Japanese musician finds connection to Cebu music scene


MUSICIAN. Ken Iwamoto, who goes by the artist name iwapt, poses with his Grand Prix championship for the Certificate of Merit from Shin Totsukawa City of Hokkaido. (photo added)

No other safe space comes close to music when enjoyed in its purest form. While some people find solace in the multiple meanings a beautiful verse is able to provide, some are content with melodies that linger in their consciousness even long after that piece has ended.

For Japanese songwriter and musician Ken Iwamoto, who writes and performs music under his stage name iwapt, he is able to tap into the best version of himself by creating and producing music here at Philippines.

“I sent my demo tape to a music studio in Manila,” iwapt said when he first hit the Philippine music industry more than a decade ago. “They accepted me and I made music with them.”

According to iwapt, he has worked with Manila-based musicians like Nino Regalado (Neocolours), Kris Gorra-Dancel (Cambio) and Richie Gonzaga (Apo Hiking Society, saxophonist).

Interestingly enough, iwapt’s connection to the Philippines grew stronger when he had the opportunity to interview entertainment icons like Christian Bautista and Ogie Alcasid when they were in Tokyo, Japan to celebrate the Festival. from the Philippines.

After his series of musical releases in collaboration with artists from Manila, iwapt discovered Cebu through a friend whose relative worked with a local radio station.

In 2014, iwapt performed an unplugged version of his song “Dr. Clinique” on GMA Cebu’s morning newscast. In 2016, radio station dyHP RMN used iwapt’s track “Dr. Clinic” as part of the soundtrack for their drama titled “Yakusoku”. The drama tells the story of a Filipino-Japanese who falls in love with a Filipino, and the parents of the former are against the relationship.

It was during the production of “Yakusoku” that iwapt met Cebuano radio and TV legends Goliat and Teban.

“They were so friendly,” iwapt said, recalling his time with the two stars. “Goliat let me know that unfortunately Teban passed away.”

A few years later, iwapt managed to get in touch with the local rock scene in Bisaya. During this time he worked with many Bisrock artists. One of his latest achievements was when he was declared the winner of an online song cover contest organized by Cebu rock band The Agadiers at the height of the pandemic.

The Japanese artist received first prize for his Japanese/English cover of the song “Move On” by Les Agadiers. He donated his prize money towards the surgery costs of a Filipino cancer survivor.

More recently, iwapt found success in its home country by winning another contest, this time creating a tourist promotional video that promoted the beauty of Shintotsukawa City in Hokkaido. Iwapt understands the importance of this promotional video for Filipinos, as he is aware of his place in the popular Filipino movie “Kita-Kita”.

He created and provided the music for the video titled “Attractive Shin Totsukawa”, for which he won a Grand Prix Championship Merit.

“Hokkaido is 50 minutes by limited express train from Sapporo,” he said. He also shared that Hokkaido was the setting for the Cebuano drama, “Yakusoku.”

“The number of Filipinos visiting Hokkaido for sightseeing has increased significantly, and their interest and understanding of Hokkaido and Japan has deepened, and I am glad that the distance between the Philippines and Japan has become much closer thanks to this film.”

“After the Covid crisis, I hope Filipinos will visit Shintotsukawa City in Hokkaido with the same experience as ‘Kita-Kita’, and for that I added an English translation to ‘Attractive Shin Totsukawa’.

The mission continues for iwapt, as they are set to release a new track titled “Smoke” on May 15th.

While travel restrictions and border closures remain, in the meantime, taking advantage of what the rest of the world has to offer is still possible. Iwapt did it through the power of music.


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