Who Is Joey Ayala

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By Pocholo Concepcion
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 18:28:00 01/17/2011

Filed Under: Music, Entertainment (general)
MANILA, Philippines – Everything is interconnected, Joey Ayala sang in “Magkaugnay.” But while his song refers to the link between humanity and the environment, it might as well apply to what happened last Thursday night in two different clubs.

At the new Merk’s Place on Pasay Road, Makati, a young guy named Chris Carandang was onstage singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on acoustic guitar.

This was followed by an original, “Butas,” a reggae tune with Tagalog lyrics. And then he proceeded with a slow version of the Elvis Presley hit “Don’t Be Cruel.”

We were impressed. Carandang, though plain-looking (nerdy even, with his schoolboy hair and glasses), is no ordinary musician wannabe because he chooses his repertoire well.

“He’s a music therapist,” whispered Roni Tapia-Merk, who was celebrating her birthday that night.

Later, in a short talk with the Inquirer, Carandang said he’s actually 30 years old and a psychologist who works in the clinic of his mom, Dr. Honey Carandang. While studying for his doctorate, he counsels kids who are having problems in school.

He uses music as therapy for the kids. And he himself plays music as a form of release. Isn’t that cool?

Another guy, lawyer Ferdie Topacio, sings his heart out at Merk’s Place after a stressful day in his office. You’ve seen him in the papers because he handles high-profile cases.

That night, Topacio sang “It Had To Be You” in a duet with Richard Merk. Both love to scat and they did it all for fun. It was hilarious.


Over at My Brother’s Mustache on Sct. Tuazon cor. Sct. Madriñan, Quezon City, a special gig featured Bluesviminda, which plays only once a year, with singer Cooky Chua, keyboardist Butch Saulog, guitarist Mike Villegas, bassist Bob Villegas, harmonica player Ronnie Badilla and percussionist Budeths Casinto.

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