Working musicians, in particular those in the showband circuit and doing regular live gigs for a living and without enjoying the privilege of fame and industry-backed recording careers, have been hardly hit by the community quarantine and deprived of the regular income they get doing the thing they do and love.
Members of the band Toyo, which released an album ten years ago, all agreed that such an ongoing situation should serve as inspiration in writing and recording a song to help raise funds for disenfranchised artists, especially the ailing and the aging.
The band composed of frontman and bassist Erwin Cuenca, and guitarists Doc JV Belarmino, and Clint Aquino launched online their song “Stay Home (We Shall Overcome)” last Friday (June 19) with a lyric video. The clip shows them performing in their respective homes, backed by session musicians Mark Galang (keyboards) and Allan Abdulla (drums).
The band members, fortunately, have their sources of income outside of music as Erwin, who also wrote the song, keeps up with life’s needs as a stay-at-home private tutor, Doc JV as health care frontliner, and Clint being based overseas where finding work, whether or not related to music, must be easier.
The trio partnered with KayaKap, a fundraising drive helping the community of musician-jobbers, primarily the seniors, those with disabilities and critical illnesses, and in dire need of financial support. It is a campaign initiated by songwriter Rom Dongeto (of Buklod fame and the one who wrote “Tatsulok” and “Kanlungan”) and self-styled singer Skarlet Brown (also the voice behind the ‘90s classic “Manila Girl”) and other volunteers. It hopes to address the immediate needs of beneficiaries and seeks legislation to protect the rights and welfare of working musicians in the Philippines.
“Stay Home” is a rock ballad reminiscent of the work of ‘90s bands Immaculate and Nexxus, but rendered in heavier arrangement and in-your-face power ballad rock recording. It’s nearly six minutes long but you’d hardly notice that. The message and melody just keep you go along until the key point is raised enough.
The band chorused, “It began as a melancholic song that channels the experiences of people facing the pandemic alone and away from their families. As the song progresses, it reveals a more timeless message that shows us that if we give importance to every human life, everything will be alright because love will prevail and we shall overcome this crisis together.”
The three-piece act Toyo began in 2006 and maintained its strong presence in the independent music scene. The group’s sound transformed from angst to more socially uplifting themes. Thanks in part to the new normal now happening.
The band must be commended for defying odds posed by being away from each other and themselves addressing personal challenges amidst the pandemic, all for the purpose of music-making for a heartfelt reason and helping brothers in the music community.
To donate to KayaKap, follow @kayaKapPH on Facebook or email email@example.com.
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