DONG Abay gained fame as the vocalist of the band Yano which popularized the song “Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo”, “Esem” (a tribute to the SM Mall) and “Tsinelas”. He was also its songwriter and founding member and first gained fame when their song, “Kumusta Na”, about the EDSA revolution, hit it big and they became in demand in such rock circuit outlets as Bistro 70s, Mayrics and Club Dredd.
Born as Westdon Abay on April 5, 1971, he later went solo as an independent artist and released his own album, “Sampol”. At the height of his band’s popularity, Dong stopped schooling. He was then an arts and letters student in UP. After the band’s popularity waned, he went back to school and finally got a college degree in Philippine Studies and Creative Writing from UP after a total of 18 years. Aside from his devotion to music, he is into other activities.
He is an enviromentalist, a visual artist, and he is also online as a humorist, “with so many bashers,” he adds. “My core is music but I’m using all my senses as an artist and I’m friends with the art community in our country. I go around and meet so many other musicians in various provinces. Music is so alive in various communities, hindi lang nabibigyan ng break into national awareness.”
He’s happy to be performing with Jett Pangan of The Dawn, Wency Cornejo of After Image and Basti Artadi of Wolfgang in “90s Frontmen Accousticized” to be staged at Music Museum this coming Friday, January 3, and Saturday, February 1, at 8 p.m. Why didn’t they invite the frontmen of other bands like Bamboo, Rico Blanco of Rivermaya and Ely Buendia of E’Heads to participate in their show?
“But we did,” says Wency Cornejo. “Pero ayaw nila, ganoon ka-straightforward. As simple as that. Disappointing nga, considering na kasamahan naman sila sa industriya from way back. Pero okay lang. There are other avenues naman for us to explore.”
Jett Pangan adds: “Siguro, they don’t want to be dated or be framed in a certain time that will make them part of just a nostalgic act. But the 90s is a great era, a great time for music. And it’s great to look back at the artists who made it happen. But I’m just speaking for myself, of course. I just wanna have fun with my co-artists here and we promise the audience that we will give them a great night of song and music.”
‘90s Frontmen Acousticized’ is produced by Advantage International Marketing, tickets at P3,500 [orchestra center], P2,000 [orchestra side], and P1,000 [balcony] at Music Museum or Ticketworld at 8891-9999; or A.I.M. office at 726-5466, 873-66740, 0927-2682656 and 0917-7771213.