Pinoy band in UAE dedicates song about hope to Duterte
Inspired by the two women in his life, and later on by President Rodrigo Duterte, UAE-based OFW Bernardo Granado has decided to form a band in order to lift the morale of Filipinos, especially the poor, via music.
"Na-challenge kasi ako sa wife ko," said the 38-year-old senior structural designer in a construction company in Jebel Ali, Dubai, via email. "Tinanong niya ako last year kung ano ang gagawin ko sa mga instruments ko sa bahay kung hindi rin lang naman ako tutugtog."
Granado, who has four guitars and one piano, said the other woman who inspired him to form a musical group was his late mother, who encouraged him to play musical instruments when he was young.
"After my mother passed away nung November 2015, talagang naghanap ako ng bandmates sa isang Dubai-based website at nagtanung-tanong sa mga friends," he said. "[Siya] kasi ang nag-push sa akin nung 12 years old ako na mag-aral ng musical instruments."
In his search for bandmates, he crossed paths with Nijel Dela Cruz, a 31-year-old visual merchandiser and graphic designer who had also announced on the Internet that he is looking for musicians to form a band with.
"Tapos recommended niya si Ivan na kababata niya as bassist," Granado said, referring to Ivan Dela Cruz, a 30-year-old sales agent in a music shop. "Si Greco naman, recommended ng isang friend. Si Pearl naman, recommended ng office-mate ko."
Greco Licayan, 31, accountant in a law firm in Al Garhoud, became the band's keyboardist, while Pearl Joy Moreno, 22, receptionist cum marketing assistant in Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, became the band's vocalist.
"Kinuha ko ang contact details nilang lahat at nag-arrange ako ng date para mag-jam. Doon palang kaming lima nag-kakilala at nag-kitakita ng personal," Granado said.
And that was how Pearlipinas was born.
Granado said their moniker was inspired by their vocalist Pearl, who at first was reluctant at the idea.
"Isinunod sa pangalan ni Pearl ang band namin (Pearl+Pilipinas). Actually si Greco ang may idea ng ‘Pearlipinas.’ Nag-agree naman lahat bukod lang kay Pearl," he said.
"Naisip ko rin na kaming lahat ay OFW dito sa UAE so para sa akin, ang Pearlipinas is another Filipino pride dala ang pangalan ng bansang Pilipinas since nasa UAE kami," Granado added.
A year after the band was founded, the members of Pearlipinas still find it hard to practice regularly due to their busy schedules and day jobs, as well as their varying musical tastes.
"Bukod sa schedule ng practice, magkakaiba pa kami ng genre. Si Pearl ay pop and rock. Si Nijel ay metal. Sina Greco at Ivan ay variety, at ako naman ay rock at OPM," Granado said.
"Pero ang magandang side naman, nakikita namin na may pinagkakasunduan pa rin kahit magkakaiba. Pearl is the heart of this band at kaming mga boys naman ang structure nito."
On August 19, 2016, Pearlipinas participated in "Dubai, Dubai Musikahan Song Writing Contest," which was organized by the Philippine Consulate in Dubai. They won second place.
"Ang theme ng awit na inilaban namin ay kung ano ang maiiambag mo para sa pag-babago," Granado said. "Sinulat ko ito at linikhaan ng himig tapos ini-arrange naman ng grupo sa tulong na rin ng kapatid ni Pearl."
He was referring to "Tayo na sa Pagbabago," which he said is about people who have lost hope. He also said the song is their own tribute to Duterte.
"Ito ay isang wake-up call para sa mga kababayan natin na dumaranas ng kahirapan sa buhay at iniaalay namin sa lahat ng Filipino sa buong mundo at sa Pangulong Duterte."
To date, Pearlipinas has three original compositions, all of which are in Filipino, which they play regularly in their gigs. The others are "Kung Meron Pa" and "Aminin mo sa Akin."
"As of now, I’m the one who writes the songs and gives the melody. Binibigyan naman ng kulay ng grupo. Kumbaga sa pagkain, dahil sa kanila kaya sumasarap ang luto," Granado said. —KBK, GMA News