Female rock idols take their sisterhood onstage

Nathalie M. Tomada - The Philippine Star
Female rock idols take their sisterhood onstage
Barbie Almalbis, Acel Bisa, Hannah Romawac, Lougee Basabas, Aia de Leon and Kitche Nadal (shown on video) are set to share the same concert stage in Tanaw on Nov. 26, 8 p.m., at The Theatre at Solaire.

MANILA, Philippines — In a rare coming together of female alt-rock idols, Aia de Leon, Acel Bisa, Barbie Almalbis, Hannah Romawac, Lougee Basabas and Kitchie Nadal are sharing the same concert stage for the first time in Tanaw.

Produced by GNN Entertainment and co-presented by Solaire Resort Entertainment City, the one-night show is happening this Nov. 26 (8 p.m.) at The Theatre at Solaire.

Perhaps contrary to the perception of many music fans, these lead vocalists of late ‘90s/early 2000s bands have been friends off stage, not rivals, with some of them becoming close when they pursued solo careers and even more so during the pandemic. To recall, Aia was with Imago; Barbie, Hungry Young Poets and Barbie’s Cradle; Hannah, Session Road; Lougee, Mojofly; Acel, Moonstar88; and Kitchie, Mojofly.

But the forming of this “supergroup” all started with a “reunion” photo shared on The STAR’s Facebook page that quickly went viral. One day, everyone just decided to finally meet over lunch and bond in person after mainly keeping in touch online.

“That really started with that lunch. Then you guys posted our picture and then it went viral,” Aia revealed how the get-together pic reposted by this paper’s digital arm led to Tanaw, during an exclusive chat with her, Acel, Barbie, Hannah and Lougee ahead of their Saturday concert. (Kitchie was still in Spain, where she’s been based with her family, at the time of the interview.)

Hannah also recalled, “Wow kumain lang tayo guys, but the energy of that whole lunch, at least for me, baka pwede may something. I wasn’t really saying it out loud. But like, looking at the table, there was so much talent in (one place) that I was thinking, ‘di naman impossible.”

While nobody on that table was voicing out musical possibilities, it was a different story in the comments section. Barbie noted, “In the comments section, people were like, uy may ganap ba? Ako naman, kung mangyari ‘to, game agad. Kaya lang I didn’t want to make the first move. But on that same day, biglang nag-message yung GNN, (they said) kung mag-ko-concert kayo, kami na (producer).”

The rest, as they say, is herstory.

Aia said, “We grew up in an era together, we paid our dues together. We share a profound joy making music, writing songs and performing them in front of a live audience. We’ve never braved a celebration in this scale together before, and I feel very blessed to be a part of this.”

During the concert, the singer-songwriters will be delivering individual and collaborative numbers that highlight some of the defining moments of their careers. This “supergroup” is performing for one night only, but who knows? Two weeks before the concert, 80 percent of the tickets were already sold.

Meanwhile, The STAR asked their takeaways from the experience of working with each other on this show. And from what they shared, Tanaw is going to be a celebration of girl power and sisterhood, and not just their shared love and passion for music. Read on.

Contrary to the perception perhaps of many music fans, these lead vocalists of late ‘90s/early 2000s bands have been friends off stage.
Photos by Geremy Pintolo

Aia: “At the very least, what I was expecting is yung moving forward with the music, yung may chance na magkasabay kami kasi mas comfortable kami (with each other), parang gig na catch-up and hang-out. You’re happy and you’re enjoying because you’re with people you can trust. You’re in a fellowship… It’s a place where you grow more and you have a home. Your identity is even encouraged. I feel braver when I’m with them.”

Barbie: “I’m so grateful that we have this. Our sisterhood is actually beyond music. If you ask why is it that we don’t compete with each other, it’s because we have that and because nahanap natin yung identity natin outside of it. We just want to praise God for bringing us into where we are now. And I want to share this to young people because sa totoo lang sometimes naririnig ko rin, siempre I have friends na mga bata, you can’t help but sometimes hear. Because they’re new in the industry, they start out being bright-eyed musicians. Tapos pagdating dun, pinagko-compete na sila, naririnig mo sa kanila yung pressure na yun. It has also taken us time and experience and the grace of God na andito pa rin tayo and na-realize natin na, guys, ‘di natin kailangan sumali sa ganyan.”

Lougee: “To be honest, this is the highlight of my musical career. Emotionally, spiritually, it’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done kasi parang I’ve been through seasons na up and down. Minsan naliligaw ako sa ibang industriya, I even tried showbiz. But this is the most I’ve felt like… I am home. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I don’t have to pretend to be somebody else, I’ll just be me.

“I super value and have high respect for all for these women because not only do they exude grace, beauty and talent, talagang you really feel they’re authentic and genuine. And, if you make a mistake, may sasalo sa ‘yo. I’m not scared, I’m very excited. I wish the audience will feel that vibe that we share. It’s such a beautiful moment and energy to be performing together.”

Acel: “Nakita ko lang yung excitement of everyone and then the effort. For example, Kitchie, she’s not here but parang andun din siya. Si Aia, ang mag-ko-call sa kanya, ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing.’ Sobrang everyone is very inclusive. We’re all in this together, ganung vibe, ganung feeling. It’s like a reunion of friends seeing each other again and doing what they love together.”

Apart from their music, the singer-songwriters are going to celebrate friendship and sisterhood during the Tanaw show produced by GNN Entertainment.

Hannah: “To be honest, ako yung pinaka-hindi na active. Iba na yung buhay ko actually, but music is still part of whom I am. Alam mo yung kung paano nila akong sinupport, they were so careful in how they encouraged me like, tara, let’s do this. Dude, ang tagal ko ng hindi nakakanta. I don’t know (when was the last time). Medyo bumitaw nga ako at yun naging brave ako (to perform again) because of them. You can just come in with all of your weaknesses and they’ll just be (embracing you).

“One thing I have to say, the whole process was napaka-good vibes, no joke! For us, it was more fun, sobrang saya! One thing we all share is music. We enjoy each other’s songs… But for me, the most important thing that has happened is the friendship that I’m building with all of these girls. That’s my biggest takeaway.”

(Contact Ticketworld for ticket inquiries.)


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