A musical Ďmarriageí in four-part harmony

By Nestor U. Torre (source: Phil Inquirer, Saturday Special Section, 16 Oct 1999 /www.inquirer.net)

SO many singing groups and bands have been breaking up of late that our admiration for groups that do stay together has increased by leaps and bounds. What do they know and do that the "self-destructing" groups donít?

We talk to the members of the popular music-comedy quartet, the AngFourgettables, which has been performing for more than six years. Why are they still together?

Bumps and jolts

Original members Pinky Marquez and Dyords Javier point out that "AngFour" has had its share of bumps and jolts through the years, but the important thing is that the group has resisted the temptation to call it quits due to these problems. Thatís why itís still around, and very much in demand for concerts, local and foreign tours, private and company parties, conventions, product launches, etc.

The first dropout was Nanette Inventor, who opted to leave the group after only one year, due to conflicts with her schedule as a solo performer. Isay Alvarez was tapped to take her place, and Isay has blended in well with the other members of the group.

Then, some months ago, it was Mon Davidís turn to opt for greener pastures, and heís been replaced by Bimbo Cerrudo, whoís also doing well in the quartet. Thus, AngFour now has a younger, breezier projection with Pinky, Dyords, Isay and Bimbo.

Relative longevity

What accounts for the groupís relative longevity, despite the defections itís experienced? "Basically," says Dyords, "itís commitment and friendship." "And," Pinky adds, "weíve learned to adjust easily to each other. Also, speaking for myself, I refuse to consider putting a stop to the group just because some problems crop up. Why? Because I really love singing, whether as a soloist or with a group! So, Iím ready to put up with almost anything just so I can continue to have as many opportunities as possible to sing."

Isay reflects philosophically, "Iíve learned that nothing lasts forever talaga, but the group can go on." "Thatís right," says Pinky, "if someone leaves, donít stop. Donít take it personally. The group remains."

Candidly, Pinky and Isay admit they had "clashes" when they first worked together. "But we learned to talk our problems through, to bring them out in the open, so we were able to settle them with no harm done," Isay recalls.

Selfish reasons

Pinky goes on to observe: "When a singing group breaks up, itís usually for selfish reasons." Meaning, the members canít work as a group and focus on their diverse personal agendas.

This is particularly true if the group is made up of name singers who are soloists in their own right, as is the case with AngFour. The pressures and potential conflicts are there, but the "surviving" members of the group have managed to resolve actual and potential problems by continually reminding themselves that the group is whatís important, not its individual members.

That takes a lot of humility, a quality that local show biz denizens are not exactly famous for. In this business, some talents boost their egos by stealing the spotlight every chance they get, and some name performers are notorious for brazenly trying to steal all of the numbers and scenes theyíre involved in. Thus a number of stars have reached the top of the show biz "molehill-mountain" by stepping on the carcasses of competing talents.

Well, those are the people who couldnít possibly be happy in a singing group, where the key to success and "survival" is musical and personal harmony. As Isay insightfully observes, "Being in a group, para kang may asawa." In the case of AngFour, itís a double marriage!

No difficulty

Like Pinky, Dyords has no problem fitting into a group. "Ever since," he grins, "Iíve had no difficulty working with others, even with the most obnoxious artists!" Pity, he refuses to name names.

Dyordsí lack of soloist airs is surprising because, truth to tell, heís the member of the group with the most extensive stellar experience. Perhaps many of todayís show biz followers may not know it, but in the Ď70s, Dyords was a biggish name in local comedy, and even topbilled a number of popular movies.

But Dyords chooses not to dwell on that, and is clearly enjoying his new career as a member of a musical group, despite the fact that his singingóand dancingóskills are not as well-honed as his co-membersí.óNo sweat, because Dyordsí main contribution to the show is comedy, one of the main reasons why the group is so popular.

OK, so soloists can do well in a group, as long as they keep their egos on a tight leash. But why would already successful solo singers even want to be part of a singing group?

New strengths

Pinky: "Itís the harmony. Singing with others can be more challenging than just singing solo. You have to learn voicing, blending, adjusting to others, things that solo singers donít bother with, so you discover new strengths in yourself as a musical performer."

Bimbo: "Itís something new, so itís excitingóitís like breathing fresh air, musically speaking." Isay: "You stretch yourself as a performer, and as a person."

Dyords: "Weíre able to get our creative juices together in a fun-filled mix. Together, we can scale greater musical heights!"