By Susan Claire Agbayani
SOCIAL MEDIA Consultant Chat Shaw (not her real name) was enrolled in SLU Girl’s High when she watched the all-male band Neocolours at the University of Baguio in Baguio City in 1989, three decades ago.
“I was with my barkada, screaming ‘Itoooooooooo!’” she commented on a Facebook post. The subject of their adulation: the band’s vocalist Ito Rapadas, who is now Overall Supervisor of Music Production at Universal Records, one of the recording companies owned by the Dy family.
He and keyboardist and fellow composer Jimmy Antiporda, and 2nd keyboardist Marvin Querido last week announced a rare Neocolours reunion concert titled Tuloy Pa Rin ang Banda at Music Museum on Nov. 16 with their contemporaries, The Dawn vocalist Jett Pangan, Miss Saigon alumna Jamie Rivera, and the younger singer Nicole Laurel Asensio of Laurel and Asensio clans, local music royalty.
Speaking at the press conference at JKAS on Congressional Ave., Quezon City, Mr. Rapadas noted the very good and positive reviews Mr. Pangan has been getting for his recent performance in Sweeney Todd, and said, “We are so proud and honored to have Jett join us on the show, as well as the two ladies. There are many possibilities for the night, so it’s going to be exciting. It’s gonna be a fun night,” he said.
WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN?
The Neocolours members have been blessed to have had some success in their careers independent of the group, said Mr. Rapadas. They don’t really have a “pwesto” (regular spot) and they don’t really plan their life as a band with regular gigs, making this reunion concert special. He however said that “(While) we don’t have any intention to go on and on and on, we hope we can continue to perform together.”
Neocolours evolved from Watercolours, a vocal ensemble put together by singer Celeste Legaspi.
“We have had relative success with our respective music careers. That’s something we didn’t have before, when we were starting out as a band (in 1987). Now, we… have the benefit of a track record,” Mr. Querido said.
Mr. Antiporda remarked, “We were so blessed we had hit songs that sustained Neocolours. That’s why in 1999, we had a reunion with the Emerge album. Every now and then, we (regroup),” he said.
Mr. Querido, who had missed many of the band’s “reunion” concerts, is a sought-after musical director who has worked with Martin Nievera, Billy Crawford, Daniel Padilla, Vice Ganda, and Anne Curtis. He arranged the song “Ikaw Lamang” which was recorded by Janno Gibbs and Jaya, and “Kunin Mo Na Ang Lahat sa Akin,” which was popularized by Angeline Quinto.
Mr. Antiporda, on the other hand, decided to focus on raising a family when his first child was born in 1993, and now has five children with Cymbee Antiporda. He is a successful producer and composer of jingles for commercials on television and social media, and has also directed commercials.
Joining them at the concert are Neocolours’ bassist Paku Herrera, and the band’s original guitarist, Josel Jimenez, who has been based in Davao since he left the band early on (guitarist Jack Rufo can’t join them).
When Mr. Jimenez flies in from Davao to perform with the band at the Music Museum, the audience can look forward to the “iconic guitar solos of Neocolours” and even songs the members wrote for others, like “Cold Summer Nights” (which Antiporda wrote for the late rapper Francis Magalona), noted Mr. Antiporda.
Unfortunately, drummer Nino Regalado has another gig on the same date with The Clash.
MUSIC LIVES ON
Among the band’s hits are “Kasalanan Ko Ba?,” “Maybe,” “Say You’ll Never go,” and “Hold On,” but the biggest hit was “Tuloy Pa Rin.”
Thankfully, their hit songs have been remade by other — even more popular — artists, something which was “never part of the intention,” Mr. Querido said.
Millennials have creating cover versions of the song “Tuloy Pa Rin” on YouTube. It has been used as a theme song for both TV shows and movies, but perhaps its most popular use was by a fastfood chain.
This continuing popularity in new mediums has been a boon, with Mr. Rapadas noting that “Kumikita ang songwriters (songwriters earn) through publishing. Lalu na kapag (especially) naka-monetize sa YouTube, automatic ang advertisements ng mga (of) high-streaming songs, kine-claim ng FILSCAP (they are claimed by the collecting society of composers).”
“We are so happy that they still remember our songs… That they are good enough to be covered. We’re proud and grateful to artists who cover our songs. Nabibigyan talaga ng buhay (It gives the songs a new lease on life),” Mr. Rapadas said, even as he noted that, “Hindi alam ng mga bata na kami ang original (The kids are unaware that we originally performed these songs).”
Rapadas wrote “Sa Kanya” for Ogie Alcasid, but it has also been covered by Zsa Zsa Padilla, and MYMP. He noted that “Mataas rin ang numbers n’on sa Spotify (Its numbers are still high on Spotify).”
In a chat via FB Messenger, Rapadas noted that while the fans of Neocolours used to be female, the number of male fans are increasing.
“According to Spotify analytics, most of our listeners are male, 30 years old and above. Nakakagulat (that is surprising). Many male supporters tend to focus on the music playing and arrangement of the ballads. They like guitar solos and keyboard playing. They are probably amateur and pro musicians,” he said.
Concert goers can expect to hear the songs in their original versions. “We’re actually trying to make it sound the way it was back then. Kung papano namin ginawa (The way we did it),” Mr. Querido promised at the press con.
THE NEXT GENERATION
Mr. Querido said that while his kids “can play musical instruments,” he never pressured them into becoming professional musicians. Mr. Antiporda, on the other hand, advised his kids, “If you really want (to go into) it, you really have to exert time and effort to write songs. Learn a lot not only from me, but listen to the ‘old stuff,’ attend workshops.”
Recently, Antiporda “lost” to one of his children whose composition/study was accepted as a jingle for a commercial (beating the other members of the family). He was the “overall producer.” He noted that “They have their own sound.”
He recently co-wrote “Kapit Lang” with his daughter Athena for Lance Busa, one of the three finalists of Pinoy Idol. “She is a songwriter. She really writes lyrics well. She also arranges,” the proud father beamed.