By Bong Forouzan
In memory of Lolo Snaffu
Filipino musikeros, pride of the Phil-Anglo community, gathered together for a commemorative musical evening to pay respect to the ‘Philippine Father of Soul Music’ – Roberto Nicholas Rigor, lovingly known as Lolo Snaffu; who sadly passed away last August. The OPM legend Snaffu Rigor lost his battle with lung cancer at 69 but left an impressive multi-awarded legacy for music aficionados to cherish and emulate for generations to come. The concert was held at the popular ‘water-hole’ at pulutan, musician niche and sosyalan hub – BarFM (London) – on Sunday, 18th September 2016.
Snafu is honoured in the Philippine entertainment industry for his talent in composing original songs that mostly tells a story of love and true life struggles. Incorporating Taglish lingua, he wrote songs that strike a cord in anyone’s heart and hence became not just a memory but remains “alive” through time. Rigor started composing in 1964. He wrote hit songs (music and/or lyrics) for different recording artists ie Bato sa Buhangin (Ermani Cuenco / Cinderalla), English version of Araw-araw Gabi-gabi, T.L Ako sa 'Yo (Cinderella), Bulag, Pipi at Bingi "Freddie Aguilar." / "The_2nd_Metro_Manila_Popular_Music_Festival""Metro Manila Popular Music Festival" 2nd MetroPop Music Festival grand prize song winner 1979), Macho Gwapito ("Rico J. Puno" Rico J. Puno), Mr. Dreamboy ( "Sheryl Cruz" Sheryl Cruz), Boy, I Love You ( "Cherie Gil" Cherie Gil / "Donna Cruz" Donna Cruz), Eto Na Naman ( "Gary Valenciano" Gary Valenciano), Gusto Kita (Gino Padilla), Paano ang Puso Ko ( "April Boy Regino" April Boy Regino), Larawang Kupas (Jerome Abalos), Bumper to Bumper (Love Anover), and for Nicole & Cris Byaheng Jeepney and Tambalan. Rigor was also a member of the bands Ramrods, Cinderella, Backdoor and Blackbuster, heads the Domestic A&R of Blackgold and lastly the 70's Superband (with Nonoy Tan, Rey Magtoto, Monet Gaskell, Mon Espia and brothers Nitoy and Jun Mallilin).
The UK gig, billed “Manila Sound Tribute to Lolo Snaffu,” was organised by Port Malilin (producer, Side Projects), master-jedi-lead guitarist Norbz Gayanilo (founder, Pinoy Musikero UK) and cielo-virtuso Doddie Victorino in cooperation with May Placencia-Gonzales (proprietor, Bar FM) assisted by behind-the-scene-crew – Eugene, Hanzel, Maricho, Raquel, and Marlon – with DJ Kizzer and DJ Ara as hosts. Most commendable product of the tribute concert is the donation that the organisers gave to Cancer Research UK (ref # 2YQ7QSAUD4N); made possible from the generous contributions of sponsors and kind-hearted supporters.
The evening kick-started, even before the official programme line-up began, with an early fill from the performers’ mike-tests. The tribute was made-up of different OPM hit songs from different composers, arrangers and artists; but definitely all performers picked a song or two from Snaffu’s original compositions. The solo artists were Regin Requerdan (the PNP Chief Gen. Bato look-alike) sang Tuloy Pa rin Ako, Gusto Kita and Macho Gwapito; 13 years old Adelaide Cana, in her debut performance, sang Sharon Cuneta’s Mr DJ and cover song Tell Me; 13 years old Clarissa Mae Ragrag, recently crowned Gig Champion Busker 2016 for the Mayor of London’s new London Is Open campaign, sang her winning rendition of Sia’s ballad Titanium and cover song Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow plus an acoustic interpretation of Milky Way; 60’s Pop music revivalist Ed Tinoso belted Bulag, Pipi at Bingi and the kundiman song O Kay Sarap Mabuhay; last but not least soloist was Jeri Dada, whose wholesome husky voice had the audience swooning in her renditions of Sharon Cuneta’s Ikaw and Sana’y Walang Wakas. The band performers were: Lucero Famband – the upcoming Pinoy version of the Von Trapp family – Jahna started with Angeline Quinto’s Bakit ba Minahal Kita, mumsie Juvilyn debuted with Wily Cruz’ composition Bituin Walang NingNing and dad Jun rocked with Mike Hanopol’s No Touch; The Good Vibes – Stanley (keyboard), Cherry (vocalist), Boy (bass), Alex (drums) and Norbz (guitar) – rocked through TL Ako Sa’yo, Moonstar’s Pag-ibig ko Sa’yo and Sampaguita’s Sayawan; VelvetChild – Belle Anna, Ka Roni, Arvin, Michael, Errol and Elmer – had the audience swaying in their version of Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal composed by Alex Mallillin, cover song Boys do Fall In Love, and their original compositions – Pangarap and Sigaw; the explosive SkyLove band –Jason (drums), Francis (guitar), Eugene (bass) and Norbz (lead guitar) – flared through the songs Pag-ibig ko’y Sayo, JDC cover titles Project and Sarap ng Buhay and Kuwago recorded by Anakbayan; D’ Intruders – Ela (vocalist), Kuya Rey (drums), Michael (keyboard), Darell (lead guitar), JayR (bass) – had the audience dancing along Larawang Kupas, Sampaguita’s Tao. VST’s Ipagpatawad Mo and Sumayaw Sumunod; SeenZone – Bob, Jayar, Arvin, Errol, Gester and Tholits – the hunk band from Finchely sealed the night with Freddie Aguilar’s Hahabol-Habol, the indie version of Boyfriends’ Dahil Mahal Kita and JDC’s Kahit Anong Mangyari.
The evening, according to master-jedi-Norbz, was… eargastromic..!!
No doubt Lolo Snaffu Rigor was in ‘Cloud 9’ as he watched from the heavens the many talented Pinoy UK musikeros who pooled in the tribute concert in his memory and his music. Musikeros who got to meet Lolo Snaffu are inspired with his parting advice to “Carry on [with their dreams and music] not for the money or fame but for [their] talent..”
[And so therefore]… Let the music play on…. //ends //