The Local Outsider #17: Bianca Catibayan, Bea Lorenzo and Jegs Benedict

This is one of those times when I question, slightly, why I decided to act like this blog is a serious one, by introducing regular segments like this one. Once again, I have been busy, but this time, so busy I am writing this the morning of the publication date. I typically pre-write these things (like most prudent so-called bloggers do) but now, well, cramming time! I guess it’s also why I have been gravitating towards singer-songwriters on the Local Outsider in recent months. It’s deceivingly simple and there’s less pressure to “get it right”, so to speak. With that, more of them, because why not?

 

 

First, another hat-tip to friend of the blog John, whose tweets saved my cramming blogger life, especially this morning. I had Bianca Catibayan on the list for a while now, in part because he tweeted about her, and in part because my younger brother actually follows her. I think she’s from La Salle too? One of those singing groups sequestered often at the SPS building? Do I remember that conversation right? Yes, yes I do. Innersoul. When I was a student there ten years ago those kids were somewhat mythical. If you didn’t know one of them personally, you’d be mesmerized when you see them perform, descending from the clouds with their voices. I might be exaggerating, but then, so are most things about college. Anyway, there really isn’t a lot on her Soundcloud page at the moment: mostly covers, but there is this one original from three years ago, aptly titled “Good Morning” because, well, it’s the morning and I am cramming this. This song’s got a spring in its step that I honestly didn’t expect, and Bianca’s expressive vocal does much of the heavy lifting. Good morning, indeed. More, please.

 

Now, someone who I just added on the list, although it’s not because she was on the radio yesterday. (I was in meetings the whole day – and night – yesterday. Told you I was busy. Anyway, Bea Lorenzo. Her selling point (for lack of a better term) is her use of the kalimba, which meant I had to run to Wikipedia. “The mbira is an African musical instrument consisting of a wooden board with attached staggered metal tines, played by holding the instrument in the hands and plucking the tines with the thumbs.” The kalimba is a western version of sorts, which led to the instrument’s popularity outside the continent. Now, I can’t find an original, or I’m just terrible at searching these days, but here’s the kalimba at work nonetheless, as she covers Wicked. It fits her voice, doesn’t it? Nice to wake up to. I imagine Lullatone, or something along those lines. Once again, more, please.

 

 

Finally, Jegs Benedict, another guy on my list (and possibly the same guy who sent us this) (and, also, a frequent collaborator with Nikki Nava, who we wrote about a couple of months back). You read that he plays the uke and you sort of know what to expect, and yet it isn’t, really. That instrument’s had an unfair reputation as an instrument for manic pixie dream people, the subjects of your dreams – and for some indie pop groups, the sound of “woo hoo!”-esque youth. Yet “My Tsunami” has a driving gravitas that I appreciate, and one that I barely hear from songs using the uke. It’s not light, it does not force itself to be light – and even if the tropes are there, it feels mature, grown-up. Perhaps it’s Jegs’ voice, confident and not coy, punching through despite the tropes. I like it, quite. (And if you’re looking for something more, um, conventional, there’s “Desperately”, which does calm me down after frantic, yes, cramming.) (So that wraps up this column. You survived, Niko. Now, don’t cram next time, okay?) [NB]

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