Bandang Lapis and its moving hit Sa Kabilang Buhay
The members of Bandang Lapis are huge admirers of Eraserheads, the iconic rock band from the '90s. While the E-Heads only took on the eraser end, they took the entire writing implement, hence the name lapis.
Bandang Lapis and its moving hit Sa Kabilang Buhay
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - August 27, 2020 - 12:00am

Out of the urban area of Montalban, Rizal came the band which calls itself Bandang Lapis. I do not know how the name came about. The best reason I can think of is that the members must have been classmates in school, where the wooden, lead-tipped lapis or pencils are mostly used by kids learning how to write.

Probably closer to the truth is the fact that Bandang Lapis is a tribute to the Eraserheads. The members of Bandang Lapis are huge admirers of the iconic rock band from the ‘90s. They just decided to do their idols better. While the E-Heads only took on the eraser end, they took the entire writing implement, hence the name lapis.

The charismatic late vlogger and YouTube star Emman Nimedez became a hitmaker with his song Teka Lang.

It looks like the band made a good choice because the name Bandang Lapis is now a famous one. This is thanks to the success of the tune Kabilang Buhay, the group’s most recent recording. I say that is a strange and rather risky title for a song. As everybody certainly knows, Kabilang Buhay is the Filipino term for the after death. It is said to be the place where the departed go after they breathe their last on earth.

The title as used in a song comes across as morbid. Death is not a pleasant subject because most Filipinos are superstitious about tempting fate. Don’t talk about it, let alone turn it into a song, “Baka magkatotoo,” is what they usually say.

Not so for the boys of Bandang Lapis though. Despite the fact that the recording deals with a no-no subject, it gave Bandang Lapis, its first big hit.

They sing, “…Bakit ba dumating ang oras na ito/ nabalitaan ko na wala ka na/ hindi ba’t sinabi mo hindi mo ko iiwan/ hindi pababayaan na ako’y mag-isa/ hindi ba’t sinabi mo sabay tayong tatanda/ bakit bigla ka na lang nandiyan sa kabilang buhay.” Ouch!

It is a sad tune that evokes the kundiman of old with the Tagalog lyrics and the singer’s plaintive delivery. It is a style that Pinoys enjoy listening to. This must be the reason why despite dealing with death, Kabilang Buhay found an admiring audience. By the way, the song comes with a video that tells the simple story. Boy and girl fall in love and dream of a life together. But death comes along and ends their story. I am sure that anybody who has lost a loved one will be able to relate to the video, feel the pain again and shed a tear or two. Well, we may not like songs about death but we do love being moved to tears. So go ahead and enjoy Kabilang Buhay.

Bandang Lapis is made up of John Lester Abano on vocals; Lyn Rey Beltran on guitar; Mark Jay Nievas also on guitar; Ryanpaul Marangga on bass guitar; Leanro Rapuno on drums; Jomari Gabriel Luna on keyboards; and Ivan Arcena Morallos, the rapper.

Still on Kabilang Buhay, I am sure many of you are familiar with Emman. He was the talented young man who tried to hold back time. The charismatic 27-year-old vlogger and YouTube star became a hitmaker with his song Teka Lang. “Pabagalin muna natin ang ikot ng mundo/ pahintuin mga kamay ng oras ng relo/ dahan dahan lang/ dahan dahan lang/….puwede bang magpahinga muna saglit?”

Unfortunately for Emman, his request was unheeded. He passed away last Aug. 16 at one o’clock in the morning, a few hours after he was rushed to the hospital. He revealed last May that he had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a fast-spreading type of cancer of the blood cells and the bone marrow. He gave a good fight but still lost the battle.

Born Emman Nimedez, he made his mark with his parodies of Korean telenovelas on YouTube for which he garnered millions of views. Because of these, fans dubbed him the Pinoy Opaah. He later branched out into recording and scored well with light hip-hop tunes like Uuwian, Baby Pauwi Na Ko and Kung Puwede Lang. Teka Lang was his biggest seller. The tune returned to No. 1 in the hit lists after his demise.

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