Chad and Jay: 2 Davao boys worth watching onstage

Chad Borja and Jay Durias are two Davao boys I’ve known way before Rody Duterte became President. I mention Duterte since both Borja and Durias are friends with him.

In fact, it was through Borja that I personally met Duterte in July 2016, shortly after he won the presidency. I was then in Davao to write about its nightlife and Borja — who’s originally from Cebu but settled in Davao with his wife and two daughters — took me around town including After Dark, the piano bar where Duterte hung out.

After being introduced to Duterte, who looked laid back and gentlemanly, I saw how close he was with Borja.

Photograph courtesy of Pardon My French
Chad Borja performs 20 August at Pardon My French in Makati.

I drank beer as they talked in low voices, almost like whispers. Later, Borja told me he and Duterte are target shooting buddies.

Durias has known Duterte longer. Born in Davao to a musician father, Durias once told me Duterte would sometimes join him to motor around the city to promote a concert. The then Davao mayor would personally confront anybody he saw smoking, recalled Durias.

Chad Borja’s backup musicians on 20 August Ritchie Ramos, Kurtis Castañeda, Kristel Estapa, Mar Dizon, Wowee Posadas, Ryan Peralta (not performing), Jun Figueroa.

I’m talking about Borja and Durias now because it’s rare for fans to see them perform live since the pandemic restricted shows until recently.

Borja has taken quite a long break — living it easy after surviving throat cancer and being content with recording songs every now and then.

The last time I saw him do a full show was astounding. This was how I wrote about his gig in May 2012 at 19 East:

“Backed by an eight-piece band, Borja spiced up his act with doses of swinging jazz, funk, R&B, rock and good old pop in a repertoire that covered Frank Sinatra, Van Morrison, Queen, Tower of Power, Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF), Van Halen, Blood, Sweat and Tears — which had the audience looking at each other and smiling like they just discovered the fountain of youth.”

I’m not sure this time if Borja will sing those classics at his one-night only show on 20 August at Pardon My French in Makati.

But what’s certain is, he has gathered a solid lineup of musicians to back him up. Here’s how he described on Facebook last 8 August his excitement over his coming show:

“It’s 4:12 a.m. and I’m wide awake! Huhuhuhuhu! Too anxious for my upcoming gig at Pardon My French.

“Was planning to walk early and memorize the 15 to 17 songs. It’s not the same when you’re 56 years old.

“But I trust my seasoned musicians — Mar Dizon, drums; Ritchie Ramos, bass; Wowee Posadas, keys; Jun Figueroa, sax; Kristel Africano Estepa, vocals; and Curtis Castañeda, guitars.”

Photograph courtesy of fb/South Border
South Border (from left) Janno Queyquep, Otep Concepcion, Jay Durias, Tabs Tabuñar, Johndave Picacche.


Second stint

Durias, meanwhile, is playing with his band South Border on 21 August also at PMF. This is his second stint at the place — the first was last July when he did a three-date weekend residency with guest musicians.

This time, Durias will feel at home with South Border in a place very familiar to him — it’s the original site of Strumm’s where he launched a solo CD in 2007. And PMF’s owner, Jun Sy, have a tight friendship with Durias rooted in a mutual passion for music.

South Border has a new sax player, Johndave Picache, nephew of the band’s previous saxophonist, Edward Picache, who died recently.

Durias’ PMF gig with South Border is dubbed a birthday show (his real birth date is on 26 August), which may mean he will have a special repertoire.

In any case, Durias has always been unpredictable — whether in the way he interprets a song or in his actual choice of song.

Surprise, he has special guests: Ice Seguerra, Duncan Ramos, Luke Mejares and Janine Teñoso.

Pardon My French, 110 Jupiter Street, Makati. Reservations advised: Tel. 0917 823 0091.

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