Cynthia Alexander moves to SeattleBy Noelani Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
CYNTHIA Alexander has left the building—for now, anyway. After holding a string of farewell concerts dubbed the Send-off Series across the metro in the second half of June, the singer/songwriter is now in Seattle, her new home base.
It’s not a bad place to be for a musician—this is where Nirvana and Pearl Jam first made it big, after all—it’s just that it’s around 11,000 kilometers away from Manila or Davao. So, yeah, you won’t be able to catch her at Conspiracy Garden Café anytime soon, or at ’70s Bistro and any of the other venues she’s been performing in semi-regularly for the past 10 years or so.
Alexander has said something along the lines of this not being a permanent goodbye—but, her departure casts a melancholic pall over the atmosphere even so.
It feels like the end of an era, which many will probably say has long ended anyway, where radio could still pleasantly surprise you by playing fresh, original music from local acts, and where kids who were being “emo” were listening to music by artists like Buklod, Alexander, or her big brother, Joey Ayala.
A virtuoso musician and a gifted songwriter, Alexander has been a mainstay of the Pinoy indie music scene for years. She was indie before most anyone else was, in fact! Her debut album, “Insomnia & Other Lullabyes” (1997), is the only album of hers that’s been released under a major label. All the others that followed—2000’s “Rippingyarns,” 2005’s “Comet Tail,” and 2009’s “Walk Down the Road”—have been independent releases.
A Cynthia Alexander performance is powerful yet intimate. Listening to her songs is like having a conversation with a very good, very wise friend who has a colorful turn of phrase. In the days when radio still played them, her songs were a welcome respite from the sound and fury of a city constantly on the move.
Despite her not being exactly mainstream, it’s not surprising that she has built a loyal fan base over the years—every single member of which seemed to be present at her send-off concerts, if the crowds at the venues were any indication.
Peregrinations are not unusual among artists who are constantly exploring their boundaries, but it’s hard for a loyal audience to say goodbye, nonetheless.
Alexander has mentioned that her migration to the States doesn’t mean that she’s going to be gone from our shores forever. Here’s hoping that the next concerts she holds when she comes back here will be just as well-attended!
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