Filipino ‘Dancing Queen’ wows Mumbai audiences

Mumbai: Remember Swedish pop group ABBA’s effervescent “Dancing Queen”? Well, a Filipino “Dancing Queen” has been wowing audiences at a tony eatery here as the lead singer of the Sino Sikat band that is known for its mix of jazz, soul, funk, rock and groovy beats.

“I was born with it, I think,” the 30-somethingish Kat Agarrado, much-loved for her sultry, cool voice, told IANS in an interview when asked how the music bug bit her.

“My mother said she would pray to God and asked Him when she was pregnant to give her a daughter that could sing. She would always bring me to auditions and I was singing on TV at the age of 4,” said Agarrado, who has been performing with the band at the Finch Rhythm & Brews jazz-blues bar in Andheri for the past week and will continue to do so till December 31.

“My mom was very supportive of my talent and helped me nurture it. A voice teacher would come to the house and my mom exposed me to singing competitions and I would always win. She would always buy me tapes back then so I could practice. I started singing professionally with a band when I was 16 years old and I never stopped,” she said of her training in her formative years.

“My experience has taught me a lot and it is indeed the best teacher,” added Agarrado, who won the “Vocalist of the Year” title at The NU Rock Awards in the Phillipines in 2007.

Being exposed to the music industry at a very early stage, she then worked with many reputed bands like Kindred Garden, Passage and Wally Gonzales as a key vocalist in Manila, exploring a wide range of musical styles — hip-hop, RnB, jazz, blues, classic rock and electronic music.

“Our music is a fusion of jazz, soul, funk and rhythm & blues. We do cover songs but we try to make it our own by making interesting arrangements,” she explained of the band’s repertoire, adding: “But in Manila we play mostly original songs.”

Little wonder, then, that Agarrado has performe around the world in different countries like Australia, Vietnam, Japan and America, as also Europe for concerts and got invited to prestigious international music festivals like the Java Jazz international Festival in Jakarta Indonesia and for the Blues Challenge in Memphis with the band, whose other members are Niki Cabarado, Carlos Jesena, Tim Davivas and Bergan Nunez.

“This is our first time in India and we are very excited about this,” the singer said.

How did the India visit come about?

“I was contacted through my Facebook fan page and told that my performances had been seen on YouTube and that I should sing at The Finch. And I am very grateful & excited to perform for all of you,” Agarrado signed off.