In the vibrant landscape of Manila's ska scene, one band echoes through the years with infectious beats and undeniable energy—Neighbors. If you're a seasoned Ska fan, mentioning Club Ska, Standing Room, or the iconic 2002 NU 107 Summer Shebang will have you nodding in appreciation. But for those just stepping into the lively world of Manila's ska movement, let us introduce you to the rhythm-packed universe of Neighbors.
Established in August 1995, Neighbors, a dynamic 6-piece ska ensemble, hails from the artistic town of Angono, Rizal. Picture this: a group of musicians with classical backgrounds, not all professionally trained, converging to create a sound that would resonate through the years.
Their journey started at unconventional venues like Café Angono, and their initial gig at UP was met with skepticism from a crowd unfamiliar with the ska vibe. Fast forward to today, and Neighbors has become a household name in the ska scene, playing at iconic spots like Mayric's, Club Dredd, 70's Bistro, and even gracing major events like Fete de la Musique and the 1st Bob Marley Festival.
The band's influences range from Madness and Hepcat to The Beatles and The Clash, with a nod to the legendary Skatalites. But Neighbors isn't confined to ska alone; they've delved into Latin Jazz, Bossa Nova, 60s modern jazz, bebop, and 60s Soul, infusing a rich tapestry of musical elements into their signature sound.
In 1998, after catching the attention of Put3Ska and impressing audiences at Club Dredd, Neighbors became a regular feature at Ska Nights until the club's closure. The journey didn't stop there; they released their independent album, "Angono Ska Explosion," featuring originals, early Jamaican Ska hits, and Filipino classical tunes.
Fast forward to the last quarter of 2003, and Neighbors dropped their second independent album, "From Parquet to Concrete." The release marked a significant moment as they also launched their independent label, "Die Happy! Records," inspired by one of their tracks.
The band's resilience and dedication are evident in their live recordings. "Neighbors Live at 6 Underground," recorded during their residency at the now-defunct 6 Underground in Makati, captures the essence of their electrifying performances.
In 2005, they released their last independent EP, "Welcome To The Punjabi Show M*&%er Fu#$@r!" recorded at Louie Talan's Wombworks Studios. Despite budget constraints, the album showcased their unyielding commitment to delivering quality music.
After years of on-and-off reunions and limited engagements, Neighbors has officially reformed as a 6-piece powerhouse, proving that their ska journey is far from over. So, whether you're a seasoned ska lover or a newcomer to the genre, catch Neighbors live and experience the magic echoing through Manila's streets for decades!
Your Neighbors are:
Jon Capistrano – Vocals
Bong Termulo – Vocals/ trumpet
Bojie Villanueva – Guitars
Rhet Villaluz – Guitars
Madz Velasco – Bass guitar
Bernard Calderon - Drums
Their music is available for licensing. Check it out.
Neighbors: The Ska Sensation You Can't Miss!