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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Junior Kilat to spray the bratatats on Sinulog day
By Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros

Expect homegrown reggae artists of the famed Junior Kilat to release electronic spark discharge and heat up the 26th Sinulog celebration with a spray of their onomatopoeic lyrics lifted off from an old school comic book – the bratatats of “Ako si M16”, adjudged Song of the Year at the NU 107 Rock Music Awards 2005 that outplayed Bamboo’s “Hallellujah”, Parokya ni Edgar’s “Mang Jose” and Sugarfree’s “Hari ng Sablay”, among others.

Laden with the seemingly “indiscriminate firing” in its bratatats and bang-bangs employed by the Kilat dub guerrillas, the song is actually the group’s attack on the illegal arms deal that allegedly transpired between military crooks and rebels cracked in the most antic method the band described as “done in a rarer style of reggae”.

Before the local reggae world had been “bratata-ed” by “Ako si M16”, there was already the wacky “You are afraid to dance with the reggae bet (actually it’s beat) “Hoy agta! Nag unsa ka diha?” which is worth paying of one’s attention as the message varies proportionately with “Suyop”, only that the latter is delivered in reverse psychology to give those into drug/substance abuse a picture of how they are entangled in their own mazes.

Junior Kilat admirers took as national anthem the hilarious line “Kon moabante pinabackward, kon moatras pinaforward , singled out from “Original Sigbin” said to be referring to the half-goat, half-dog creature of Visayan folklore described a consumer of both squash and charcoal. Sigbin may stand metaphoric of the group’s songs with the fusion of genuine reggae, dub and dancehall.

With the seemingly rude clicking of tongues after singing “kung di pa lang sala ang manakla, gitaklaan na unta!” (if it weren’t rude to cluck a tongue at someone), the 10th track of “Party Pipol Ur on Dub TV” album entitled “Kung Di Pa Lang Sala”, throngs after throngs of smitten fans rooted for them with the honesty in their songs, and could not quite wait to be served with the next helping.

Earlier, the band could have taken the name Leon Kilat Junior in homage to the Bacong-born revolutionary Pantaleon Villegas (Leon Kilat or Lion Lightning), who figured prominently in the Tres de Abril uprising here in Cebu City, only that they gave up the idea as the name was already taken by another band. Despite the absence of a member named Junior, the band created Kilat that did not proverbially strike once in same places, but a couple of times which prompted the band to take the gigs back to where it had officially been accepted. In time for the Sinulog celebration, Junior Kilat will once again take center stage to entertain the Bisdak crowd that catapulted them to the music charts and billboards.

With a host of musical influences like Lee Scratch Perry, Sly and Robbie, Eek-A-Mouse, Prince Far-I, Yoyoy Villame, Max Surban and the Teletubbies, frontman Errol “Budoy” Marabiles would again wag his antics on Sinulog day with cohorts Diana Freese (drums), Gina Pestaño (keyboards) Arcie Ybañez (guitars), Cleofas Quijano (trombone), Christian “Bangin” Atienza (turntables), and Tiano Evangelista (bass) who also produced and directed Budoy’s wacky RCTV magazine program on small-scale industry dubbed “Ismol Tym”. Sorry to say that those who rooted for Jad Dapat (guitars) would fail to see the man this time as he is in Australia, this was disclosed by drummer Diana Freese. Nevertheless, his Bisdak spirit is one with the group.

Though the Kilat song lineup may sound confusing as to where it is directing its audience at times when it comes to value formation and or social responsibility, it sure found a niche in the capital where there’s an enduring atmosphere of discrimination for Bisdak artists. In fact, the band was nominated Best New Artist side by side with Hale, Brownman Revival, Pedicab and Paramita; Album of the Year for “Party Pipol” and Gina Pestaño for Best Album Packaging in the NU Rock Music Awards.

Marabiles attributes their success to those who brought copies of their songs and passed them around to share with friends and relatives in Manila. Sans royalty, Marabiles finds it flattering for their music to find acceptance in another venue. This was averred by the rest of the group who shared that though the burning/copying of CDs hasn’t a bit sparked up their personal coffers, they find that the consequence for such form of publicity is working to their advantage and just what a rising band would normally pray for.

Last year, Kilat struck front act for the MTV Pilipinas Award and jammed with various artists like Radioactive Sago Project that romped away with the Video of the Year Award for their “Astro” project. The band proudly recalled that the “bullet-peppered” performance of M16 before a non-Cebuano speaking audience (or that majority of it) served as barometer on how much appeal they have in the capital Whew! I doff my rasta cap to this bunch of musicians!

Such acceptance could well be understood as reggae fanatics, wherever they are in the Philippines, share this understanding on the desire for emancipation from mental, spiritual, political and economic slavery. And that the imposition of thought control becomes the main subject for reggae artists whose works reveal striking qualities of good oratory on the deployment of both classical, traditional and innovative rhetorical skills to various causes – political independence, economic advancement and the restoration of racial pride, not to mention the playup of musical instruments that gives heads reasons to rock and fingers to thump and feet to stomp.

It is now hoped that the Kilat craft, in exaltation of the Sugbuano language, would effectively touch a wayward generation with reggae myoozik’s intense desire to unite people everywhere in whom burns the unfulfilled wish for freedom, equality including musical space and dimensions, and dignity as a race.

If the patterns of reggae music employed persuasive strategies coupled with the functionality of its aesthetics to serve as an effective device that a musician and orator uses in order to achieve intellectual and emotional effects on an audience, then let the Kilat spirit spice up and nurture this Bisdak generation.

Hail to reggae myoozik! Hail to Bisdak talents!