The singing diplomat’s ‘Tribute to the Philippines’

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“A bridge between two cultures.”

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This is what famed diplomat and artist Raoul Imbach had to say when asked about his idea of producing songs in different languages. Since becoming a career diplomat for the Swiss government, Imbach has not only learned but also performed in English, Korean, Vietnamese, French, Spanish, and now, Tagalog.

It all started in Vietnam when he formed a band to accompany his old Rock and Roll and Latin music performances. They later called themselves the Wild Tortillas and continuously made music for five decades now.

To celebrate this legacy, they released their 11th album titled Tribute to the Philippines, with two of Imbach’s original compositions dedicated to the country.

The singing diplomat Raoul Imbach (right)

The singing diplomat Raoul Imbach (right)

The album was launched at a media conference at Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge. It contains 14 songs of which four are in Tagalog, five are mix of Tagalog and English, and five are in English. All but one are original compositions. Half of the compositions are from Imbach’s while the remaining half are from the band members and invited guest singer/composer, DJ Grimm.

Parallel to this, guests were entertained with the prepared music video of “Huli Ka Na” in which, the diplomat revealed, he had his first performance in rap genre. The band also indulged the members of the press with performances of their original compositions.

On the sidelines of the album launch, Imbach—who currently serves as the Deputy of Head of Mission of the Swiss Embassy in Manila—revealed to The Manila Times why he chose to devote a whole album to the Philppines.

“When I do music, I always correspond to the place. Since I’m assigned here in the Philippines, it naturally became my inspiration for this album. I composed some songs for the Philippines, like my ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ and ‘Binibini,’ I also sing in Tagalog in most of the songs,” the diplomat intimated.

Imbach further noted that the event is also undertaken under the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries, serving as the Swiss Government’s promotion to strengthen cultural ties with the Philippines.

“A diplomat doing Filipino music not only shows the heart of the country he’s representing but also the close-knit relationship his motherland and his current home has,” Imbach concluded.

Finally, promising to not only bring entertainment, half of the album’s profit from sales will support three chosen charities—International Bazaar Foundation, Inc., Rotary Club and Circle of Friends Foundation Inc (COFFI) Gallery.

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