Maybe The Night, Kathang Isip, and Leaves are just few of the songs I love from the emerging indie fold/folk pop band in the Philippines, Ben&Ben. They are currently making hits around the country with exciting concerts and chart-topping singles.
I was given a chance to witness the first full-length album launch of Ben&Ben at Ayala Museum Makati last May 10, 2019. It was participated by media and press people to cover the said artistically-curated event.
Without releasing a proper full-length album since 2019, the nine-piece act has amassed more than 300 million streams on Spotify and Youtube combined, and headlined concerts and festivals here and abroad. Formerly known as The Benjamins, the indie-folk outfit has achieved critical and commercial success in less than 3 years — a proof that they’re in for the long run.
This year, the band is ready to take their journey to the next level with the release of their debut album, Limasawa Street. Derived from “Masawa” which is a Butuanon word for light, the 13-track opus embraces the beauty of finding luminescence in darkness. “We wanted the album to represent a place of light by singing about hopeful perspectives in troubled situations,” lead singer and guitarist Paolo Guico shares. It’s also the name of a street that holds a special place in one of the members’ heart, grounded with a deeply personal story that offers the comforts of life and home.
Most of the songs in the album were written in a relatively narrow time frame. Despite their hectic schedules, Paolo and Miguel Guico spent significant hours in the studio writing songs for the album. The rest of the band, on the other hand, had to record their parts individually for all thirteen songs. It took Ben&Ben three months to finish the recording, on top of juggling live shows and concerts in between.
Hard work eventually paid off, resulting into an eclectic collection of anthems that challenged their creative process. “Limasawa Street really stretched and explored our limits, in terms of both songwriting and arranging,” Paolo Guico reflects. “During our arranging retreat, we tackled each song with a very particular mindset, but not necessarily a clear cut direction. There was a lot of sharing of different musical and technical influences, which resulted in arrangements that were all so different from each other, but all still cohesively and distinctly Ben&Ben.” This level of commitment manages to break sonic and lyrical barriers, exploring various music styles from world music to ’60s soul, jazz to choral music, and employing afro-latin breaks, indigenous stylings, rock arrangements, and other eclectic elements to their brand of radio-friendly folk-pop tunes.
With Limasawa Street out this month, Ben&Ben takes control of their destiny with an album that stretches music-making to exciting, entirely new places.
The album will be available starting May 17, 2019. Get a copy of Limasawa Street on their upcoming tour dates: May 17 at Marquee Mall, May 19 at Harbor Point, June 9 at Centrio Mall, June 15 at Ayala Malls Capitol Central, June 22 at Ayala Malls Legazpi, June 23 at The District Imus, June 29 at Ayala Center Cebu, July 13 at Alabang Town Center, June 20 at Ayala Malls Circuit, June 27 at Ayala Malls Solenad, August 9 at TriNoma and August 17 at Abreeza. Albums will also be available at booths near the concierge from May 10 to 12 at the following Ayala Malls: Abreeza, Alabang Town Center, Ayala Center Cebu, Ayala Malls Legaspi, MarQuee Mall, Solenad, and Trinoma.