My Google Page Rank

Philippines' musicians sing their way out of poverty

PDFPrintE-mail

On a mock-up stage in a Philippine music studio, single-mum Joanna Talibong is singing for her life.

The former church-choir girl is nervous and struggling to stay in key as she battles through more than a dozen takes of the syrupy Olivia Newton-John ballad "Suddenly".

If she and keyboard-playing friend Jason Panggoy can get their video-demo right, they stand a chance of securing a series of gigs in South Korea that would enable them to start a long journey out of crushing poverty.

"I did not finish college, so I don't have many job options... overseas I can earn a lot more," the carpenter's daughter tells AFP during a break from singing at the studio in a rundown quarter of Manila, the country's capital.

Roughly nine million Filipinos, or 10 percent of the population, work overseas because there are so few job opportunities in their largely impoverished homeland.

While many toil as largely anonymous maids, sailors, construction workers and labourers in foreign countries, tens of thousands also stand under spotlights entertaining crowds as singers and musicians.

From high-class hotel bars in the Middle East to Las Vegas casinos, ex-pat pubs in Asia and luxury cruise liners sailing the Caribbean, Filipinos are often found performing near-perfect cover versions of almost any genre.

Talibong is desperate to join them, or she will be forced back to a bar in a small northern Philippine city where for the past three months she and Panggoy have played to tobacco traders and travelling salesmen for $3.50 a night.

Adding to her problems is her nine-month-old son, who has a clubbed foot and lives with his grandparents while Talibong pursues her musical career.
Her manager has lined up a six-month booking for Talibong and Panggoy at bars in South Korea that would pay them each $800 a month, and she knows exactly where her first pay cheques would be be spent.

"My priority is an operation for my son's clubbed foot. That's really my goal. That's what's pushing me to work really hard," says Talibong, who is just 21 years old.

But first the duo's demo tape -- which also includes a Taylor Swift and Matchbox 20 numbers -- must pass muster with the artist review board in Seoul, a review process that takes about a month.

Their manager, Wilma Ipil, who has been sending an average of two bands to South Korea every month since 2008, concedes the duo may not get the gig, amid growing competition from other Filipino talents trying to make it overseas.

"Previously, even inexperienced musicians got hired," says Ipil, who sang in Hong Kong, Thailand and China herself before going into band management.

"But now, with the wealth of talent available, promoters have become more discriminating."

Nevertheless, the demand for Filipino performers overseas is enormous, according to Jackson Gan, the head of the music studio where Talibong is recording her demo.

"Our only competition is ourselves. The whole world knows that if you have a low budget but need quality, you get Filipino talent," says Gan, who also acts as an agent for other export acts.

Gan estimates between 25,000 and 30,000 Filipino musicians and singers play in 3,000 clubs, hotels, cruise ships and restaurants around the world at any one time. The pay generally ranges from $800-1,500 a month, according to Gan.

He says even Malaysian, Indonesian, Australian, and Chinese bands tend to recruit Filipina lead singers.

Gan attributes the success of Filipino performers overseas to the deep roles music and dance have in local culture.

Singing contests are often the highlights of village fairs and beauty contests, while song and dance are a staple of the most popular national television game shows.

Karaoke is one of the country's most loved forms of entertainment, with guests at weddings and birthday parties expected to be able to belt out songs behind a microphone to entertain their hosts.

Karaoke is also a mainstay at bars, restaurants and shopping centres.

"Some of my singers were discovered at karaoke joints," says Gan, a 20-year veteran of the business, whose scouting regimen sees him serving as judge at singing contests in remote villages across the country.

Gan says Philippine musicians are also well-known for their warm audience rapport, a reflection of a general easygoing nature for which Filipinos are famous.

"That is a very important part of the music. It's not just plain singing," he says.

However Gan says most performers have a short shelf-life overseas, particularly the female lead singers who often have to end their foreign sojourns when they have babies or for other family reasons.

And although many can copy perfectly the world's most popular songs, few cover band members will ever get a recording contract.

But there are some inspirational success stories for those who continue to dream of making it big.

The most famous is Arnel Pineda, who for many years fronted Filipino bands in Manila bars and in Hong Kong.

His big break came in 2007 when members of US rock group Journey were looking for a new lead singer and saw clips of him singing the band's songs on YouTube.

Pineda was hired soon after an audition in the United States, and his first album fronting the band debuted in the top 10 of the American Billboard Charts. Pineda and Journey continue to perform at sold-out concerts around the world.

yahoonews




Related news items:
Newer news items:
Older news items:

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Beng welcomes Litlit’s appointment as SP member

15 Feb 2018 Hits:190 Be the first to comment!

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed San Roque Barangay Chairman Joselito “Litlit” Macrohom as member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod or City council replacing Charlie Mariano who stepped down from office last November 2017. As this developed, Mayor Beng Climaco congratulated Macrohon on his appointment and wished him luck in all his endeavors. With the complete set of councilors for both Districts I and II and the sectoral representatives, the Sangguniang Panlungsod can maximize its potentials and come up with quality legislations that are in line with the priority thrust of the local government on Security Health and Education, the mayor said. Macrohon ran for Councilor under District I during the May 2016 local elections and landed 9th place. Macrohon’s appointment, along with other new appointments [...] Read more

Prev Next Page:

