MANILA -- While other young groups are bent on idolizing Korean pop, the nine-member Alamat opted to wear their Pinoy roots proudly, not only in the way they look, but even in how they speak and more importantly, in their music.
The newly-launched boy band of Viva Records, Alamat is composed of nine young men who previously didn’t know each other, as they all came from different parts of the country. They speak in different local languages and have individual personalities.
Normally, bands are formed because of the members’ common affinity.
Yet, surprisingly, the members of Alamat instantly gelled. Spreading culture and multilingual diversity, they are all proud about their respective regions. They also fondly call their fans and supporters “Magiliw.”
Alamat is made up of Taneo from Kalinga, Mo from Zambales, Jao from Pampanga, Kin from Quezon City, R-Ji from Eastern Samar, Valfer from Negros Occidental, Gami from Bohol, Tomas from Albay and Alas from Davao City. They went through auditions last May.
The group’s creative director, noted director Jason Paul Laxamana, called for applicants and a number of talented boys showed up.
“When we conceptualized Alamat, the band was formed to be a multilingual group,” Laxamana told ABS-CBN News. “If the applicant is talented but doesn’t have what it takes, he will not be taken in. He should be willing to go through meticulous training, parang sa K-pop.”
The nine members all went through rigorous training before they were launched. “All of them have the qualities and character that we need to form this band,” Laxamana said.
“We wanted to get only seven members originally,” Laxamana added. “However, the last two, we really couldn’t just let go of them anymore, so we decided to make it nine members.”
The boys didn’t start from nothing. Everyone had singing, dancing, even rapping, and songwriting talents when they came to audition. They also play instruments.
“It was a matter of choosing the right members to breathe life into the group and our music,” Taneo, one of the two leaders in the group, told ABS-CBN News.
“It was a major advantage that we didn’t know each other from the start,” added Taneo. “We have diverse personalities. Globally, we want to showcase the Filipinos to the world.”
Alamat recently launched the music video for their debut single, “kbye,” which the members wrote themselves. Alamat sings in a total of seven Philippine languages – Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Bicolano, Waray-Waray, Hiligaynon and Bisaya – definitely a first for any local pop group.
The debut will be just the beginning of an interesting musical journey for Alamat, who seeks to provide more than just music and entertainment.
The nine members of Alamat are now housed in a common place, where they all undergo training 12 hours a day. Daily, they go through dance and voice classes, even acting workshops.
Together with their vocal coach Zebedee Zuñiga and dance coach Jim Amen, the training of the Alamat band members is bound to continue for years even after their launch.
A unique prerequisite in the application process, according to Laxamana, aside from potential in singing and dancing, is the individual’s proficiency in his native tongue.
Going through the interesting daily interaction of the boys, one will hear Tagalog, Ilocano, Waray, Bisaya or Kapampangan spoken intermittently.
“From the very beginning, Alamat was envisioned to be a multilingual boy group that would aim to normalize the use of regional languages in mainstream music,” Laxamana stressed.
“K-pop dominate the world with their music without dropping the Korean language. We want Alamat to be the torch bearer ng P-pop. They will incorporate local dialects into their songs.”
From their lyrics and music videos, to the musical arrangement of their songs and down to their fashion and choreography, Alamat aims to break the mold of what it means to be a boy band in a K-pop-dominated world.
For Alamat, Ninuno Media collaborated with Viva Records. Ninuno Media is a subsidiary of Viva to put Filipino culture into the mainstream.
“Alamat has this edge and nice concept,” said Punch Liwanag, advertising and promotions manager of Vicor Records, a sister company of Viva Records. “They show their own brand and own flavor, not just copying K-pop. Viva Records is introducing a new sound and new style with Alamat.”
Bang Pineda designed the clothes of Alamat, which merge the Pinoy cultural heritage and modern pop music to project the newest boy group.
From the name of their group, to the use of local languages in their lyrics and their heritage-filled aesthetics, Alamat promises to offer to audiences a proudly and uniquely Filipino experience that both entertains and boosts national pride.