Lyka, Kuerdas Female Lead Vocals— Part II

Q: I understand that you have personal aspirations and dreams that’s why you joined national singing competitions. So why join a local band with already 9 members? Have you ever thought that you might lose your personal identity?
A: We joined because we think it is the easy way to get some income- the practical side of it. But as months go by, I can say that if you love music and you keep it in your heart, money is just a perk. The main purpose here is to pursue my passion in music and music has been my love.

Lyka, Kuerdas Lead Vocals
Lyka, Kuerdas Lead Vocals

And particulary reggae music has been an influence to me to be a nature lover and be more optimistic. My mother is a utility worker in our barangay na tinatawag na “tugsok”, the one who picks garbage in a particular area. Yes, she is. And I am very proud of my Mama kasi aside sa nasu- sustain niya ang mga pangangailangan ng mga kapatid ko, nakakatulong pa siya sa ating kalikasan. Hahaha so tagalog 😂🙈

Whenever I sing as Kuerdas, I never thought that I’ve lost my own identity. Mas lalo pa ngang nag- improve especially the way we handle stage presence and intensity of performance. Kuerdas taught me to be more determined and always to be down to earth; they’ve kept on reminding us na “kahit sumikat kayo one day, you must look back to where you’ve started.” We will keep every moral value that they kept injecting in us. PROMISE!

Q: So it never came to mind that you will lose your own identity? Please tell me. Who is Jeselli as a musician?
A: Mali po ba ang answer ko? Na- conscious ako 😬

Q: There are no wrong answers; I am only digging deeper into this because you were aspiring for individual and personal success as Jesseli. Kuerdas is a band; once Kuerdas performs, they are known as Kuerdas and it won’t be Jesseli anymore but rather, Jesseli of Kuerdas. It is now a collective pursuit; it’s a group effort. Achievements are shared; fame and TF is not yours alone. Am I making sense?
A: Yes po, absolutely right. Kasi po as a band and as a team, we always impose unity and respect. And by that, we maintain harmonious sound to the ears of our listeners. When I perform on stage, I do not think of myself on my own anymore, it’s me singing as “Kuerdas.”

Q: Very well said! So when they told you, kahit na sumikat kayo one day, “don’t forget to look back where you’ve started,” do you see fame as an individual or with Kuerdas?
A: Well, both of the choices. (dili lng fame nga word kay maulaw ko 🙈, well known ra😜). Pero mas naging well known kami because of Kuerdas and of the Glory of the Lord.

Q: Please tell me the story how you became a member of Kuerdas? When was that?
A: Angkol onyok reached out to us to be a substitute or shall we say temporary Female Lead Vocalists of Kuerdas when Kuya Mark had his vacation in Germany. So ayon! We started on August 9, 2017 at our first gig at Veranza po na halos kanta namin, mali yong pagka- deliver pero; it was normal kasi first time eh. I know Kuerdas Band is one of Gensan’s pride, bata pa ako niyan. I knew Kuerdas when I was 13 😊

Q: Kuerdas will be turning 15 years next year. Literally, you were only a baby when they started out.
A: Ang alam namin sa Kuerdas dati, nag-cha- chant lang sila sa mga cultural programs pero nag- gi- gig pa pala sila po. I admire their songs so much kasi makabuluhan 😊 Even my friends are so close to Kuerdas; it’s so different from what I expect. My first impression sa Kuerdas- mga bugoy, bastos, and adik kasi mga lalaki man gud puros 😬 (sorry sa word). I’ve been a manhater and it was just like, weeeeeh? Grabe! Every personality is easy to jive on. Walay hassle i-adjust sa ilahang mga ugali kasi they accommodate us very well.

Q: Lol! So they have proven you wrong?
A: Opo. Akala ko lang pala 😬 Maraming namamatay sa maling akala.

Q: Yes. Maling akala by Brownman Revival ang bagay sa imoha na kanta 😜 Wait a second— Mark is back. Is your role still temporary?
A: Hindi na po kasi they officially took us to be part of Kuerdas. 😊 It was August 16, 2017 in our second gig- while we were having our break time, they’ve surprised to tell us that we are now officially part of the family. 💖 KUERDAS BAND.

Q: Congratulations for being a permanent part of the premier reggae band in Socsargen! Now, when you say Kuerdas, they’d say Mark, the guy that sings and dances to those reggae beats. He’s been the sole lead vocals for 14 years. When you came on board, some people say Kuerdas, the band with twin singers. How do you feel to be identified that way?

