Novel and inspired, Noel Cabangon’s new album Byahe is packaged in a way that we don’t see every day. Taking the place of the usual CD album inlay are six postcards, chronicling the revered musician’s travels in and around of Denmark. [firstpara] The postcards appear to have been taken candidly, showing Mr. Cabangon in various states of walking, relaxing, or contemplating, sometimes with his instrument, and sometimes just by his lonesome self. The scenes are similar to the inlay of his older records, really, except here—as stated in one of the postcards’ back—the musician is in Denmark.
In the section where artists write off their greetings and thanks to families, friends, and to the One Up Above, Mr. Cabangon muses: “Ang mga awitin dito ay bahagi ng aking byahe.”
Byahe is a 15-track album comprised of renditions of classic OPM tunes from the seventies and the eighties such as "Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko," "Tuloy Pa Rin," "Di Na Natuto," "Binibini," and "Ipagpatawad Mo." Classic songs, they already are. But they're made even more beautiful by Cabangon. For old-timers, the album is sure to take you back to a couple decades ago, when those wrinkles snaking along your forehead today weren’t there.
Along with those borrowed hits, Noel collaborates with Imago’s Aia de Leon to do a new version of “Kanlungan”—the song which originally catapulted Noel into mainstream consciousness. Aia’s vocals harmonizes beautifully with Noel’s, making it one of the must-hear songs in the album. Noel also partners with Chito Miranda in the song “Dito sa Kanto,” singing aptly about the experiences one encounters by the “kanto.”
Byahe shows why, in spite of all the flashy rock bands that reign over the industry nowadays, Noel Cabangon commands respect. Listening to Noel Cabangon’s new album is like putting on a familiar, well-worn jacket that makes you feel fuzzy and warm as all the travels and experiences you’ve had with that jacket, suddenly pours forth.
WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES