Monday, August 9, 2010


Ivy Rose’s maiden CD debut last Saturday turned into a family affair, typical perhaps for a rising all-girls band comprised of teenage Filipino-Americans.

Ivy Rose is composed of three sisters – Isabelle, Sarah and Kristine de Leon, and vocalist Martina San Diego.

They launched their new CD “This Adventure” in a rousing party at the Jaxx Club in Springfield, Virginia, attended by about 200 family members, friends, fans and classmates.

The CD features 11 original songs written and arranged by the girls themselves. The songs are also available on iTunes.

Ivy Rose is just a little over a year old, born in the basement studio of Tito de Leon, an engineer by training but now working almost full-time as the band’s manager (his wife Lynn is the band’s marketing manager).

If you happen to watch an Ivy Rose concert, Tito would be the one working feverishly before the show making sure all the microphones, music instruments and amplifiers are hooked up and ready to go.

The weekend launch party also featured three bands – another Fil-Am band, Apriori; the Baltimore-based Three Tree Experience; and the remarkable Mad Brenda that’s composed of Tom Foster and his two talented daughters Torie and Sam.

“We were established by our dedication to creating music,” Foster said, “We may not be the typical definition of a rock band but we certainly take pride in the fact that we are unique.”

Foster says Tito de Leon has often made them part of the line-up during Ivy Rose performances.

If there was an underlying theme that evening, it was music and family.

Incidentally, another common strand that binds the Ivy Rose girls – their mothers hail from Cebuano-speaking provinces back home.

A number of Fil-Am community leaders joined the CD launch party as a show of support although we did not exactly belong to the targeted demographic of the bands’ repertoire.

Ivy Rose caters to a young crowd who, gauging from the crowd’s response, have enthusiastically accepted their music.

Vocalist Marti (who also plays the rhythm guitar) is a high school sophomore and consistent honor student; she has been performing in front of audiences since she was 5.

Drummer Isabelle is already a member of the Cum Laude Society in her freshman year at the University of Maryland where she is pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Jazz Drums Performance.

Lead guitarist Sarah has been playing the guitar since she was 7; a high school junior, she is in the top 10 of her class.

Bass guitarist Kristine is a sophomore at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC where she a pursuing a major in architecture; she is also one of the leaders of CUA’s Filipino organization.

They say Ivy Rose has been influenced by groups like The Cranberries, Meg & Dia, Muse, and The Cure, among others.

They have spent their first year joining one competition after another. They topped the Quest Battle of the Bands in Damascus, Maryland this year and placed 2nd at a battle of upcoming bands in the 9:30 Club – considered the premier live-band destination in Washington DC. That earned them an opening spot at the Art Attack XXVIII that featured Ben Folds and Weezer.

They’re young, they’re hot and the road is wide open for Ivy Rose. Little wonder the Fil-Am community here is rooting for their break-out in the US market.

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