A: Well, it gave me delightful feeling, as well as honored, kasi sa totoo lang, our career in Kuerdas is alive because everyone in the band exerted so much effort for this. It’s like being a part of their symphony and whenever we start to play and bullet a song, there it comes! Harmonious beat of reggae music makes people step out of their feet.

I have something to share- actually po before I entered Kuerdas, I have my part- time job at Gaisano mall, near grocery. I am one of the crew of Rema House Calamansi. I sell calamansi juice and concentrates.

One day, I saw Angkol Onyok and a kid beside him eating hotdog. Siempre kilala na nako si Angkol Onyok ning ato, kasi weve been in one event sa Youth Achiever’s Award before. Ang akong gibuhat, nagduko ko kasi maulaw ko 🙈 I dunno why. Then I saw a woman walking near him and I was guessing- is that his wife? 😂 ug nagtugma kasi nakilala ko na si Ate Shane 😂 Fastforward, nagkakasabay na yong mga schedules ko sa work at saka sa gigs. Now I have to decide kung ano bang mas matimbang sa akin? Work ba or pagbabanda? Kasi conflict na masyado ang scheds eh. (tantararan!) Then here I am- I chose Kuerdas. Kasi, iba eh. Lalo na pag you really love what you’re doing. Music is a heavy thing for me.

Q: Was it difficult to choose between Kuerdas and your part- time job?
A: At first po 😬 kasi po I pretty much anticipate this decision why I’m here at Kuerdas. I had frequent absences at work, doon po ako medyo nahiya ng pumasok, kasi madalas na; pero I always had the consent of our supervisor 😊 Medyo nanghinayang ako sa work kasi it will somehow open the door for me for my future job. I think every situation naman in our life, there are difficulties in between, pero I overcome po naman by God’s grace.

Q: You are a very strongwilled person and a fighter. Very admirable!
You mentioned that you can sing any repertoire. So when you accepted the temporary role, how did you prepare for the first gig, e.g. vocals, outfit, your overall image, etc?
A: Those are such flattering words- thank you po for saying that. You’re keeping me motivated and brave along the way 😊 We practiced 2x in a week, and Angkol Onyok told us what to wear and most of all, we must wear confidence.

Q: I mean them, they are not just words. Your oozing confidence clearly manifests on your performances on stage. You mentioned that you are willing to wait for the perfect timing, do you see this opportunity with Kuerdas as the big break you have been waiting for?
A: I think this is it 😁 showing what we have to the crowd is a totally big break for us. And everytime we sing, it’s another juncture to pass on 😊- for both (group and as an individual).

Q: What was your reaction to the Kuerdas crowd?
A: At first, I think the crowd are not satisfied with our performance po, pero we eventually developed more confidence and sustained strength with the audience. And also sa mga payo ng Kuerdas members— malalaman mo talaga yan pag na-hook mo na talaga yong crowd, every time na you encourage them to jam over and sing along they, will not refuse 😜

Q: As you know, reggae crowd are very expressive to the beat, they dance, they jump, they sing along… were you surprised?
A: Yes super po! 😊😁 as in it was! I am so amazed by their moves— the way they feel the song, the way they’ve closed their eyes and putting hands up in the air; they are just like worshipping, they want peace of mind and they make every song as their lounge 😊 (especially crowd sa mga Reggae Roots Festival po) maka- shock lang 🙀 I just love them all the way ❤️

Q: Incredibly amazing, isn’t it? At which event with Kuerdas have you highly appreciated the crowd and you’re all pumped up on stage? Tell me what it was like singing for this crowd.
A: Particulary, nong sa Mindanao Roots Reggae po. Kuerdas is one of the frontactors held at Gastrobar. Kasi it was my first time seeing a crowd like that 🙀 pero nasundan pa ng ibang event like Hammock Festival which was organized by mountaineers po— it was simple but rock and roll to the world! 😂 And marami po akong natutunan kasi I don’t really have a nice impression of them but again I was wrong🙈 (Peace to those mountaineers out there). They are the crowd you can’t forget kasi po, they became chain free pag nakasayaw na 😊 not knowing that they are professionals, and they have their own respective professions— some are teachers, leaders, and nurses; sabi sa akin ni Angkol Onyok, thank you Kol. Kaya, shout out sa mga mountaineers po! Saludo 😊

