Sonny Orallo says his world came crashing down after tests revealed the excruciating pain in his stomach showed he has liver cancer. The thought of raising money for 21 sessions of a non-radiation type of treatment apparently adds to the weight of his worries.
His friends are dumbfounded since—irony of ironies—Orallo is a fitness coach by profession and, by extension, is averse to vices.
But hey, one of Orallo’s La Salle Taft buddies JJ Atayde tells another friend, “Let’s do a benefit gig to raise some money and believe Sonny can get well, because I know somebody who licked liver cancer through treatment.”
Now this has never happened in the local live music circuit — but classic rock trio The Jerks and Steely Dan tribute group Black Cows will play back to back on April 16 at 19 East to help in the medical expenses of Orallo, an avid fan of both bands.
A key figure that made the show possible is Black Cows founder and 19 East owner Wowee Posadas, who has recently taken a sabbatical from performing. “The show on April 16 is not an ordinary one. For me, it’s more than music and performing. It’s about making a difference by helping a friend in need,” Posadas tells ANCX.
He says he has always wanted to jam with The Jerks’ front man Chickoy Pura. Now’s the chance. How is he preparing for it?
“Before the Black Cows, the only band I know who covered Steely Dan songs was The Jerks,” Posadas explains. “Chickoy is actually one of my inspirations in forming the Black Cows. It would be a treat to share the stage with him. The arrangements of the songs of Steely Dan are beautiful but complicated. So, we are currently rehearsing intensively for the gig.”
Informed that he was instrumental in the formation of the Black Cows, Pura says: “I feel so honored to be credited… We all love Steely Dan music. The Black Cows members are all great musicians and they have all my respect. Looking forward to playing back to back with them!”
Wonderful changes in the show’s venue are something people who haven’t visited in a long time should know.
“19 East recently acquired a high-end, 96-channel digital mixer which further improved the already superior quality of its sound system,” boasts Posadas. “Also, during the pandemic, renovations were made to increase the seating capacity of its music hall from 150 to over 200. Now more people will enjoy the excellent service that 19 East offers.”
Pura has also been the beneficiary of fund-raisers due to his condition (lymphoma). What’s it like to receive help from fans and musician colleagues?
“To receive help from fans and colleagues is so overwhelming — it strengthens me and restores my faith in humanity and in God. It always reminds me to pay it forward,” says Pura.
On fighting cancer and performing at the same time, he says: “I’ve always believed it would help my healing if I continue with my passion. True enough, I don’t feel sick when I’m onstage playing. I draw my strength from what I do. Music heals. Hope I can inspire others by sharing the healing power of music.”
Pura has a message for Orallo: “To Sonny, keep yourself busy with things you can do. Keep your passion close to you, whatever it is. Leave your cares to God. The Jerks and the Black Cows are here for you. Laban lang, Sonny, kaya natin yan!”
Tickets at P2,000; for reservations, contact 0961 580 6037.