SAMPAGUITA IS A CONTINUING SAGA..ALWAYS UNFOLDING. BORN IN JAVA, INDONESIA ON THE 17TH DAY OF 7TH MONTH, THE SEVENTH CHILD IN A BROAD OF SEVEN, SHE COMES TO THESE SHORE WHEN SHE WAS SIX. SHE GREW UP IN THE TUMULTUOUS 60'S AND 70'S. A TIME WHEN THE WORLD SAW THE DAWNING OF A GENERATION WHERE EXPERIMENTATION, ESPECIALLY IN LIFESTYLE AND MUSIC, WAS THE IDEAL.
LIKE ANYONE FROM HER GENERATION, MUSIC TOUCHED THE VARIOUS KEYS IN THE TUNES OF HER LIFE. HOWEVER, SHE PROVED SPECIAL. HER EXOTIC GOOD LOOKS AND INDIVIDUALISM UNWITTINGLY LED HER INTO CIRCLES THAT ENHANCED HER NATURAL ARTISTICS TENDENCIES. SHE WAS A REGULAR TALENT IN THE POPULAR DANCE SHOW "DANCE TIME WITH CHITO" AND ONE OF THE LEAD DANCERS IN ANOTHER SHOW CALLED THE "NINETEENERS". AS A MODEL SHE HAD DONNED OUTFITS FOR THE THEN FIRST LADY IMELDA MARCOS ' BAGONG ANYO PROJECT AND VARIOUS OTHER LOCAL DESIGNERS. AS AN ACTRESS, SHE HAD APPEARED ONSTAGE AS ONE OF THE LEADS FOR THE FIRST PINOY ROCK OPERA TITLED "MAHAL".
THE MAGNETIC PERSONALITY AND INIMITABLE TALENT OF THE PRODIGIOUS YOUTH, AMAZED MAVERICK PRODUCER NILO L. SANTOS OF NILSON PRODUCTIONS WHO THOUGHT IT INTERESTING TO HAVE HER RECORD AN ALBUM. IT TOOK CONSIDERABLE TIME AND TENACITY TO CONVINCE THE RELUCTANT YOUNG WOMAN, BUT AS FATE WOULD HAVE IT ,SAMPAGUITA, THE "ROCKER " WAS DESTINED TO BLOOM.
BY THIS TIME THE PIONEERING EFFORTS OF ROCK STATION DZRJFM TO REV UP THE LOCAL ROCK SCENE WAS CLIMBING TO AN IMMINENT REALIZATION. SAMPAGUITA OF COURSE, LED THE FRAY, EARNING THE CRITICS' NOD IN HER FIRST EVER PERFORMANCE -- ON OPENING SLOT IN A CONCERT TITLED, " NEW MOON ROCK CONCERT". THIS LED TO THE EVENTUAL PAIRING WITH TALENTED GUITARIST-SONGWRITER GARY PEREZ OF THE ROCK BAND ANAK BAYAN. THEIR FIRST HIT, THE CELEBRATORY "BONGAHAN", BECAME HER SIGNATURE PIECE. SOON THE PARTNERSHIP BORE MORE HITS LIKE, " TAO" , "LAGUNA", SAYAWAN", "SA DIYOS LAMANG",... ALL OF WHICH BECAME ANTHEMS FOR THEIR GENERATION.
HER COLORFUL ATTIRE, WHICH BLENDED PSYCHEDELIC AESTHETICS WITH "ROCK AND ROLL" THEATRICS, BROUGHT GLAMOUR TO THE PINOY ROCKERS SCENE. IN FACT, IT REMAINS ONE OF THE MORE VIVID IMAGES OF 70'S PINOY POP CULTURE. AS HERE FAME GREW, THE DEMAND TO SEE HER PERFORM WAS AMPLIFIED. SHE WAS THE CHOICE OPENER FOR INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS WHO CAME TO VISIT THE COUNTRY. THESE INCLUDE, TO NAME A FEW, CHUCK BERRY,BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS,PAUL WILLIAMS, ERIC CLAPTON AND CANNED HEAT. HER ARDUOUS THREE- YEAR STINT AT THE LEGENDARY 100% ROCK CLUB IN SUBIC NAVAL BASE, OLONGAPO PERFORMING FOR AMERICAN SERVICE MEN, FURTHER FORTIFIED HER ROCK QUEEN PERSONA THAT, AFTER THREE DECADES STILL REMAINS.
