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Makopa

Makopa

Makopa


MAKOPA: SWEET FRUIT OF SOUL AND JAZZ The infectious grooves of Makopa are wafting out of the public-address system of Mag:Net Café in Katipunan—sort of announcing to the rain-drenched world at large that there are other forces of nature that can cause an equal amount of stir—and you feel like a boob for not being indoors witnessing it all. Indeed, this unassuming four-piece jam band from Diliman, whose music, characterized by improvisation, flavorful hints of jazz Read more on Last.fm
MAKOPA: SWEET FRUIT OF SOUL AND JAZZ The infectious grooves of Makopa are wafting out of the public-address system of Mag:Net Café in Katipunan—sort of announcing to the rain-drenched world at large that there are other forces of nature that can cause an equal amount of stir—and you feel like a boob for not being indoors witnessing it all. Indeed, this unassuming four-piece jam band from Diliman, whose music, characterized by improvisation, flavorful hints of jazz, and incendiary hooks—not to mention the unbelievable pipes of singer Nika Espinosa—is one such stirring “force.” (Aldus Santos) MAKOPA: SWEET FRUIT OF SOUL AND JAZZ The infectious grooves of Makopa are wafting out of the public-address system of Mag:Net Café in Katipunan—sort of announcing to the rain-drenched world at large that there are other forces of nature that can cause an equal amount of stir—and you feel like a boob for not being indoors witnessing it all. Indeed, this unassuming four-piece jam band from Diliman, whose music, characterized by improvisation, flavorful hints of jazz, and incendiary hooks—not to mention the unbelievable pipes of singer Nika Espinosa—is one such stirring “force.” Almost four years ago, the band released a modest EP of their material back then. For some reason (and pardon this early digression please), I remember reading about Walt Whitman’s seminal volume Leaves of Grass being a “continuing draft,” a Polaroid of a moment, so to speak.

The EP in question was sort of like that: a picture, a memento. As Mikey “Billy B.” Abola writes of the band’s upcoming release, “Makopa started this album on so many occasions,” but, “life does get in the way,” “life” being day jobs, raising a family, and, for keyboard player Jason Asistores, working to be a doctor. Nevertheless, the band is equal parts vocal and hesitant about the anachronism that would ensue had they opted to simply settle for the “versions” they committed to disc at that time. “That was our dark, experimental days. Alam mo ‘yung phase nu’ng kabataan mo na gusto mo lang ng weirdo; gusto mo lang gumawa ng hindi pa nagagawa ng iba?” drummer Alay Magno, who’s also part of Brigada, remembers, adding, “‘Yung songs na ‘yun, I can say that they partly defined the band.

‘Yun ‘yung mga kilalang kanta namin, and when we recorded them, amateurish talaga.” I personally beg to disagree; this band, much younger than mine and a host of others, has often displayed the opposite: sophistication and maturity. But, hey, standards are a good thing to have. “Since then, ang laki na ng growth namin as a band and as musicians,” axeman Arbie Pineda offers, to which Asistores seconds, “‘Yung old songs na sinama namin sa album, nag-evolve din sila, arrangement-wise.” To the already-initiated, signature Makopa numbers, such as ear-candy “Hello Digital World” and the heart-pounding “Salisi,” among others, are still there, but with more wisdom, if I may say so myself, and the confidence of a creatively “older” band. You get a good feel of the expanse of Makopa’s collective capabilities in these two numbers alone.

In the former, a brewing insanity is effectively coated in sugar; in the latter, meanwhile, a relationship narrative is propelled by an apt musical backdrop (a perfect marriage of form and content if there ever was one). Oh, and also at the helm as a facilitator of good ideas in the studio, is veteran musician-producer Dan Gil, whom you may heard about in more recent times as pianist for Chillitees. “Ako, personally, I liked the experimental phase, pero the album serves the purpose of documenting the band,” Asistores offers, continuing, “Actually, may ‘memorabilia’ feel for us [‘yung album]. The EP documented the band when we were a year or two old; the album documents a seven-year-old band.” He pauses in thought. “Personally, the embarrassment [in being experimental], I don’t feel it, but the maturity—yeah, I’d like to document it.

Personally, I still like the weird shit.” “You’re not ashamed of it, but it’s still funny, at [one] point,” Magno explains with a chuckle, adding, “Mas maganda ding gawin namin ‘yung mga kanta as our present selves.” A discussion about that impalpable quality that we only vaguely refer to as “musical maturity” persists. Clearly, this is one band that enjoys music as being one or all of these things: a cerebral endeavor, a public undertaking, or a sentimental snapshot. What does music bring Makopa? “Sarap?” offers their singer Nika Espinosa, to which her bandmates nod their uncertain agreement. “I don’t want to say that we’re tempering our talents; we’re just channeling them,” Asistores, wife-cum-bassist in tow, clarifies.

“Pipili ka lang ng what serves the song best; I think that’s a sign of maturity,” Magno offers yet another guess. This guesswork, I’m guessing, is what music is about. You don’t know what it does, but dammit, it just feels so good. (Aldus Santos) Read more on Last.fm.

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