Tropical Depression's founder talks about the birth of the beat in the Philippines.

Filipino musicians felt an affinity with reggae early on, its eccentric rhythms (with the distinctive accent on the afterbeat that made it such an irresistible dance music) reminding them of earlier imports such as the cumbanchero music popular in the 1950s. By the late 1970s, groups such as Asin were experimenting with Tagalog songs set to reggae rhythms.


It would be a while, however, before, before a Filipino reggae band would emerge. But this is getting ahead of the story.

Gamboa formed a new band called Tropical Depression towards the end of 1991. The name came from a previous band he had been in, a four-piece hard rock outfit. But given the natural progression of things - ska being, after all, the predecessor of reggae - the new, improved Tropical Depression was to be pure reggae band.

This was nothing new: for years, Cocojam had ruled the roost at Mayric's with a repertiore that consisted almost entirely of Bob Marley covers. Now it was time to find out if there was room for more than one reggae band in Manila.

By: Eric S. Caruncho | Sunday Inquirer Magazine April 20, 1997