I’ve devoted this week so far to songs I heard in a mountaintop lookout in Cebu. Today, not entirely coincidentally, I focus on a couple of acts from Cebu. But then, as I always do on this column, I am playing catch-up. But then again, I live in Manila, and we people here, for better or worse, tend to be myopic. We’re like New Yorkers: we only see what’s in our cities, and not elsewhere. (All right, I am being a bit dishonest here: I technically live outside of Manila, just outside enough to not be considered “the south”, and to be considered provincial.) So in a way, we’re all playing catch-up. But most of you can fake it, and I can’t. Anyway…
I am also not on Spotify, so Karencitta suddenly bursting out of nowhere was something I completely missed until, well, until she did. And then, as I always would, I gave myself three months before listening to the track. It’s interesting because “Cebuana” obviously implies a sense of place, but burst of Cebuana rap aside, the song sounds like something that would go past me the first, or the second time. The song’s not even entirely shot in Cebu! Now, don’t get me wrong. The song’s a proper bop. This says more about my expectations than anything. Again, my myopia by association. I was honestly coming in expecting something different. Perhaps the appeal is that you expected something different and what you got was something you’d normally listen to anyway? The comments on YouTube are all about how she proves how Filipino music can keep pace with foreign ones – but, as we’ve shown time and time again, she isn’t certainly the first to do so. Okay. I sound like a downer. The song’s a proper bop. I have to hear more, though.
The second Cebuano act I’m highlighting comes my way from Indie Manila recently enlisting them for their third By Request gig last week or whereabouts. (Which means someone else actually requested them.) Three Legged Men‘s bio is pretty heavy-handed – “Their music is what they consider as the lovechild of thought-provoking life situations and sexy, groovy tunes.” – for a band that’s quite laid back and effortless. “Keep” sounds so effortless I was decidedly horizontal when the sax solo came in – and I love the sax; and I didn’t expect it; and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thing is, I wouldn’t call them sexy. I think that’s overused now, especially when it comes to jazzy bands this side of the world. But they’re good. Solid, tight, worth watching.
Finally, because the mood called for it, Rice Lucido. It is hotter than it should be these past few days, and Rice’s music (her EP Pahina Uno, which dropped last September, is in the usual places) is of the rainy Monday morning kind, so it sort of makes sense… but then I am taken by that subtle nudge towards sepia-toned fantasy her songs go to. Maybe it’s how the strings merge with her (positively) languid voice, almost the typical singer-songwriter type but with a linger that hits the right spots. Suddenly I doubt my having plugged her in thinking of rainy days. I feel warm, the way Lolita Carbon’s voice makes me feel. I also feel someone out there would question my comparison – but spend some time with the EP. [NB]