RICHER AND MORE DIVERSE
Imago is a Filipino band formed in 1998 from a simple desire of friends to make music and perform. They wrote an album’s worth of original material which they recorded under the helm of producer and musician Bob Marlow. Their first al bum ‘Probably Not But Most Definitely’ was released in 1999 under Maharlika Records.
Material for their second album was recorded four years later in 2003 but its release was delayed due to unexpected record label setbacks. Enthusiastic over their new songs, the band was determined to release the album one way or ano ther. Composed of eleven new cuts, the new material had undergone remarkable changes. Compared with their original sound as a band that started from small production bar gigs to getting heavy airplays on FM radio stations in the Phil ippines, the second album was contextually heavier and fuller compared to their first album.
Released independently, their Take-2 album featured hit songs while its promo tional videos circulating on YouTube climbed the charts of music TV channels. Onstage, the band comes across as a dynamic and powerful act. As a live act, Imago stresses its sumptuous songs with a distinctive mix of melodic lines, strik ing vocals and meaningful words.
Imago burst out of its earlier boundaries and went indie for their follow-up album, which had a more electric guitar-driven, pop-rock/alternative take on things. The album was also the first to feature the band’s line-up of Aia de Leon (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Tim Cacho (lead guitar), Myrene ‘Maps’ Aca demia (bassist), and Zach Lucero (drums). In March 2008, the band was invited to be one of few other artists from all over the world to perform in the annual Mosaic Music Festival in Singapore.
Being labelled initially as an alternative-rock band leaning towards folk-rock music, Imago’s new sound evolved towards pop-alternative sound. The term ‘pop-alternative’ refers to musical artists and performers who are rooted in the style, sound and/or ethos of pop music but the context of lyrics and accom panying melody are richer and more diverse, which make this genre of songs more thought provoking if not memorable.
Proof of this refreshing change in Imago’s musical form and style can be found in their headline song ‘Akap’ taken from their Take-2 album. Overnight, the band won over a much wider audience having it even played in some mainstream CHR (Current Hit Radio) format stations.
The beautiful and clever lyricism starting with the song’s opening line – ‘Sabihin sa akin lahat ng lihim mo’ (in English, … so tell me all your secrets) and the powerful singing voice of its lead female singer, blends exceptionally well with the solid musicianship of the rest of the band. Trading in the ethereal with both New Age sensibilities and a modern pop flavor, Akap has since become consi dered by many as a sort of anthem for the genre it now represents worldwide.
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VERY MUCH EVIDENT
It has been a rollercoaster 14-years for Imago, who first came to prominence with their critically-acclaimed debut album which encapsulated the band’s early roots-influenced acoustic-laden music. But since the release of Akap as a single, it has cemented Imago’s status as one of the most in-demand acts in the live cir cuit.
Imago’s popularity has continued to skyrocket with their third album ‘Blush’ under Universal Records which features a more youth-oriented and bubbly mu sical approach and the hits ‘Taralets’ – the lead single which was one of the certi fied hits of 2006 in the radio and music video channels.
This was their first album with Universal Records and also the first to hit the Gold mark in January 2008. The song was also used as a theme song for the movie ‘Pitong Dalagita’ and later, as a campaign jingle for a Philippine senatorial candi date. In the same year, they recorded a revival of ‘Ewan’, which was originally sung by the now legendary trio the Apo Hiking Society.
In 2010, Imago released its fourth album entitled ‘Effect Desired None’ with its enigmatically titled ‘Huling Yakap Ng Mundo’ (or, the ‘Last Embrace of the World’) as its lead single.
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While the Philippines belongs to the East geographically, its music and culture have been heavily influenced by the West owing to nearly 400-years of Spanish rule and 45-years of American domination. Music in the highland and lowland hamlets – where indigenous culture thrives to this day, have strong Asian elements. Spanish and American influences, on the other hand, are more evident in music produced in urban areas. So it comes to no surprise that the country’s performance arts display a variety of genres and fusion of styles.
From ethnic rhythm to contemporary pop of the present times, Filipino musi cians are thriving according to their levels of creativity. Far from what every one knows about music in the Philippines, the country in fact has abundant musical talents who have established themselves in the international scene. They have kept their musical roots despite the influences of high-tech produced music these days. Their dedication and intense love for music is still very much evident.