BORN with a cleft palate and lip, Paul Marney Leobrera defied the odds and conquered the world of blues—literally.
Although his harelip had been surgically repaired, the residual scars and speech impediment made Leobrera a magnet of unwanted attention and an object of derision.
The bitter reality turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as Leobrera started playing guitar at the age of 15, and decided to start a band a year after.
Music indeed gave the frontman a sweet escape from the cruel world that he is in. It allowed the vocalist to express all of the mixed feelings and emotions inside him. Until such time that he found himself gaining confidence to step onstage not only to play guitar, but also to sing.
Aside from being the lead guitarist and front vocalist of Bleu Rascals, Leobrera is now also a brand ambassador of a global guitar brand as well as an audio and music store.
Pinoy blues goes global
LEOBRERA’S band, Bleu Rascals, is a Filipino blues-oriented, guitar-centric collective. For eight years now, they have been playing around the globe, sharing their music in different countries and cities.
Playing blues is the core of the band. Its other members include Allan Abdulla (drummer) and Oliver Salaysay (bassist).
In addition, the band represented the Philippines in the 28th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. It was also the front act of Buddy Guy, Keb Mo’ as well as Earth, Wind and Fire in the Timbre Rock and Roots Festival in Singapore in 2012.
They have also it represented the Philippines in the Jakarta Blues Festival, Japan Blues Festival and in other countries such as Vietnam, Guam, and Macau, among others.
Bleu Rascals also joined the Cotai Blues and Jazz Competition 2013 in Macau. Out of 118 applicants, they it was selected with 12 finalists from all over the world.
Best of all, it bagged the first prize worth HK$250,000.
‘Badge of Courage’
RECENTLY, the Bleu Rascals released its first 12-track, full original album called “Badge of Courage.” Including the title track, it contains the songs Rollercoaster, Brownman’s Blues, Put Youself On The Map, Out Of The Blue, Why You Left Me Baby, Doble Kara, Eskwela, Run, Got My Eyes On You, What Love Can Do, and A Better Man.
Just last month, the band launched their newest single Overnight Love, now out on Spotify and other music streaming platforms.
Who would have thought that Leobrera and his band could go this far? It is indeed a blessing in disguise.
Keep on soaring high, Bleu Rascals.
And to Leobrera: You are a beacon of light. Never dim.