Cebu is home to the many greats of Philippine music history; Pilita Corrales, Yoyoy Villame (born in Bohol – but we love him*), Max Surban,
Cueshe, and Urbandub to name a few. This place is rich in culture, and for some reason cultivates ones passion for art. I guess Cebu’s size and its art scene discourages conformity. People can smell bullshit if an artist is simply going with what’s popular or what’s not. Perhaps that is why so many bands die out after a year or so, aside from the fact that being an artist here isn’t financially sustainable. If you’re doing it for the wrong reasons then the fire for art will eventually die out after some time. Being a real artist in Cebu is very difficult.
One band that emerged from Cebu soil is Bethany. They combine positive semi-christian lyrics with pleasant distortions, catchy hooks, and clever arrangements. Their sound reminds me of Mae, Reliant K, and other Christian rock bands. The band is comprised of the Quibranza brothers, Luis, Angelo, Paolo, and Jan Osbert Dela Cerna. I had the pleasure of talking to them and I found out they (Quibranza brothers) come from a musically inclined family. Their mom was a typical music-loving teenager who had an orchestra-composing grandpa, and their dad was a national singing champion for a GMA7 contest in the ‘80s. With parents who are passionate about music, they have total support as musicians, not to mention they live in the same house, and they get to practice as much as they want without having to worry about scheduling. Many overlook this fact, but rehearsing is a crucial part of music, so Bethany’s logistic arrangement is perfect.
In their live performances, these guys deliver. Their showmanship is good. I have to say Luis’ songwriting is notable, his lyrics achieve a certain depth and conveys the message easily. With their catchy hooks and interesting arrangements, a modern rock fan will most likely fall for their songs. He is undoubtedly one of the better songwriters in Cebu’s indie scene.
But at times amidst all their positivity, they lose my attention. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I like a little variety of emotions or feel when I listen to music. I have yet to hear a darker sound from this band. Their songs are almost too uplifting for someone like me. Don’t get me wrong, I have moments where I need a pick-me-up and listen to that type music. I would want to hear a dark song from these kids. Like when I heard Metallica’s “The Unforgiven”, that blew my mind. The contrast of a heavy band doing a slow song was really interesting. That’s what I want to hear from Bethany, music that shies away from what they normally sound, or what they mostly write about, but this is just one man’s opinion, others may not agree. Regardless, Bethany is definitely one of the local bands to look forward to.