Calling out: The music of Kaimito takes you to oceans and the mountain tops
by rick olivares
It’s a slow night. There are six patrons scattered across three tables. Surprising considering Brownman Revival is headlining the Thursday night show at 70’s Bistro. A few members of the venerable reggae band are seated in the area reserved for the night’s performers. They know what it’s all about. There are days when the dancehalls are packed with people shimmying to the pulsating beat. There too are nights like this when the club is rather bare but the show must go on (the night would end with the crowd doubling its number).
Michael Adrian Pasok, better known by his nom de guerre “Kaimito” -- dressed in a blue t-shirt, shorts, and with a bandana wrapped around his head to hold up his long and unkempt hair -- casually strolls up the stage, plants himself on a stool, strums his guitar a bit to make sure every string is tuned then he introduces himself, “My name is Kaimito and I am from Mindanao. Butuan City to be exact. Anyone else from Mindanao?”
Someone raises his hand. “Tawi Tawi,” he announces.
“Yan,” smiles Kaimito.
Then the singer begins to sing.
In the silence of the night, every note, every word is greatly amplified. In many ways, it’s more powerful and intimate. You feel the cool ocean breeze. The communion with nature. Of good souls and the sunshine in everyone’s smile. Long hot summers. Walking barefoot on sandy beaches without a care in the world as the waves tickle your toes. Diving into the deep blue. Climbing a mountain and marveling at the world below. Of watching daybreak and golden sunsets. Of love. Loves. Lost loves. Peace. The stars in the night sky. And the waves ushering in dreams.
“My music,” thought Kaimito an hour before he hit the stage. “Some folks describe it as ‘World Pop’ and I think it is so. And hopefully more people will like my music.”
And hopefully, the magic of his music will be shared to a wider audience when his first ever album is released this year.
Growing up in Butuan and frequenting the beaches of Siargao, Kaimito was into reggae, ska, the folk of America, Joey Ayala and Noel Cabangon; Yano, and Jack Johnson who provided more inspiration and with whom the man from Mindanao draws a lot of comparisons. “I will take the comparisons. They are a compliment. But my songs are my own and my own experiences,” he says.
Of growing up by the seaside. Of living life to the fullest. Of choosing to make music his career. Of standing up to perform in spite of Typhoon Ondoy causing some difficulties. Of the mountains and the trees. Of something as mundane as a pair of slippers.
The small crowd laughs. Applauds. Smiles. Cheers. Snaps their fingers. Taps their feet. Plays air drums. Guitar. Sings along.
And you’d think that on a slow night along Anonas Street, 70’s Bistro was packed.