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Filipino-American Music Community in the East Coast Reunite for NSFUNYC

Updated: Apr 13


Filipino-American Music

It was almost a decade and a half since the East Coast Filipino-American music community got together. But on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2024, at Parkside Lounge New York, it happened again. It was a reunion fifteen years in the making. 


NSFUNYC was a look back at the history and talent of Filipino-American artists who dominated the East Coast music scene in the late 90s, and the 2000s. It was a period of intense productivity and creativity–artists helping one another to produce and promote original Filipino-American music that reflected the unique experiences of the times.


Parkside Lounge in the Lower East Side of Manhattan was full. It overflowed with spirited laughter and warm hugs from people bonded by love for music and for one another. 


 

Photos by Sheryl Reyes.




 

Watch the highlights



 

The show kicked off with the updated version of the band Sodapop Suicide, whose hit song "Sana Naman" catapulted singer-songwriter Valter Guevarra to prominence. This time, Val was joined by Chet Del Mundo (formerly of Trickbag) on guitar, Binky Del Mundo (Prize Violet) on guitar, Jeff Wiley on bass, Jowell Rilla on drums (Sodapop Suicide), and Gatchie Ignacio on bass (The Kuwagos). This new version of Sodapop was formed specifically for this gig, and they rocked the house with classic songs like "Superdaimos" along with new materials from Chet and Jeff.


Prize Violet came next with a set of brand-new materials from gifted musician and composer, Binky Del Mundo. She was joined on stage by almost the same musicians from Sodapop Suicide (that's the community for you!): Gatchie on bass, Chet on guitar, and Jeff Almonte (Formerly of Blue Melon Pop). Prize Violet's set was a grand showcase of her songwriting gifts, vocal prowess, and guitar virtuosity. For her first song, "Go Easy," she was joined by Sheryl Reyes (Scarlet Gum) for a memorable duet.


Gripo Ganid was next. The name might be new, but the voice of Bem Ross (formerly of Qwadra) remains a power to behold. Nothing sounds like it other than maybe God himself. Bem was joined by his original drummer from Qwadra, Fritz Ramos, and Kiko Bordeos (Blue Melon Pop) on bass. The trio blasted through classic Qwadra hits like "Magulang" and more. 


The Kuwagos revisited their roots as a three-piece group with Gatchie on vocal and guitar, Marc Lacsamana on drums, and Rommel Kabigting on bass. The band played their hits, and in two of the biggest, "Eh Ano Ngayon," and "Gusto Mo," they were joined on guitar by a surprise guest from Virginia, Jojo Valenzuela (formerly of the hard rock band PI). Jojo's appearance cemented the bond between the New York, New Jersey, and Virginia/MD/DC scenes. It was a moment forever etched in everyone's memory. For their song "Tabo," the band was joined by keyboardist Michael Johann Ramirez.


The last three bands were somewhat joined to the hip since they share history and members. The band Epic the Rabbit, spearheaded by Paul Zurita (The Happy Analogues) on vocal and guitar, played two songs, "Dystopian Love Story," and "Karapat dapat." Rydhal Sacapano joined Paul on lead guitar, Mark Sacapano on bass guitar, and Ian Balandra on drums.


Scarlet Gum, the electronic duo formed by Sheryl Reyes (vocal) and Ted Reyes (synthesizers) and backed up by members of the Happy Analogues, Paul on guitar, Ronnie Lao on bass, and Jonze Saguirre on drums, followed suit and played three songs: "Tulips and Twigs for a Boy," which is part of a vinyl compilation album in the Philippines entitled Homegrown that be launched this April, "Pakiramdaman," the duo's hit pop number, which brought the house down complete with glowsticks and glowing bunny ears in celebration of Easter, and lastly "Magkaibigan Lang Kami ng Sandali Kagabi," Ted's latest solo single, which featured Sheryl on backing vocals. Scarlet Gum's set was one of the most memorable bits of the entire night. It was a certified riot.


The Happy Analogues closed the show with five songs plus an encore: "Yes It's True," "Crazy Girl for You," "End Notes," "Alaala," "Uwian Na," and "Bolakbol." Aside from "Crazy Girl for You," most of the songs are from the band's double album School Tales, which is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary. This set was the band's first gig in nearly five years. 


As the night ended and the music faded, the memories from the distant past were made sweeter by the newly created memories from a night forged by love, respect, and community. Yes, fifteen years have passed, yet nothing was lost. If anything, everything was rightfully found and every single one in the room was back to where they were supposed to be: with each other.

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