gym, ayaw kami palabasin because the crowd wanted more songs from us,” Alvan narrated. “But we were happy because the crowd liked us.”

The band is lucky enough to have who they consider as their best in line and lucky charms. Freshly out from High School, Ian, Jerwin and Jomar bring good vibes to the group. With entrance of the three youngsters in the band, Bahaghari started going covers for several national reggae bands’ concerts here in Iloilo, Davao, Manila and other major cities in the country.

On June 24, 2007 Bahaghari jammed with other famous reggae bands in the Manila Reggae Summit. On August 14, 2007, they rubbed elbows with Papa Dom and the Tropical Depression. They also had their leeway of performing with Tribu ni Mali and IndioI.

Bahaghari finished recording demo songs to be included in a compilation album called Island Riddims 2 to be available next year. Right now, they are in preparation for the Reggae Summit happening here in Iloilo next year.

Reggae is synonymous with life. To be aware of the music, we have to go to the roots same way we want to appreciate life. Bahaghari Band is understanding life in every reggae song they play.

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