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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kjwan performed at Musiklaban in Café Saco

by Dante Corteza

Kjwan with Anthony Mas and his son

Not a music lover, I was astounded for awhile when I witnessed how the contestants of the 2008 Red Horse’s Musiklaban Rock Challenge performed at Café Sacco last October 9. Banging their head and singing (for me, it was shouting) lyrics I could not understand. They were absolutely crazy I thought.

Opps - don’t tell me it’s my age since I have never appreciated rock music even I was a teenager. But that night I understood better why this music existed. I found out that it’s just another way of expressing their youthful energy and a way of releasing their angst about life for this genre of musicians.

I am glad that this alcohol beverage company is giving a legitimate outlet for our rock singers. Through a contest such as this, our rock musicians all over our country become more creative and develop closer bonding with one another. They are advocating too a strong campaign against the use of illegal drugs. And recently, I know an increasing number of Christian bands are also into rock Christian music.

Rock music is not after all hard rhythm and booze. And it was proven to me by Kjwan, the Philippine rock band that won the Asia International Music Contest held in Malaysia last year. Led by former MTV Philippines VJ Marc Abaya, Kjwan is out to conquer new heights this year with its new album being criticized as one of the bests to make a strong mark.

The band is busy this year promoting the band’s sophomore album "Two Step Marv."

The son of director Marilou-Diaz Abaya, Marc believes that his VJing and his being a rock band vocalist have essentially helped each other pull up his artistry and as a public figure. Undoubtedly he has carved a name for himself as one of the more distinctive attitudes in the biz, both as rocker and VJ.

Formed in May 2003, Kjwan released its debut album that produced the big rock hit "Daliri". Its 12-track second album was launched late last year under new label Barnyard Music, boasting the heavy love song "Pintura."

Asked about the music the group brought into doing "Two Step Marv", the eloquent crowd pleaser elaborated, "We made an effort to sound different and provide our listeners with something new. This is a more mature album, with some inputs unsafe, meaning, hindi madali ma-digest. Basically it’s still rock by nature, but the various influences we have as individuals have come into fusion that makes us say our sound now is something not being heard from other acts." He explained this in a newspaper article about him and his band.

The present lineup of Kjwan include Kelly Mangahas (bass), Jorel Corpus (guitars, percussion, vocals), J-hoon Balbuena (drums, vocals), and Boogie Romero (guitars, vocals).

Kjwan got its name from a teacher’s remark ‘kwan’, meaning ‘ano’ which had a student funnily scanning a dictionary because he thought of it as a mathematical variable. The silent ‘j’ in the word was just added for artistry; or as one of the members said, ‘artestry.’

You can watch the slide show of the photos below or visit the Photo Gallery of What's on Zamboanga.

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