The end came swiftly to Pinoy folk music legend Heber Bartolome.
His pulse stopped, younger brother Jess told friends on the day Bartolome died on the night of 15 November.
Although he had been suffering from a number of ailments, including prostate cancer, the 73-year-old singer-songwriter and visual artist probably wasn’t expecting he would breathe his last on that fateful date.
In any case, he had lived a full life. As a musician he helped found Original Pilipino Music (OPM) by way of his group, Banyuhay (with his brothers Jess and Levi), and such immortal songs as “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy,” “Nena,” “Ihip ng Hangin,” “Pasahero,” among many others, plus his solo work that includes “Karaniwang Tao,” “Almusal,” “Awit sa Kasal,” the list goes on.
Bartolome was also a controversial figure, not only in married life, but also in his dealings with fellow musicians who had accused him of unfair business practices as a record producer and label owner.
I wanted to ask him about what happened to the proceeds of the fund-raising gig he mounted with Mike Hanopol to help Wally Gonzalez, who was then suffering from a life-threatening disease.
Gonzalez’s wife told me Hanopol gave her the runaround when she asked for an accounting. (Gonzalez died on 23 July).
In any case, I hope Bartolome was at peace in the last moments of his life.
Another case of sudden death was that of American drummer Mike Shapiro, who had played with some of the world’s most popular musicians, and who happened to be married to Filipino singer Katrina Velarde.
She issued a statement, though the cause of Shapiro’s death was not mentioned:
“It is with deep regret that I wish to announce the passing of my husband, musician and educator Mike Shapiro last 14 November in Quezon City, at the age of 57. Mike was a drummer, percussionist and music producer who recorded and toured extensively with Sergio Mendes and other music stars like Natalie Cole, Al Jarreau, Flora Purim, will.i.am and others.
“He was also a close associate of Herb Alpert with whom he worked for many years until the time of his death. He taught at the LA Academy of Music where he was also vice president, director of education and dean of students. He was also a professor at the Herb Alpert School of Music. Prayers for the repose of his soul are most appreciated and I would like to request for privacy during this difficult time.”
‘This Bandang Juans’
Three wildly popular Pinoy groups are teaming up for an online concert dubbed This Bandang Juans on 20 November on KTX.ph, iWantTFC and TFC IPTV.
I say “wildly popular” since the three groups’ achievements are exemplary:
The first group, This Band, recorded the phenomenal hit “Kahit Ayaw Mo Na,” which has over 106.8 million streams on Spotify and more than 50 million accumulated views on YouTube.
More hits followed: “Hindi Na Nga” (with over 76 million streams on Spotify alone), “’Di Na Babalik” (43.3 million) and “Nang Iwan” (16.5 million).
This Band is composed of lead vocalist Andrea Manzano, guitarist-songwriter Euwie Von Loria, keyboardist Melvin Carson, lead guitarist Raymart Gubat, bassist Miccael Galvan and drummer John Macaranas.
The second group, Bandang Lapis, released the track “Kabilang Buhay” which has over 50 million views for its music video, 63.4 million views for its Wish Bus performance, and over 35. 4 million streams on Spotify.
Bandang Lapis is composed of lead vocalist Lesther Abano, guitarists Mark Jay Nievas, Ryan Paul Marangga, Lenrey Jamorol Beltran, drummer Leandro Repuno, spoken word-and-rapper Mark Ivan Morallos and keyboardist Jomari Luna.
The third group, The Juans, are known for the songs “Atin Ang Mundo,” “Magkasama” “Nasayang Lang,” “Prom,” “Hindi Tayo Pwede,” “Istorya” and “Pangalawang Bitaw,” as well as recent hits “Dulo” and “Anghel.”
These songs have a combined number of almost 140 million streams on Spotify alone.
The Juans are vocalists Carl Guevarra and Japs Mendoza, rhythm guitarist RJ Cruz, bassist Chael Adriano and drummer Joshua Coronel.
Tickets to the concert are available on KTX.ph, iWantTFC and TFC IPTV, or contact Viva Live, (+632) 8687-7236 and 0908 814-4601.
It’s been a while since South Border’s Jay Durias released a new song. But I know he’s been writing new stuff lately.
The surprise is, the multi-talented musician has recorded a track called “Better” which will surely please his fans and followers.
It’s a feel-good tune, invigorating to listen to especially when you’re stressed. Catch it on select radio stations and soon on Spotify.