Manila Sound-A A +A
Sunday, November 14, 2010
ITS inception marked the beginning of an era, the golden age of Filipino music and subsequently became the forerunner of Original Pilipino Music.
At that time, the country's airwaves was flooded with foreign Top 40 sounds and anything that had to do with local music was considered only for the "bakya" crowd, a derogatory term referring to the masses.
But the scenario gradually changed when Manila Sound came, a funkier, groovier, soulful sound, which without the lyrics can be mistaken as something foreign.
Even before Charice Pempengco conquered the world and Arnel Pineda journeyed internationally, there was the image of Diana Ross grooving at the famed Studio 54 to the sound of her favorite disco track- VST and Co.'s iconic Awitin Mo At Isasayaw Ko.
Before K-Pop and J-Pop, every Asian band tried to sound like VST or the Hotdogs. However, there was no internet during those times and band members cannot keep abreast with their worldwide popularity.
"We have had visitors from other Asian countries who would argue with us if we truly were the original band since there were bands in their home countries who were playing our songs in their language and were very popular. Some even thought that we were the copycats," ex-VST and Co. member Roger Rigor, in his interview with Nostalgia Manila (www.nostalgiamanila.blogspot.com) said.
According to Wikipedia, Manila Sound can be described as a mixture of smooth mix of folk/rock music combined with funk light jazz and disco grooves. The lyrics feature Tagalog-English words peppered with youth lingo and gayspeak.
Among these popular bands and musicians include VST and Co., Hotdog, The Boyfriends, Cinderella, Hagibis, Hajji Alejandro, Rico J. Puno, in some measure the Apo Hiking Society and the early singing career of Sharon Cuneta.
Hotdog was a band famous for their disco-themed ditties, Annie Batungbakal, Bongga ka Day, Manila, Pers Lab, Ikaw ang Universe ng Buhay ko. It was formed by brothers Dennis and Rene Garcia. Its members included Ella del Rosario and Zsa-Zsa Padilla. The band is still actively touring and performing in gigs across the country though Rene Garcia is the only original member still playing with the band.
The marshmallow disco sound of VST & Company is perhaps what defined the genre. Its members originally came from a big musically-inclined barkada which includes Spanky and Roger Rigor, Cesar Llarina, Monett Gaskell, the Sotto brothers (Tito, Vic and Val) and Joey de Leon. Heavily-influenced by Donna Summer and the BeeGees, the band's definitive disco sound is perhaps an icon to a bygone era.
Among its hits are Awitin Mo, Isasayaw Ko, which enjoyed heavy rotation in New York's famed Studio 54; Step No Step Yes, Disco Fever, Swing, Rock Baby Rock and Ipagpatawad Mo and many others.
Up to this day, there is no official explanation as to the meaning of the name "VST" though it has been widely theorized to be taken from the full name of Tito Sotto (Vicente Sotto III) who was then VST's band manager.
In the early 80s, former VST members Tito his brother Vic and Joey de Leon formed the riotous comedic trio Tito, Vic and Joey.
Hagibis came at the fringe of the Manila Sound era. At that time, bands had evolved into somewhat campy and theatrical caricatures, owing influence to the campy disco flavor of the era with the rise of disco groups like The Village People. The all-male sing and dance group is the forerunner of today's boy bands and adult male groups such as the Masculados. The group evokes pure machismo reinforced by songs that speak about attributes of beautiful women, with songs like Katawan, Legs and Lalake.
You can catch VST and Co., featuring original member Male Rigor, Hotdog (featuring Rene Garcia) and Hagibis (featuring Sonny Parsons), along with Spirit of 67 in a musical event which celebrates the music of a not-so-long ago era.
Manila Sound Project the Davao leg will be held at the Camella Northpoint on November 27. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are priced at P500. For inquiries and ticket bookings you can call 0999-544-9995.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 15, 2010.