Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Opening the ears to Macau’s home-grown talent

Posted by Kimberly on September 27, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
September 27, 2007, page 4 (677 words)

Macau’s full band rock festival HUSH kicks off for the third year, on the last day of September at the Macau Cultural Centre’s Art Plaza.
The Macau Daily Times was given the opportunity to speak with two of the participating bands; Cactus, formed by several veteran musicians and Once Teens Ones, a new band on the block.
Cactus’ five members may have performed by invitation at last year’s festival but the audience can expect something a little different this year. Despite their reputation as a covers band, the team have decided to change their format for the first time and sing their own songs.
“It will be our first time to do that,” said 28-year-old Marvin Costales, Cactus’ lead singer and 2nd keyboardist.
“In the past we’ve received a lot of criticisms saying that we’re just like a covers band or a function band but we want to do it differently this time,” he added.
Once Teens Ones, on the other hand, are a little unique in their own right. Fabio Calangi, the band’s 17 year-old drummer has not only his sister in the band, but his mother as well, who acts as songwriter.
Of the unusual arrangement Fabio believes having family members in the band creates a different feeling.
“I don’t know how to explain it. It gives you a more happier feeling to do something with your family.
“You know you’re not alone in what you’re doing.
“Michael Jackson did it with his family,” he said.
Then there’s the fact that the band currently consists of nine members. Asked how such a huge number could possibly create a sense of unity and cohesion, Fabio said, “if you practice every week, and music isn’t something you really really want to do with your life, it become like a job.
“If you practice like two weeks or one week before, then you’re bringing up the musical inspiration in you. Something more comes out,” he added.
Cactus’ more established reputation meant they were invited to be a part of the music festival, while Once Teens Ones, who call themselves “eclectic,” had to provide a demo and were thus one of five chosen out of a list of ten.
Asked about that demo tape, Fabio admitted that it consisted of the only song the band had managed to record at this point, which will also be performed at the festival.
“That song is called ‘From Our Greed’,” said Fabio.
“My mum composed it. It’s about African people.
“They travel so far to get water, about not fining it, about their suffering. And we over here on the other side of the world are so happy.
“We enjoy things in life that they would never enjoy. We take for granted many things,” he added.
The other two songs the band will play are ‘Over’, a “funk rock kind of feel” and ‘Sequins’, “more rock, a little bit heavier.”
Asked what songs Cactus are expected to perform, Marvin said, “’If you want it’ it’s like an inspiration song in a funk-rock style. It’s about knowing if you dream, it  happens. You can achieve whatever you want.”
Of the second song, ‘I swear’, he said, “it’s about love, about thinking [of someone]
‘My Pen’ is a song with two meanings, but “it’s a simple song, in a rock style,” said Marvin.
And both bands are in it for the long run, with 19-year-old Nelson Leong, Once Teens Ones’ guitarist, admitting his love of performing, “the feeling of being on stage.
“In five years if I can still perform then yes [I’ll still be a part of the band]” he added.
John Ho, Cactus’ 48-year-old guitarist said that being in the band, “makes me feel very happy. I feel young.”
So despite their differences in age and experience, both bands are participating in HUSH for the same reasons, with Marvin summing it up concisely.
“I hope HUSH promotes the fact that Macau has hidden talents. You actually don’t need to get musicians from other countries. We are here. Why go somewhere else?”

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