The Soul Barkada is Elson's
backup band for live performances. "Barkada" is a word from the Philippine
language of Tagalog meaning "a group of friends." The Soul Barkada's
collective sound is influenced by artists from Stevie Wonder to the Isley
Brothers, The Brand New Heavies to Jamiroquai and John Legend to The
Neptunes, in addition to various jazz, latin, rock, pop and blues
influences. The band is made entirely of Elson's most musically talented
friends and acquaintances who are a part of his personal network which was
built up over the course of several years (no ads or auditions were made
for this band) and deserve to be recognized in their own right.
Hailing from a musically talented family, Mike met Elson back in 1998
during a gig for his uncle's (the late Dan "Bagasoul" Bagasao) jazz
ensemble. Years went by until early 2004 when Mike surfed onto this
website and sent Elson a "What's up?" email. Elson soon replied and asked,
"So, you playing with anyone these days?" Little did he know exactly how
great of a player Mike was until the first rehearsal. A father of two, Mike
is also a proud papa.
Elson met Keith right after the band's performance at FPAC 2004, where Keith mentioned that
he was a percussionist. Elson figured that information would be handy
someday. Born in Hawaii, Keith has had extensive experience playing in
Polynesian and Latin bands/ensembles.
Diaz Bass Guitar / Synth Bass
Dennis, a bassist who also plays keyboards, met Elson, a keyboardist
who also plays bass, via mutual friends, in 2004. At the time, Dennis
played bass for the rock band
X-Syndrome. A few jam sessions and several months later,
after his band's singer's military deployment rendered them inactive, and
after two bassists left the Soul Barkada, the opportunity came up for the
IT consultant-by-day, bassist-by-night to join.
A fellow bandmate of Dennis from their rock band
was drafted to provide the beats during Mark Henry's absence. A frequent
contestant - and winner - of those Guitar Center beat-off, er, I mean,
"Drum-Off" competitions, this versatile drummer takes to the Soul Barkada
as his funk/R&B outlet. In addition to the drumkit, Miguel also works with
seismic measurement instruments, digs the late Lou Rawls, and if you put
an afro wig on him, he looks like Questlove from The Roots.
August Schmid Guitar
Joining the Soul Barkada in the Summer of 2009, August filled the long-vacant guitarist spot in the band. A Hollywood, CA native, he digs his amps and anything that has to do with his Swiss heritage. He also plays guitar and bass for the group Jazz Mezzin Around.
Ulanday Background Vocals
Lisa used to run into Elson back in the mid-1990s when they were
members of separate choirs in the same church. Eventually they became part
of the same circle of friends and karaoke became a favorite pastime for
them. Though she never sang with a band before, Elson asked her, "Wanna
sing backup for my band?" and Lisa responded, "I'm down!" She is also a
member of the improvisational comedy troupe, Room to Improv.
Ulanday Background Vocals
Another one of Elson's karaoke-crazy friends, Louie recently moved up
the "corporate ladder" of the Soul Barkada, starting out as the Camcorder
Guy, then becoming Live Sound Engineer and now pairing up with Lisa in the
background vocal section. Later, Louie hopes to become Bass Player, and
eventually replace Elson as the lead vocalist (just kidding). Louie and Lisa not only harmonize wonderfully onstage, but
offstage as well -- he and Lisa wed in September 2006. Awwwww.
Annette Ortiz Media, Support and Drum Roadie
Brian Reyes Media, Support and Catering