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Zamboanga band signed by US record label

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“The show they put on tonight is at par with any small show in Las Vegas, Nevada!” American record producer and concert promoter Hadley Murrell gushed after Rockin’ Like Thunder performed to thousands at Paseo del Mar in Zamboanga City on November 25, 2023.

The band is composed of native Zambuangeños Efren Calumpong (lead guitar), Anabel Perez, Honey Jimenez, Al Tarabi (vocals), Romar Tanjil (bass), Errol Calumpong (drums), and Richie Reyes (keyboard). Though individually they have pursued musical careers locally and abroad, they have been performing as a band for two years, with a loyal following at their six times weekly gigs in the city. But they still needed to hold day jobs, working in construction, motor shops, and sari-sari stores to earn their keep.

In September 2022, Murrell was vacationing in Zamboanga, and as fate would have it, Efren was their designated driver. The two got to talking about their love for music and, looking for entertainment in the city, watched the band perform at a small bar in Pasonanca Park. He and his party enjoyed themselves so much, they returned the next night, too. Murrell, who has been working in the music industry since the late 1960s, was struck by the talent of each member and became convinced the band could really go places after hearing them perform a medley of songs by the band Queen–a crowd favorite. 

By December 2022, Murrell had signed them to his record label, HDM Records. In March 2023, the Stank Brothers production team (composed of Murrell with Dwight J. Emile and Tomy Ge) flew from LA to the Philippines to conduct songwriting and performance training sessions with the band. 

“They need to find their own voice and write and produce music themselves. We are here to help them learn how to break into the international music industry. And are confident that they have what it takes!” says Murrell.

They have so far recorded 10 songs–a combination of covers and original songs. Their first single, Rockin’ Like Thunder, has been enjoying vigorous airplay not only in their native Zamboanga, but also in different parts of the world, thanks to YouTube, Spotify, and other online platforms. 

“We are very blessed and we are grateful that we have been given this opportunity. This is the answer to our prayers, because every musician dreams of performing for a wider audience and becoming a recording artist!” Al said.

“We know this chance doesn’t come everyday. Our training and experience have prepared us for it. We are ready to do the work and succeed,” Efren added.

Poised to take to the international stage, Rockin’ Like Thunder are showing what it looks like when you are ready when destiny comes knocking on your door. Follow their journey on: https://www.facebook.com/RockinLikeThunder

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