THE music scene in Cebu continues to flourish with its growing list of promising talents. Jonathan Zuñiga Urbano took notice of such diversity after he was assigned in the city to work on projects by the Ayala-led Manila Water Company.
As a violinist for the likes of Cynthia Alexander, Aiza Seguerra, Mike Villegas’ Pogi Boys and a number of artists in Manila, Urbano worked on his vision of forming a musicians’ collective that would produce what he described as “classy, challenging, punchy, non-mainstream and beautiful jazz tunes” in the hope that it would not only spark a music history but also bring back the spirit of the golden ages.
And so, Koltri was born.
Headed by Urbano (Band leader, Violin), the collective is composed of Joefre Capangpangan (Flute, Soprano/Alto Saxophone), Nestor Royze “Ron” Olofernes Liston (Alto Saxophone), Elyr Gressin “El-G” Rosales (Tenor Saxophone), Niño Rico (Trumpet), Jacob “Jaco” Martirez (Electric Bass Guitar), Jose Mari “JM” Martirez and Ronald Allan Librando (Drums), Joel Cruz (Acoustic/Electric Guitars), Christian Del Mar and William Mañus (Electric Guitar), JJ Ang, Hankie Salanguit and Dave Salanguit (Vocals); Abraham Enriquez and Al Gabutan (Keyboard), and Lotlot Abellanosa (Violin/Viola).
“Koltri stands for passion, freedom, revolution, stubbornness to challenge the status quo, to create something better,” said Urbano. “Koltri is a jazz fusion band, and also plays funk, soul, gospel and other types of music. It does not discriminate against other music genres. It aims for and promotes collaboration with symphony orchestras and can even go as far as progressive rock as long as it is aligned with Koltri’s vision.”
The band had its debut performance last March 17 at Slabadu Café & Bistro located at Hernan Cortes St., Mandaue City, Cebu where it performed a mix of renditions and original compositions beginning with Urbano’s Psychedelic Violin Overture followed by those by Anthony Brancati, Incognito, Dusty Springfield, Tower of Power and so many more catchy beats including a Koltri original called “Time Travel” composed by Jaco Martirez. Does this mean an album is in the works? “Yes, this is already in the pipeline,” he responded. “Koltri is in talks with Bruce Conte (guitarist of Tower of Power) for him to produce some of Koltri’s originals.”
The band has already received numerous invitations including from venues in Manila. Wherever their talents take them, Koltri hopes its audiences to be inspired to listen, learn music or pick up an instrument, to be courageous in challenging the status quo and feel proud of their appreciation of this genre and level of musicality.