Before the Eraserheads changed the Filipino band scene essentially to how it is today, there was the Introvoys which for a time in the early ‘90s lorded the local charts in tremendous fashion that, at the conclusion of a Campus radio 97.1 WLS-FM OPM year-end countdown, which at the time was a key source for real, big hits, the top 1 and 2 spots were occupied by their songs “Di Na ‘Ko Aasa Pa” and “Will I Survive,” respectively.
I was in high school dealing with puberty and crushes when the riff on their breakthrough hit “However Which Way” became a must-play for us boys learning how to play the guitar, even if on record it is played on a keyboard. It’s a pity that their greatest hits are somewhat now relegated by the younger generation to what may be labeled as forgotten classics. Well, I tell you, it’s a band whose music significantly served as a backdrop to my young years.
While watching one of their first gigs with my late brother Kuya Boygic (or when few people would clap at their still-unknown repertoire of originals, Kuya told me, “sisikat ‘tong banda na ‘to. (This band would be famous).” No doubt he was right. He especially liked “Calling All Nations” because it sounded like a pure New Wave joy.
At one point the chord pattern D-A-G-A is a catchword because of “Line To Heaven” and Paco Arespacochaga was the coolest drummer in town. I can’t think of a more famous Filipino associated with electronic drums.
Jonathan Buencamino’s singing may sometimes be criticized for its ‘slang’ that sounds stiff when he sings in Tagalog. But boy there’s great amount of class in his vocals – something you can’t get from the singing ‘kanto boys’ that rock alternative fans put in pedestal in some ways to a fault. His voice is a blessing to the sensitive ears.
Let me enumerate some other Introvoys gems that impacted my musical youth: “Stay,” “Tell Me Why,” “Lullabye,” and the one that gets better as you hear it over and over: “Living My Life.”
Having said these things, I’m glad the band has kept its run and is doing well in the US, now being given the credit they deserve. They will be headlining the Mayfest 2023 free admission-event happening at the Carson Civic Center, California. A press release says that Wish USA is bringing the band to the event’s main stage.
Introvoys is currently composed of Buencamino (vocals), Arespacochaga (drums), JJ Buencamino (keyboard), and Vic Carpio (guitar).
A fund-raising annual event, Mayfest will feature other Fil-Am acts making a name for themselves. Its producers are recognizing caregiving agencies and the caregivers who are “exceptional leaders in care and whose services are valuable to the community.”
To benefit from Mayfest 2023 is CA Care Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering and enriching the lives of California residents through person-centered homes and community-based programs. For event sponsorships and donations, people can contact W Foundation at (818) 4479374 and Mic Diaz Presents at (213) 6779768.
CA Care Association executive director Mark Alipio said, “Proceeds of the event will improve the delivery of care for individuals and increase the skills of direct care workers.”
I met Mark in person and I could see his sincerity in doing what he can to help people regardless of nationality. His touching story, and that of his family, is an example of what the American Dream provides to people with pure intention coupled by hard work and determination, very much like what the Introvoys did when they gave up their reign during the ‘90s, saw “the world in one day” and “walk the world” to become arguably the biggest Filipino band in America.