Q: Do you think they will get offended by your impression whatever that is?
A: Siguro po pero impression lng po yon, sorry po sa inyo 😘😞 BUT BUT BUT! I appreciate them soooooo much and I have so much respect for them. Suuuper po 😊 mas na- understand ko sila deeper why they joined such good events. Iba talaga pag nakakasama mo sila po, playing songs will be even livelier! 💖

Q: Apparently, you used to do variety but have since switched to reggae.
A: Opo since I turned to be a reggae singer obviuosly I focus now on one genre. Pero I am still practicing some songs such as ballad pag may time lang po 😊

Q: Do you think you have been accepted by the Kuerdas crowd?
A: Yes po, kasi whenever we blazed up our performance level, we make sure that the crowd will jive and enjoy. 😊

Q: Awesome stuff. I can see that you are passionate about your craft. For how long do you intend pursuing this passion?
A: Well, I can’t assure for how long. But I can assure that for as long as I have this love for my passion, I will pursue this watercraft, “Iisang Bangka.”☺

Q: Most of the Kuerdas members are committed and are headed to one direction— are you on the same page?
A: Yes po, I’m the same way too. A loving band like this will really put you to one direction.

Q: Is it just temporary for you or longterm?
A: For me its longterm po, if others can, why not me? No more, no less. Swak! 💕

Q: Nicely said! How did you adjust to an all-men group?
A: Siguro po, we adjust just like a new relationship sa kanang mag- uyab sa tanan sa ilaha 😂 charaught! Pero bitaw, they treated us as their younger sisters. At first awkward, bisan mag- ngisi ka sa ilaha at first maulaw ka hehe, bisag magkuha ug meryenda pag mag-break time maulaw ka kay basi lantawon uroy ka unya ingnan ug “Hala, lalaki man pod daay ni mukaon” hahaha. 😂 Pero that was only just my imagination pala. Dili sila lisud i- adjust, at first ra. Their personalities kay sobrang easy pakisamahan.

Q: Cool! Naa silay automatic nga mga manghod, dili lang isa, duha jud!!! What else do you think you need to improve on?
A: Hmm siguro po yung aking stage performance 😊 I hope more power pa sa akin by God’s grace. Tsaka hosting skills po— dami ko kasing errors pagdating sa hosting 😬 naalala ko po yung nag gig kami sa Veranza, merong Americano, sumulat ng requested songs, tapos bago ko binasa, I asked him what country he’s from. Tapos parang nag taas lang ng kamay yung Amerikano, then sabi ko “from the U.S?” and he just waved his hands, so I presumed po that my speculations were wrong. And then here I come, binasa ko na ang requested songs tapos nabasa ko ang Hotel California. Biglang nag- sink in sa mind ko baka dito siya galing 😂😂 sabi ko, “Oooooh! From Hotel California! Welcome to General Santos City, Sir”!!!! Hahahahahahaha 😂😂😂 Na- microphone pa talaga ako nun, tapos sabi ni Angkol Onyok “Hoy Kakang! Kanta na (sabay buhakhak) 😂😂😂 Gosh! I just twisted the scene- ayun! Lahat sila tumawa, and some of the crowd. Pero sinabi ko don after, “Oh diba galing kong mag- joke” 😂😂😂 Peace po mahaba 😊
And also po I must improve how to handle thecrowd and to balance my time between school ang gigs. I must be responsible! In Jesus name, help me God 🙏🏻

Q: Thats hilarious!!!! Lingaw kaayo ka! Is there anything you want to say to your family, Kuerdas supporters, and to your Kuerdas Family?
A: To my family:
Music is life but family is lifer haha❤️ having such families of mine are ones who makes me happy and intact every now and then. Salamat po sa full support mga bingsu! 😊 especially sa akong mamay, and kuya; thank you kaayo lovelove💞 also to my dearest friends: Team Sawi, Aroxabo, my love one Babi🌸, the Anthem family and Gang Bang 😊

Kuerdas Supporters:
Playing music won’t be perfect without you guys. You’re a big help to our group, not only to us but to every reggae band here in Gensan. Thank you for just simply following, liking, subscribing on our page on Facebook, Youtube and, Instagram- Kuerdas Gensan. Thank you din po for catching us at our gigs! 💗 Laview all 😘 Keep going with us 😎 Be safe, and Godbless po.

Kuerdas Family:
Mga pare, laban lang tayo 😂😊 More songs to play, more bonds, more atik, more sunluganay aaaand! let us enjoy every beat of the music.🎤🎻🎼🎸 Cipra more songs and be lively always as what I have known you all and realized enough that we are doing great. This is for us and for the Glory of the Lord.