Music Mavens

Watch—or listen—out as four piece Filipino band Bamboo takes its music to Singapore. Boasting a stellar lineup that includes Bamboo Manalac on vocals, Ira Cruz on guitar, Nathan Azarcon on bass and Vic Mercado on drums, this act has won many accolades and the thumbs up. We chat up these musicians, offer them bamboo shoots, and try to be friendly.
How was Bamboo started?
A few phone calls between old friends and luck played a part. The first jam we had was simply magical. We knew we had something special from then on. In 2003, we attacked every club and bar we could find just so we could play.
Ira claimed that “Bamboo” was chosen as the band name because it connotes strength and durability. Why the emphasis on these two qualities?
The name is about the bond and the journey we were all about to share as a band—that no matter what, we could weather any storm and stay strong. It’s our vision.
What sets Bamboo apart from other bands?
It has to be what each guy contributes to the process of making music. Each carries his own load and there’s a lot of freedom and trust within Bamboo, and that’s what sets it apart in my opinion.
Tell us more about your latest release, Light Peace and Love.
Time was the only enemy. This album was recorded in three months. To this day, we still wish we could redo a few things in the album but we are happy with the direction the album took. A lot of people were expecting a sound similar to that in our debut release, As the Music Plays, but this album took us somewhere else.
Ira claims that the lyrics for the songs in Light Peace and Love are heavier, as compared to the songs for As the Music Plays. Why?
This album is a personal one, a diary that records the roller coaster year we had. The songs in it talks about loss, commitment, hope and change are therefore, heavier than in As the Music Plays.
Is there anyone in particular you would like to collaborate with?
We’re excited to meet Singapore’s finest musicians and listen to new stuff. You never know what may come out of it.
Any hopes about your coming gig at Bar None?
We’re looking forward to see how the people react to our music. We hope people will really listen and enjoy the music we make, because this is who and what we are. We’re hoping they will come for the ride. It’s a bumpy one but sweet.
Do you have any advice for bands out there hoping to make it big?
Get up from bed and conquer the world.