Last October 21, rapper Ruby Ibarra announced a brand new music label called BOLO Music Group. With plans to give a platform to rising Filipino-American musical artists, Ibarra has been working hard behind the scenes to establish this collective in celebration of the Philippine identity.
Ibarra introduced the debut lineup of artists of BOLO’s collective at Spotify’s Filipino-American History Month Celebration, giving audiences a sneak peek of the sounds and talents of the team she’s been working with. Included in the first wave of BOLO’s musicians are Vince A, Ian Santillano, and Ouida –– each of whom is bringing their own unique sound to the international music scene.
Blending together several genres such as rock, pop, soul, and jazz, these three new musicians were able to express their talents, appreciation for music, and appreciation for individuality at Spotify’s showcase. In an interview with ABS-CBN, Vince A spoke highly of Ibarra’s curation of talent, mentioning; “She’s a genius, she picked a really dope set of artists. It’s great because everyone does different things.”
Despite her hip-hop roots, Ibarra aims to push BOLO’s mission to highlight Filipino music, no matter what the genre is. As it stands, BOLO and Ibarra plan on staging a show in Oakland this upcoming December to showcase the talents of their artists. “What we hope to do with BOLO is really to help merge that gap between what’s going on in the Philippines and what’s going on out here because locally, globally we’re all Pinoy, Pinay, and at the end of the day what we want to do is to continue working together and continue bridging that gap,” Ibarra says to ABS-CBN.
With the collective named BOLO for two reasons, most may assume that ‘Bolo’ stands for the Filipino pre-colonial bushwhacking tool that’s similar to a machete –– but Ibarra’s intention uses the definition “be on the lookout,” which people definitely will keep in mind with her endeavors.