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Chilling Out

Dong Abay Rocks 70s Bistro Jan 19, 2016

Dong Abay Rocks 70s Bistro

GPS waypoint: 14°37'50.2"N 121°03'41.3"E
Location: #46 Anonas Street, Project 2, Quezon City, Philippines

Heard from the Grapevine
I've heard of Dong Abay being mentioned in some passing conversation about Pinoy music but I've only noticed him from the postings of Bluesman Elwyn. Coming from Elwyn, that alone goes a long way. So when I learned about his gig at 70's Bistro, I penciled it in. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Elwyn was at the gig himself. We were later joined-in by Doris, a sculptor and affiliate of the Blues Friends.

Dong Abay

Westdon Martin Abay (aka Dong Abay)
Dong was accessible to his fans. At 70s Bistro before his set, he was just outside talking to me and Elwyn. His fans would start arriving and he would be gracious to all of them for a photo op. On stage, he morphs into a charged dynamo with his electrifying stage presence, conviction and unprentention. He reminds me of the poet in Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison, the endurance and connection with the audience of Bruce Springsteen and the grit of stand up comic, Lenny Bruce. He is a musician, a poet, a humanist and an artist, writing and performing all his songs. He is also a crowd pleaser - I think he did 5 encores to his fans' delight.

   I'm a singer, songwriter, recording artist, humorist, microblogger, literary writer, educator, photographer, performance and multimedia artist. I love ink. -- Dong Abay   

Dong Abay Biography

  • April 5, 1971 - Dong Abay is born with the full name, Westdon Martin Abay
  • 1992 - Dong Abay together with Eric Gancio and Larry Mapolon met to form the band, NG (pronounced as en-ji) with percussionist Renmin Nadela. Abay and Gancio remained and recruited musical arranger and bassist, Onie Badiang to the group. Eventually, the band's name was renamed to Yano
  • June 1993 - Dong recorded the song about the Edsa Revolution, "Kumusta Na?" in Joey Ayala's house. The protest song found its way to a radio station where it enjoyed air time and popularity. This paved the way for the band Yano to play gigs in the local music bars, namely Mayrics, Club Dredd, 70s Bistro
  • 1994 - the band launched a self-titled album which produced hit singles like "Banal Na Aso, Santong Kabayo" (Holy Dog, Saintly Horse), "Tsinelas" (Slippers) and "EsEm" (wordplay for SM or Shoemart mall). They became the signature songs played in their nationwide concerts that enjoyed commercial success. The band enjoyed continued popularity through 1997
  • late 1990s - Dong quits Yano and goes through a 5-year phase of clinical depression
  • 2002 - Abay rebounds into the music scene and formed the band, Pan together with Onie Badiang, former bassist of Yano. The collaboration produced noteworthy songs like "Parnaso ng Payaso" (A Clown's Collection of Poetry), "Dumpsite", "Hula" (Prediction), "Mabuhay!" (Long Live) and "Rebolusyon" (Revolution) The band enjoyed a string of successful gigs in the local scene
  • 2003 - Dong quit Pan to complete his bachelor's degree at the University of the Philippines where he took up Arts and Letters
  • 2005 - Dong became an indie artist and eventually earned his university degree of Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Studies (Creative Writing in Filipino and Humanities) after struggling with it for 18 long years
  • 2014 - Dong formed a new band (his current) after playing with session musicians from New Zealand to Canada from the time he released his last solo album and the formation of this group.
  • 2016 - Dong never stopped writing new songs and now they're working on 14 compositions which will be released in a new album this year

Ending Thoughts
Dong Abay is ANYTHING BUT a canned-performance or a recording company creation. He's an original, and a dynamic and powerful one at that. I have a feeling we haven't seen the best of him yet, not with the forthcoming projects lined-up this year. If you have't seen him live yet, do yourself a favor and check him out.

--- TheLoneRider

ps - If you are a musician or band (or a music bar) and want me to objectively cover your next gig/scene for this website, email me.


70's Bistro


before his set, Dong Abay makes time to interact with his fans. Elwyn looks on as we took turns offering to take pictures of the fans with Dong opening act by Caimito Abe Billano on drums
 Simon Tan on bass guitar - one of the essential jazz bassists around (AMP Big Band, Rick Countryman Trio, originally from WDOUJI in the late 90's/early 2000's Kakoy on guitar an electrifying performance by Dong Abay
at the bar with Elwyn and Doris    

Dong Abay
Dong Abay
Facebook Official Page
70's Bistro
70's Bistro
46 Anonas Street, Proj 2, QC
(02) 434.3597

Music Blogs:

The following people like this:

Ricky Avancena
Ricky Avancena
Fernando Ado Bantula
Fernando Ado Bantula
Doris Rodriguez
Doris Rodriguez
Elwyn Zalamea
Elwyn Zalamea
Dong Abay
Dong Abay



Facebook Users

Reader Comments:

Doris RodriguezDoris Rodriguez
(Jan 24, 2016) A beautiful writeup, again...

Elwyn ZalameaElwyn Zalamea
(Jan 24, 2016) Salamat sa matalas na obserbasyon

Dong AbayDong Abay
(Jan 24, 2016) Salamat sa sulat, Mabuhay!

Jan 19, 2016

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