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.

Mike Bagasao Saxophone
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.

Keith Dasalla Percussion
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. 

Dennis 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.

Miguel Rodriguez Drums
A fellow bandmate of Dennis from their rock band X-Syndrome, Miguel 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

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.

Lisa 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.

Louie 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.

Support Crew:

Annette Ortiz
Media, Support and Drum Roadie
 Brian Reyes
Media, Support and Catering