City Registrar observes Civil Reg Month

15 Feb 2018 Hits:107 Be the first to comment!

The city, through the Office of the City Civil Registrar,is observing the Civil Registration Month this February with several activities highlighting the importance of civil registration. The month-long observance is punctuated [...] Read more


CHO stresses need for measles vaccination

14 Feb 2018 Hits:163 Be the first to comment!

The City Health Office (CHO) yesterday appealed to parents to submit their children for measles vaccination. This after a seven-month baby died last February 6, 2018 allegedly due to measles, five [...] Read more


MYEISHA JOLO DOWN M.LOZANO TAWI – TAWI

11 Jan 2018 Hits:309 Be the first to comment!

Este el Istoria del Jong Cariaga Mindanao Cup 2018 que ya hace na Golden Boys gym anoche. Ya sale Champion el Myeisha Jolo kay completo todo departamento del juego especialmente [...] Read more


BFP personnel to undergo fire suppression activities

10 Jan 2018 Hits:267 Be the first to comment!

Personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection in Zamboanga City will undergo fire suppression trainings in the days to come in a bid to keep them abreast of the firefighting [...] Read more


RED CORALS UNITED Y RESTO DEL MUNDO FC –TABLA

10 Jan 2018 Hits:254 Be the first to comment!

Del Domingo pasao ya mira kita con el Resto Del Mundo FC contra Red Corals United donde ya sale Tabla el juego na Soccer Football. Amo quel el ultimo juego [...] Read more


TFZ gets 10 motorcycles from City Government

09 Jan 2018 Hits:286 Be the first to comment!

Task Force Zamboanga (TFZ) on Monday received from the local government 10 units of XRM motorcycles for security patrols in the outskirts of the city. Mayor Beng Climaco together with Councilor [...] Read more


Beng leads destruction of seized items

09 Jan 2018 Hits:308 Be the first to comment!

To show the Local Government’s firm commitment to public safety and security, Mayor Beng Climaco on Monday personally maneuvered a road roller and led the destruction of seized items such [...] Read more


Warring clans arm cache seized by gov't troops in Lanao del Sur

09 Jan 2018 Hits:330 Be the first to comment!

The military on Saturday seized a cached of high-powered firearms from warring clans, following a clearing operation in Lanao del Sur province. Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, [...] Read more


BOALAN AGM TEAM OUTSMART FARRAH J

09 Jan 2018 Hits:268 Be the first to comment!

MINDANAO LEAGUE 2018 BY JONG CARIAGA: Boalan Agm  nuevo star athlete Kaiwa Sabdulla y si Neil Jumao-as ya dale mira kay puede sila gana con el maga mapuersa team como el [...] Read more


ANIMO JORTZ SURPRISED FARRAH J TEAM

08 Jan 2018 Hits:203 Be the first to comment!

JONG CARIAGA BASKETBALL MINDANAO CUP ‘18. Que el juego ta ase na golden boys gym ta principia 7:00 del noche. Fritz Vesagas amo el ya ase gana con el disuyu [...] Read more


BASKETBALL THRILLA IN ZAMBOANGA

07 Jan 2018 Hits:239 Be the first to comment!

JONG CARIAGA MINDANAO CUP Este el un torneo que debe kita mira kay el team del Myiesha Jolo tiene 5 ex PBA athleta y el losdemas puru mga star players de [...] Read more


Climaco reiterates appeal to Customs: Stop smuggling

06 Jan 2018 Hits:823 Be the first to comment!

Mayor Beng Climaco has once again appealed to the Bureau of Customs to clean up Zamboanga City against smuggling, and it can only be done if the agency will deputize [...] Read more


Escapee recaptured in Isabela

06 Jan 2018 Hits:256 Be the first to comment!

An inmate who escaped last Tuesday night from his cell in Isbela City was recaptured by the Isabela City Police on Wednesday afternoon in one of the islands in Maluso, [...] Read more


Beng orders intensified drive vs illegal quarrying

06 Jan 2018 Hits:238 Be the first to comment!

Mayor Beng Climaco has ordered a renewed campaign against illegal quarrying activities as she cited the city’s firm advocacy on environmental protection. Mayor Climaco Thursday has directed City Police Director PSSupt. [...] Read more


Four hurt in motorcycle collision

06 Jan 2018 Hits:247 Be the first to comment!

Four people were injured when two motorcycles accidentally collided in Zone 3, Barangay Guisao, Zamboanga City, on Thursday. Injured were Ryan Pantaleon y Atilano, 27, single, driver of the XRM motorcycle [...] Read more


Old man, old woman found dead in different barangays

05 Jan 2018 Hits:247 Be the first to comment!

Two elders were found dead inside their house in two separate places in Sitio Parkas, Barangay Boalan and Zone 2, Barangay Lumbangan, both in this city last Wednesday. Reports showed that [...] Read more


MUAY THAI PITBULL … BRY

05 Jan 2018 Hits:205 Be the first to comment!

Este si Bryan Ray Mangaser Siglos, su palayao “Bry”, 17 años de edad, anak di Severino Ledesma Siglos y Maria Ruzen Ramos Mangaser. Su hermano si Bennett Jhordany hermana si [...] Read more


CDRRMC okeys P3M cash aid for Vinta-stricken towns

04 Jan 2018 Hits:308 Be the first to comment!

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) has approved a resolution recommending the allocation of some P3 million from the city’s quick response fund, for financial assistance to [...] Read more