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Rivermaya

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Rivermaya is an influential Filipino rock band founded in 1993. Their musical direction has evolved through standard rock, hard rock, pop, progressive, and other genres. They are the second biggest-selling artists in the Philippines.

Early years
The first line-up consisted of Jesse Gonzales on vocals, Kenneth Ilagan on guitars, Nathan Azarcon on bass, Rome Velayo on drums, and Rico Blanco on keyboards. They were managed by Lizza Nakpil and director Chito Roño who had the intention of molding the group into a rock show band. The band was then called Xaga.

Classic line-up and mainstream success
In the process of grueling practice sessions, Ilagan was replaced with Perfecto de Castro; Azarcon’s childhood friend, Mark Escueta, to replace Velayo, as well as former classmate Francisco “Bamboo” Mañalac to replace Gonzales. With Bamboo as frontman, the band members themselves decided to disband Xaga and form the band Rivermaya. They started putting together original songs like “Ulan” , “214”, and “Awit ng Kabataan” (mostly composed by Rico Blanco) in demo form for prospective recording companies.

Nathan Azarcone was one of the members of Rivermaya from 1993 to 2001.
By November 1994, the band had released its first album, the self-titled Rivermaya, and its first single, “Ulan”; followed by “214”. Critically praised for its fresh, excitingly new pop/rock sound, the album went on to become one of the best acts in the 1990s.
Citing artistic differences, Perf de Castro was adamant in leaving the group and founded his own band, Triaxis.

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