Director / Writer: Byron Bryant
Cast: Ronnie Lazaro, Pen Medina, Elizabeth Oropesa

I’ve been renting VCDs at Video City lately. Need some inspiration for my future plan.

Thought the theme was simple- issues encountered by the people living in a barrio and how they were connected by a videoke machine. Until it went hardcore in the second CD because of their demonstration against quarrying operation.

I’m not a film expert, but how come Baryoke won Best Cinematography in Cinemalaya when some scenes are not very visible?

CUESHÉ’s Half Empty, Half Full
Official website:
Yahoo! Group accounts: and

(First published in Friendster by dayunyor on August 7, 2005)

Subsequent to the emergence of South Border and Freestyle comes another addition to the roster of discovered artists down south. Cueshé’s (pronounced as q-shay) career jumpstarted in Cebu doing several gigs around Visayas and Mindanao until they decided to penetrate the metropolis’ music scene.

Originally named as Green Horn, the band formed during the late 90s with its remaining members Michael Manaloto on drums, lead guitarist Jovan Mabini, and bassist Fritz Labrado. It later became Cueshé in 2000, derived from their post-rehearsal craving banana cue and former “she” vocalist Dhee Francisco. Jay Justiniani (vocals) joined the group after meeting their manager while Jhunjie Dosdos (keyboards) is acquainted with Fritz. Completing the line up after auditioning is Ruben Caballero (vocals and guitar).

The debut CD effort released last June under Sony-BMG Records comprising of 12 fresh cuts is a fusion of pop, alternative rock, new wave and a little grunge. It deals with things everybody can relate to, specifically life struggle– a classic source of inspiration for musicians. Listening carefully to the song’s content, heart matters were lyrically emotional. Songs such as When I’m With You (I’m in distress / I feel the pain and the agony / I’m suffering… / Don’t you know girl / When I’m with you / This is exactly what I feel), Never Leave (I never knew what life meant / In this big old crazy world until i met you / You, you’d vanish all my sufferings and misery / can’t imagine life without you), Can’t Let You Go (Don’t let this go / You know I love you so! / Don’t throw away / Let our love grow / I can’t let you go!) and 24 Hours (I miss your eyes, your smile and lovely face / I can’t forget those sweet embrace / We both could share our endless dreams / If you were here) says it all.

The group’s deep and strong vocals is cliché. Too bad their old female singer is gone. Her voice may have break the impression and could make their tone distinct. Cueshé’s music is somewhat similar to Hoobastank. No wonder it is one of their musical influences beside The Smiths, China Crisis, Cure, Incubus, Maroon 5, Sound Garden, Nirvana, and U2. The group however claimed that Cebu artists generally have foreign sound.

Two were dedicated by Fritz and Mike, who wrote most of the songs in the album, to their respective love ones. Sorry is Fritz’s ode for his departed father whom he regret not spending enough time with. On the other hand, the carrier single Stay was lifted from Mike’s life story after her girlfriend (she wants to marry) left him in his hometown to go Manila. Both songwriters bravely expressed their personal feelings through their craft.

Of course, how can they forget the people who turned them down? “Here For You” (Now here we are, we’ve make it big / We’ve reached the top we’re doing great / We’re drinking booze, we got big cash / We got girls partying all night) is definitely an in-your-face answer to the discouragements they have experienced before being famous. There are also tunes like the angst-filled Sky, Can’t Let You go, and the sole Tagalog-penned Ulan which stucks in the head for a while.

The record rocks. Credit must be given to their fine blend of instruments which captured the taste of market. But then Cueshé is similar to any ordinary band breaking it to mainstream. One can tell they still have better to offer. Only their sincerity as well as continuous determination will probably draw more support from the listening public and eventually place them on higher grounds.

Official website:
Yahoo! Group account:

(First published in Friendster by dayunyor on September 25, 2005)

A self-titled initial album offering already turned platinum, two hit singles on their sleeve, and a favorite new artist recognition from the recent MTV Pilipinas Video Music Awards. What more this band can ask for?

Though separated by ambitions of being a race car driver, doctor, videogame creator, and a real rock-icon, Champ Lui- Pio (lead vocals / guitars), Omnie Saroca (drums), Sheldon Gellada (vocals / bass), and Roll Martinez (vocals / guitars) were united by their passion for music.
The members hooked up in July of 2004. Roll and Sheldon were classmates at University of Santo Tomas’ Conservatory of Music. Champ is a friend of Roll. At that time, public attention on them is almost impossible due to their absence in the concert scene.

Instead of emulating the usual things that unsigned bands do just to get noticed, they distributed demo CDs to various recording companies. Luckily, EMI Philippines picked them up in November 2004.

Aside from music channels on TV, Hale’s exposure was then limited in a radio frequency where their kind of music is being played. Not until their second single The Day You said Goodnight came out and became a household hit.

Having a father who’s a musician is indeed an advantage. The outcome of the influence Champ got from his father is evident in his song writing and singing.

Few are really memorable out of the dozen tracks in the album. The slow-paced Here Tonight sets a dramatic mood with its solo acoustic guitar opening which made it even more touching. Blue Sky will surely lift the spirits of individuals who loses hope by its encouraging lines. The group’s electric strums in Take No are infectious and let your head bang. Apparently, this is the only song where they became playful with their instruments to produce a good sound effect. Also included were two Pinoy cuts, Kahit Pa and Kung Wala Ka. Not bad for those who prefer listening pure OPM.

Hale should work on another formula to cater different sound in their follow up album. Their Popish-type of songs is quite tiring to the ear especially when played repeatedly (unless you’re truly a Hale fanatic). Nevertheless, there’s nothing wrong in supporting our home-grown talent and giving their music a shot.


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