Paraluman

Voicing out young love

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By Rose-An M. Dioquino and Heinz Jassen D. Brobo; Photos by Paul Allyson R. Quiambao

WHEN band members Arjay Romero (lead guitar), Jimbo Cuenco (drums), VR Romero (bass guitar) and Jay Macalincag (rhythm guitar) examined their compositions, they realized their songs “focused on the feminine side of things.”

They started looking for a female vocalist who could bring raw emotions out of their songs. During the search, held at Arjay’s house in 2005, they were enthralled by College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) student Madeline Rayombong, whose voice mirrored both mystery and versatility. After singing “Soon” by Moonpools and Caterpillars, the boys knew they had a keeper.

“She has a distinct voice—one that, once you hear, you’ll know it’s her,” Jay told the Varsitarian.

For the lone female in the group, it was a new experience. Madeline has never been in a band before and claims that Paraluman is “my first and last band.”

“I didn’t really know what to feel because my family didn’t know that I was already in the band,” she said.

Rather than to stop her from joining the guys, she took this as a challenge to improve her craft.

With Madeline on board, Paraluman was born.

Formative years

The quintet decided to call their band Paraluman after the 1940s’ late actress, whose beauty was referred to in one of Paraluman’s favorite Eraserheads song “Ang Huling El Bimbo.” But more than living up “to the great actress’ prestige,” the band members said their focus is on producing music that would tug at the heartstrings.

“We just want to play music that would touch the lives of the listeners,” Arjay said.

Weaved through their “daring and edgy” music are lyrics that talk about the rollercoaster of emotions associated to young love—joy, frustration, regret and pain.

Although the band was new to the industry, some of its members used to be in other bands. Jay belonged to a metal band before joining Paraluman, and is still playing for a band called “The Birds.” Arjay used to be in the all-male band Requiem during his days at the Our Lady of Perpetual Succor College (Marikina).

The band of five put their love for music alongside academics and admitted that it was not an easy thing to do. Three of them were studying at the University of Santo Tomas when the band was starting—Arjay was from the College of Commerce, Jay was taking up BS Math and Madeline was in the CFAD. Meanwhile, Vince was studying at AMA Computer University.

Arjay recalled that band practices ate up his free time, leaving less for studying. This also gave him late nights—a cause for his tardiness in class.

“I always seem to be running out of time,” Arjay recalled. “When I’m late, everything’s affected, including my performance.”

For Madeline, thriving for musical maturity meant school work left undone. After gigs, she would rush home to attend to unfinished plates—that is if she still had the energy. She also had taken exams that she was totally unprepared for, and shared Arjay’s trouble on being late for school.

“Unfortunately, some professors would not let me in their classes whenever I was late,” she added.

Through it all

Despite the problems, the band members supported each other. Finally, they were able to release their debut album, “Paraluman: In Lab” in 2008. The first single out of it, entitled “Emily,” became an instant hit.

The band members were one in saying that they were happy of the turnout of their efforts.

“It feels great to hear yourself on radio or from the CD,” Madeline said.

But for Jay, success was only second to the feeling of belonging, which he experienced with his bandmates, who have become his close friends.

“I just feel blessed to have an album and be part of it,” he said. “I’m also blessed to have wonderful bandmates.”

With the raves received by their first album, Paraluman also won Best New Artist for 2008 from RX 93.1 and the Best Breakthrough Band from the 2008 SOP Pasiklaband.

But behind the accolades and the chart-topping songs, the band of five said they would still remain faithful to their purpose of making their listeners “fall in love.”

“We will go on writing songs that comes from our hearts and make the listeners feel that they are not alone,” Madeline said. With reports from Raydon L. Reyes Tomasino