Best Pinoy Alternative Band Bamboo
Bamboo is an alternative rock band in Philippines found in early 2000. Bamboo Mañalac serves as the band’s front man. Bamboo’s story takes a microscopic view of the local music scene. It all starts with a dream. Taking inspiration from all the demigods that sang to them from their crabby speakers, spewing wisdom and good vibes out of worn out cassettes long before an apple gave birth to a pod, they pick up an instrument, string up some riffs, weave some melodies, sing a few songs. Before they knew it, they had sold their soul to the music, and the mistress exacts a high price.
The Bamboo band composes of Bamboo Mañalac (lead vocal), Ira Cruz, (guitarist), Nathan Azarcon (bass), and Vic Mercado (drums). Contrary to popular belief, the band is not named after him. According to Ira Cruz, the guitarist, the word bamboo relates to strength and durability with an island feel to it. Also, it’s very Filipino and Asian at the same time. Their first priority for a band name during 2000s was “Audio Barangay” which means “Audio Neighborhood” in English. However, they realized that it’s a bit hard to pronounce and it is not that catchy compared to just “Bamboo.” They also dropped the name “Audio Barangay” because Audioslave was formed roughly the same time during their band’s formation, to avoid confusion.
Powered by the strength of the carrier single, “Noy-pi,” the band’s debut As the Music Plays, released in February 2004 success; it later spawned other hit singles in the power chord-driven “Mr. Clay,” the slow-burning “Masaya,” and the radio single-only, groove-infested “These Days.” By December of the same year, they had released a repackaged AVCD version that included their music videos and a bonus cut—the re-recorded version of “Masaya” featuring Ria Osorio on piano. They had also won a slew of music awards, not the least of which were MTV Pilipinas’ Best New Artist and Song of the Year for “Noy-pi” punctuated, of course, by their performance at the awards show.
Their second album, Light Peace Love, which was released in 2005, consisted of ten songs of differing moods and subjects, which took only 3 months to record. This album has a softer sound with both its lyrics and delivery. For this album they added more strings and variety of other instruments, including a trumpet. The band experimented with several new styles that may please new listeners, at the risk of disappointing fans of the more conventional rock of their first album.
Their third album, We Stand Alone Together, was released in 2007. It contains revived local songs such as Buklod’s “Tatsulok” and international songs such as Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” from different generations. It also includes bonus tracks like unplugged versions of their hit songs from previous albums such as “Mr. Clay”, “These Days”, and “Hallelujah”. Once again, opting to do away with the conventional rock image that was attached to them; they produced sounds which were more jazzy than expected.