Releasing his new album Byahe under Universal Records is what Noel Cabangon considers as his first major leap into the mainstream world ofmusic. In the past, he has already released four albums under the Jesuit Music Ministry and one under Ballyhoo Records. His albums include Pasakalye (2001), H’wag Mangamba (2002), Medjas (2003) and Noel (2003).
One song of the acoustic singer became very popular and that is "Kanlungan" or more popularly called Pana-Panahon. Unknown to a lot of people, Noel has been in the business since the mid-80s. His music speak of social, political advocacies he carries as a member of Akbayan, Amnesty International and Greenpeace.
"I’d like to think that it’s an opportunity because it’s the first time for me be on a major label. So, I’d like to see what will really gonna happen after this. Although I know it can open a lot of opportunities for me."
Bakit Byahe ang napili nilang title ng bago niyang album?
"Byahe because ’yong mga kanta rito ay mga kinalakihan natin. Somehow, it has touched our lives and we grew up with and it has been cross-over to generation and years. Byahe is also an album that we can listen to while we are traveling or driving. Very, very sedate and simple arrangement," says Noel.
In an excerpt from Noel’s press kit, it was written that Noel was actively involved in the creation and popularization of alternative Filipino music. Together with Rom Dongento and Rene Boncocan, he formed a group called Buklod in 1987. And this has lead to the production of three albums that tackle socio-political-cultural issues: Bukid at Buhay, an album which speaks of the lives, struggles and aspirations of the Filipino peasants; Tatsulok, an album on human rights; and Sa Kandungan ng Kalikasan, an advocacy album on the environment.
Noel has already toured most of the countries in central Europe and performed for Filipinos and Europeans in The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, France and Belgium.
And as a singer-songwriter, Noel has earned numerous awards from different award giving body. He has also written several songs for other mainstream artists such as Cesar Montano, Randy Santiago, Dingdong Avanzado, Nikki Gil and many others.
He also wrote the theme song of the indie film Ded Na Si Lolo. And he was happy to know that independent movie was selected as the Philippine entry for the 82nd Academy Award next year.
"It’s really good to know that Ded Na Si Lolo is on its way and I’m part of it, so, I’m really like overwhelmed. It’s awesome, Oscar, wow!" masaya niyang sabi.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked Noel to name his idols when it comes to composing.
"Well, I look up to Ryan Cayabyab, he’s a very great composer. Gary Granada, Joey Ayala. With the young ones, I like Bamboo."
Medyo matagal bago siya nakasagot when we asked him about Ogie Alcasid as a songwriter. And he said, "Well, paano ba? Hindi kasi ’yun ang type of music na gusto ko. Of course, I like ’yung may pagka-edgy and alternative. Of course, I do, also like love songs but I’m more of the edgy and alternative types."
Naniniwala ba siya that his kind of music never dies or is it seasonal?
"I think so, it has already evolved into what they now call acoustic. Although for a while, parang it died down. Kung ano ang uso, yun yun. But now, we have a new set of market: the younger generation.
"And I think, that’s also the reason why they released this album and that is to bring the music to the younger ones."
There are 15 tracks included in his new album Byahe, which is now out in all record bars.
1. Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko (originally by Sharon Cuneta)
2. Tuloy Pa Rin (originally by Neocolours)
3. Binibini (originally by The Rainmakers)
4. Ang Aking Awitin (originally by Bong Gabriel)
5. Di Na Natuto (originally by Gary Valenciano)
6. Ang Buhay Nga Naman
7. Kanlungan with Aia De Leon of Imago
8. Dito Sa Kanto with Chito Miranda of Parokya Ni Edgar
9. Kung Kailangan Mo Ako (originally by Rey Valera)
10. Ipagpatawad mo (originally by VST & Company)
11. Pag-ibig (originally by APO Hiking Society)
12. Pinay (originally by Florante)
13. Tao (originally by Sampaguita)
14. Pagbabalik (originally by Asin)
15. Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musika (originally by Hadji Alejandro)