KITHARA: Making Music for the Love of Music

Kithara is composed of Pato San Juan(lead vocals/percussion), Poli Policarpio (guitars), and Dex Galsim (cajon). Some listeners of today would be hard-pressed to identify the genre that Kithara plays. One of the things that make them distinct from other pop bands is that they make use of harmonies on top of acoustic music. This is very reminiscent of APO Hiking Society. In fact, their gig set list usually contain an APO medley. The audience just can’t help but take a leisurely break from their talking and drinking to listen and sing along with Kithara.

Kithara started as a trio in 2007, until suddenly Pato and Poli found themselves as a duo when their bandmate left them. They tried continue on as a duo, but realized that it just doesn’t work. This could have marked the end of Kithara. However, the love of making music prevailed, and it wouldn’t be a far cry to say that fate brings luck to those who work with love. Pato and Poli met Dex through the friendships they have maintained in their choir. They have come across a few bumps in the road when they seemingly restarted as a trio, with Poli describing a few initial gigs as disasters. The group remains standing until today with Pato maintaining a day job and Poli and Dex working as full-time musicians.

Pato’s voice is distinct in itself. The rasp in his voice gives a different flavor to the smokiness and soulfulness of his vocal style. Poli and Dex had to learn how to sync with their main vocalist. Although not formally trained as vocalists, the two were able to harmonize well with Pato. The three of them generate ideas individually regarding which songs to cover. Poli, with help from his two bandmates, attacks the instrumentation to give it an edge that would make it distinct from the original version.

Not limited to performing covers, Kithara also has six original songs under their name. Although unsigned and working without a band manager, the Filipino acoustic band had met moderate success in the past appearing in radio shows besides their bar and event gigs. Their original composition “To Move On” topped the charts of Love Radio Isabela for four months in 2012. Their music video for their song “Should I Leave You Now” entered the Pinoy Myx Countdown. These are but affirmations of Kithara’s ability as songwriters and hitmakers.

Fans of the band will be excited to know that the group’s latest original composition “My World is Your Love” will be released before the end of August 2014.

Kithara can be found playing their regular gigs at the following venues:

  • Forest Grill along Timog Avenue in Quezon City (Mondays)
  • InTune Restobar along Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong City (Fridays)
  • Ang Pulo inside Autocamp along Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City (Saturdays)