Soulful Wednesday

I went to Alphonse Bistro in Julia Vargas early last month to treat myself to a night of soul music. I’ve been craving for acid jazz and soul for months that’s why when Telay told me that they’ll be playing, I gave it a go. They played two sets of pure awesome, leaving my ears satisfied. I managed to take a video of three songs and you’ll see them at the end of this post.


In my years of watching the gigs of my friends, I learned two things: not all venues are well-lit so this means I have to use a flash or deal with the blur and noise caused by the high ISO and low shutter speed. I always choose the latter because I’ve never been a fan of depending on the camera flash. The second thing that I learned is that if you want to have a seat with a nice view (two to three tables away from the stage), you have to be early. This worried me that night because I was running late. Good thing Alphonse Bistro is spacious plus it has comfy seats. I loved the white couch near the stage. See and hear your musician friends up close, why not, right? They were already playing when I arrived so after waving them hello and putting my things down, I started to take pictures. It was my first time to watch them perform as a group and I wanted to document everything.

Telay Robles on vocals and her husband, Benjo, on drums.
Telay Robles on vocals and her husband, Benjo, on drums.

I think the vocalist, Telay, will kill me for saying this but I really feel like Chaka Khan is trapped inside her body. Or a gospel singer. She belts out high notes and hits them without effort and with a smile on her face. She gives justice to the songs of India Arie, Jill Scott, and Eryka Badu which is something I’m very thankful for. When you live in a country far from people you want to hear live, you’re always thankful for musician friends who sing their songs perfectly. The first time I heard Telay sing was in 2006 when she and her husband, Benjo, went on stage to jam with K24/7 during one of their gigs. The song? No Diggity by Blackstreet and no, she didn’t ask the boys to do the rap part for her because she did it herself and she nailed it. I’ve been a fan of hers ever since.

RJ Manese on bass, Telay Robles on vocals, Benjo Robles on drums, and John Apura on guitar.

Wonderful by India Arie, Ain’t Giving Up by D’Sound, No Diggity by Blackstreet, and Sweet Thing by Mary J. Blige were some of the songs that they played last night. They ended their last set with a song from Jessie J (Domino) which was a pleasant surprise. It was a nice way to end Wednesday and welcome Thursday. I went home with an sd card filled with memories of that night.

As promised, here are the videos. Enjoy!

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