As one of the most sought-after reggae bands in Cebu’s music scene, Skankin’ Brews has performed at musical events like Reggae Meets Reggae and the Cebu Reggae Festival. The band’s vision is that its name will stand for a unique blend of island reggae music.
Skankin’ Brews launches its album Give a Little Aloha on July 20, 2012. The album launch, which is a free-of-charge event, is at two locations: (1) Ayala Activity Center, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and (2) Outpost Resto-bar, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The launch also features other prominent reggae bands based in Cebu, namely Bambu Spliff, Coolie Dread, Sefyla, S.T.I.F, and Santing Scalawags. Hosts for the launch are fashion blogger Eden Villarba, prominent Cebu events host Paulo Varela and top Cebuano Rasta man and artist G. K. Gonzales.
If you’re not very familiar with reggae culture and you’ve wondered what skankin’ means, it is the act of rhythmically dancing by swinging the arms while bending the knees. This dance is performed especially to the tune of reggae or ska music. The music of Skankin’ Brews is intended to make people want to just get up and dance to it. The second part of the band’s name of course refers to the practice of preparing beverages so that they attain a full-bodied flavor.
The band was originally composed of members who were mostly studying nursing at the time. They started making music together when they made an attempt to win a nursing interschool music competition. Their band won first place as well as an award for Best Original Composition and has been performing as a group since that fateful competition when everything fell into place for them.
Since the band started, its lineup has changed from the five original members that it had. The current members of the band are Paul on lead male vocals and ukulele, Franz on lead female vocals, Ian on keyboards, Kian on bass, Ching on drums, and JP on djembe. Paul, Kian and Ian were all with the band from the start. Former members are Aurora, who used to be the lead female vocalist, and Magto, who used to play the drums for the band.
The band’s music leans toward relaxing, soulful songs that speak of Cebu as a beautiful island paradise. Aside from the album’s title track “Give a Little Aloha,” some of their songs are “Feeling Easy,” “Dance,” “Bombshell,” “Fallin’ Apart,” “Baby It’s You,” and “Mi Chica Bonita.” The last song mentioned is one of the band’s more unusual songs as it’s performed with a Chabacano twang though most of its lyrics are in English. You don’t have to know Chabacano (a Philippine dialect that linguists consider to be a creole or pidgin form of Spanish) to understand the Chabacano parts of the song. The band believes that the melody says it all and that music is a universal language.
Their soon-to-be-launched album, whose exact track list was not yet released, is a culmination of the band’s dream to share their passion for music with other island reggae enthusiasts. The band actually intended “Feeling Easy” to be the featured single of their first album, which was to have the title Tropical Fever, but their plans evidently changed. The band was at 1318 Recording Studio with Brian Sacro to finalize the tracks. In 2011, the tracks “Give a Little Aloha” and “Dance” by Skankin’ Brews were made accessible to listeners online, through Brian Sacro’s soundcloud.com account. You could also find some videos of the band’s live performances on YouTube.
To add more flavor and style to their music, Skankin’ Brews collaborated with local and international artists including Rex Ouano a.k.a. Lion Heart, Coolie Dread (of Coolie Dread and the Microphone Commanders), Sir Magno of the ska band Island Joe, and Jets Fifita, who’s from Polynesia but is based in Australia. The band’s music got airplay from Monster Radio BT 105.9, DYAB and other local radio stations. Skankin’ Brews also covered songs like “Tiny Bubbles” at gigs where they made appearances. The band has played gigs in Bantayan and Boracay, which are both known for being lovely examples of the beach lifestyle. Fans who want to be able to wear their enthusiasm for Skankin’ Brews may soon be able to have the band’s shirt from Cebu’s premier outdoor brand, Habagat.
Skankin’ Brews hopes that more people will support the local music scene and be part of their island reggae movement. For bookings of the band, you may get in contact with Paul at mobile phone number (0923)209-6408. You can also follow the band on Twitter @SkankinBrews or view the band’s Web site http://skankinbrews.weebly.com/ or their Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/givealittlealoha
A) Ayala Center Cebu
B) The Outpost