AFTER A SELF-IMPOSED HIBERNATION, SAMPAGUITA CAME OUT STRONGLY AGAIN IN 1989 WITH AN EXPECTED HIT "NOSI BA LASI". ONCE SHE WAS ASKED WHY THERE WAS SUCH A LONG GAP BETWEEN HER ALBUMS, AND SAM'S REPLY WAS SIMPLE; "TO DO AN ALBUM JUST TO REMAIN IN THE SCENE IS NOT MY STYLE. IT IS AN ART FORM AND INSPIRATIONS DON'T COME EASY. FOR ME A SONG WITHOUT A MESSAGE IS JUST "SOUND", JUST LIKE A FLOWER WITH NO SCENT." CURRENTLY SHE IS QUITE CONTENT BEING A MOTHER TO HER THREE BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN..DOLLY, COWBOY AND JACINTA. SHE IS ALSO INTO POTTERY , PAINTING AND A LOT OF OTHER HOBBIES AND CRAFTS. AT THE MOMENT , HER MUSICAL LEGACY IS NOW CARRIED ON THROUGH HER SON COWBOY, A GUITARIST OF INTEREST WHO IS WOWING AUDIENCES ON THE CURRENTLY PINOY ROCK SCENE.
SAMPAGUITA'S CONTRIBUTION TO FILIPINO MUSIC INDUSTRY'S LAVISH TAPESTRY AND PINOY ROCK IN PARTICULAR IS ONE TO BE CHERISHED. SHE IS AN ICON AND A VERITABLE PILLAR THAT THE CURRENT BREED OF MUSICIANS CONTINUES TO LOOK UP TO. AND RIGHTLY SO, FOR PINOY WILL NOT BE WHAT WE KNOW AND ENJOY IT TO BE, HAD SAMPAGUITA NOT TAKEN HER BIRTHRIGHT AS THE ONE AND ONLY "QUEEN OF PINOY ROCK AND ROLL" (this info from her Sampaguita Greatest hits cd ).
ALBUM REVIEW (Manila Times) March 2008
Bagong Banda . . . Awit ni Sampaguita
COMPILATION albums abound: from tributes to the APO Hiking Society and the Eraserheads to the just-released guitar album of various artists. With the local rock scene in full bloom, these collaborative efforts give reason for today’s rockers to learn, pay tribute and interact with their mentors. And besides, it’s a chance for up-and-coming bands to work with their more famous peers and perhaps create a hit song with a remake of a well-loved classic.
Bagong Banda . . . Awit ni Sampaguita features Session Road, Paramita, Sugar Hiccup, Zelle, Fuseboxx, The Amanda, Cherry Cornflakes, Childstar, Chubibo, Paraluman and Rockaby singing classics such as “Tao,” “Laguna,” “Bonggahan,” “Nosi Balasi” and many others.
Bagong Banda . . . Awit ni Sampaguita, released by Ballyhoo records, was created with the full consent and approval of Sampaguita herself. It’s quite the opposite of the recent cover album by Bamboo, We Stand Alone Together, which created much controversy with its unauthorized and uncredited remake of “Probinsyana,” an original composition of the late Edmund Fortuno, legendary drummer of Anak Bayan. With Sampaguita, the young artists not only pay their dues; they win her approval.
But because Sampaguita had the final say on what versions would make the cut (and perhaps because she was too precious with her work), the entire album carefully adheres to the original 1970s classic Pinoy rock sound Sampaguita was known for. As they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But you won’t find the tantalizing experimentations such as those in the Kami nAPO Muna album where artists reinterpreted the original pop sound into thrash metal, jazz, rock or reggae. What the Sampaguita tribute album captures is the essence of 1970s jeprox rock. Sige lang, babe.
Listening to Session Road rock “Nosi Balasi,” you know they’ve been covering the song long before the idea for this album came about. Paramita, better known for sophisticated angst, shines with a balls-out cover of “Bonggahan.” Fuseboxx transforms “Easy Pare” into progressive rock. Sugar Hiccup shines with soaring vocals and violins in their rendition of the sublime “Tao.”
Buy Bagong Banda . . . Awit ni Sampaguita. Let it be your introduction into 1970s classic Pinoy rock. Then buy the originals of Sampaguita, Juan dela Cruz, and Asin. --Rome Jorge