“Bahayathon” flaunted hip-hop talents at The Blue Dog Motel
As the Filipino-Canadian Futures conference was rescheduled for the following day due to the climate march —Montreal artists affiliated and apart of Bahay took the stage in celebration of the conference Sept. 27.
Bahay means “home” in Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines. The local organization offers “a home away from home” for creatives and promotes the diversity of Asian representation in music.
Their pink house logo glowed above the stage where artists Lolo Boy, Waterboii, Yenny, Bea di Vinci, Eezahyah, Gxlden Child, and DJ sixM0nths played the cramped venue.
Behind the DJ booth Coolchels, engulfed the show-bar with her song arrangements. While Coolchels was hard at work, people struggled for space along the narrow dance floor. Soon enough, a heat wave overwhelmed the heavy atmosphere, throbbing in the various beats.
Lolo Boy, a local Haitian artist, was first to perform with his so-called brother. Side-by-side they carried the crowd through dance tracks and Lolo Boy’s auto-tuned vocals. The venue grew humid by the time he performed “Toxic,” which had a toned-down vibe compared to the other tracks. The lyrics in “Toxic” spoke of a toxic relationship. Hands swayed the air to the slowed R&B track.
Before Filipina-American rapper Bea di Vinci seized the stage with her lyrical flow, Waterboii showcased his Vietnamese hip-hop fusion “Du Ma Mai” and “Blue Eyes // White Dragon.” His rap style had a sinister quality to it. As he spoke from a personal place, he bellied his frustrations as an Asian up-and-coming rapper. The crowd jumped to the haunting tone of his voice.
“Go with the flow, but affect the flow,” said Waterboii about finding his space in the hip-hop music world.
As “Bahayathon” continued through the morning, The Blue Dog Motel was a space for both Asian and non-Asian local artists to show off their music and styles. Artists from other cultures were encouraged to perform as well. Bahay, as an ongoing roster, has become “a home for everyone” who is apart of the different Montreal diasporas.
“It is a passion project,” said Waterboii, co-founder and president of Bahay.
“South-East Asian people are often underrepresented in the whole Asian umbrella, South-Asian people too,” said Waterboii. “That’s something we’re going to try to improve.”
As a producer and rapper, Chuong Trinh who is known artistically as Waterboii, began Bahay with Coolchels.
“It’s a lot of mentoring, it’s a slow process –you can’t ask for more, I am so blessed to have these people doing volunteer work,” said Waterboii.
Amita Biona, who is part of the collective’s external affairs team, explained that they began operating independently.
“Our main demographic that we’re trying to bring in is from the universities,” stated Biona. “But the big thing we want to do is kind of connect the university people to the greater Montreal area.”
While Bahay started as a series of fundraising concerts that targeted South-Asian and South-East Asian artists, it is building and reaching a broader community of creatives everyday.
Photo by Adela Kwok