Hsinchu County, Dec. 15 (CNA) A new five-piece rock band from Taoyuan Sunday won a year-end battle of the bands competition in Hsinchu County that aimed to provide exposure for up-and-coming Filipino migrant worker music groups.
Dennis Relampagos Saldana, lead vocalist of "The Long Keys," who also won best vocalist at the competition said the band was only formed about two weeks ago when he got a phone call from other musicians asking him to join the group.
The band, composed of a drummer, lead, bass, and rhythm guitar, covered three Filipino songs to defeat three other bands and win the grand prize trophy, said the 34-year-old Saldana, who hails from Davao City in the Philippines.
Edward Galleon, a 32-year-old factory worker from Taoyuan, said due to the relatively recent formation of the band, they only got to practice three times before the competition, which was held at Fengshan Community Activity Center in Hukou township.
"In my company there are many bands, and I want to encourage them to participate in events like this to show their talent," said Galleon, who is originally from the Philippine province of Bulacan.
The Algorhythm Band, a professional band from Batangas City in the Philippines that was invited to Taiwan to be part of the judges panel commended "The Long Keys" for their song choice and ability to harmonize their performance without letting the instruments clash.
In addition to the trophy, "The Long Keys" were awarded a cash prize of NT$7,500 (US$248), according to Allan Viray, the event co-organizer.
He said one of the main reasons that he decided to hold the event is to give Filipino bands a stage and to help them find exposure.
"There are many talented Filipino musicians in Taiwan who need the support of the community to help their music be heard," Viray told CNA.
Viray, who works in Hsinchu and is from Pampanga Province, has been involved in numerous events in recent years showcasing the talent and creativity of Filipino migrant workers, ranging from beauty contests to hip-hop concerts.
The competition's other co-organizer, Memilyn Chen, originally from the province of South Cotabato, and her Taiwanese husband Chen Chiu-hung (陳邱鴻) said they wanted to organize the event with Viray to give back to the Filipino members of their community in Hsinchu, which make up a large proportion of the clientele at their BBQ restaurant.
"It is getting close to Christmas and the end of the year, so we wanted to organize this event to thank everyone," Memilyn Chen said.
With over 1,000 Filipinos living and working within walking distance of the restaurant, Chen's husband said he is really happy to be able to help co-organize the competition, which he feels allows him to better understand the local migrant community.
"Many Filipinos that I have interacted with are very talented, so we should give them a stage where they can shine," Chen Chiu-hung said.