“Meaningless ‘yong life ko no’n,” shares Phoebe Ledesma, Bopek’s songwriter and vocalist, about her not-so distant past before finding refuge in songwriting. At the time, it still didn’t feel enough to pursue music just by herself—she knew she needed a band.
That’s when she hit up Vincent La Madrid, a college friend from DLSU-D, to invite him to form a band with her. Vincent admitted that he had doubts at first. “Bakit naman kaya ako yayayain mag-banda nito (Phoebe)?” he recalls, laughing.
Already being the guitarist of Bantayog, he initially thought he didn’t need another band. But after hearing Phoebe’s composition samples,“Sige, buo tayo[ng banda]” was his answer. He felt that the soul of the songs she wrote as being something different—something worth the risk despite starting from scratch. And so, they did.
Then came the birth of Bopek—actually a short term for “Boses pekpek”, a crude Filipino colloquial term for someone with an extremely high-pitched voice. “‘Yong mga senior ko [sa Teatro Lasalliana] tinatawag akong bopek parang as a sign of lambing … Natuwa naman ako kasi kahit friends ko na ka-batch ko tinatawag na rin akong bopek kaya naisip ko lang siyang gawing name ng band,” Pheobe shares.
Aside from their unique band name, what sets them apart from others is their experimental style. “Nagsisimula sa free-flowing music, parang nagsasalita lang si Phoebe pero maganda [ang kinalalabasan],” Vincent tells. “Sobrang daming nangyayari sa kanta pero sobrang steady ng boses.” With Phoebe’s soft lullaby voice, their songs are also spontaneous in lyrics.“Sakay-kapit” bassist Patrick Simon describes it.
Performing together for almost four years, Bopek reminisces their first live performance held at the 2016 CLAC General Assembly’s Battle of the Bands. At that time, they performed two of their four original compositions titled “Ayaw Na”, “Paraiso”, “Dalawa” and “HNNP”.
Despite enjoying time together like any other circle of friends, drummer John Wilton Lopez admits that keeping up with each other is a challenge they have to battle with. Although Vincent reassures, “Importante talaga sa banda ang bonding kasi kapag gumagawa ng kanta, madali lang. Pero kapag nagpe-perform ka, ‘yong bonding kasi do’n mo mas naaalala ‘yong tao so alam mong sa ganitong sitwasyon, alam mo nang ganito gaagwin nito—di ka na magugulat.”
As Bopek continues to share their music in hopes to be a part of the Cavite music industry, they are now planning to come up with a music video for their songs and continue to create fresh compositions. Though with this wishful idea, dreaming is the easiest part. When asked what their mantra is, Phoebe tries to collect her words as the rest of the band laughs. “Little water makes little rocks strong” according to Phoebe, “Mabagal man ‘yong progress namin pero pak-pak-pak ang result.”
Listen to them on Soundcloud: Bopek
This article was originally published in La Salleño Volume 25.