By Patricia May P. Catan
CEBUANO music is slowly gaining popularity and praise, not just within the island but on a national level. This only proves how widespread the Cebuano music scene and its artists have become. But who would have thought that our language will capture the heart of one musically inclined man from Sweden?
Carl Johan Kihl or now more popularly known as Caloy in Cebu, originally hails from a small town in Vasteras, Sweden. Caloy’s love for music didn’t only emerge in the later years of his life, but it was also innate as he grew up with parents who are actively engaged in music and theatre.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and that’s exactly how Caloy took the same path as his parents to pursue music. He was only four years young when he got his own piano, and by the time he turned 12 years old, Caloy started to compose his own music.
Taking advantage of his musical genes and also for mainly practicing music young, he took on gigs at piano bars in his hometown at the age of 16. It was then that Caloy earned recognition both for his performances and his own compositions. From here on out, Caloy continued to follow his musical path and made the biggest decision of his life.
Just after college, Caloy made a huge step by deciding to travel the world and perform. A dream every musician has out there and for Caloy, it’s all about realizing them. He was only 21 years of age when he moved to Turkey and performed five nights a week at a hotel in Alanya. He stayed in Turkey for six months long and after that, he naturally continued this exciting journey performing from one stage to another.
This journey of his has brought him performing and living in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Cyprus, Egypt and Thailand. Ultimately, his musical journey has brought him to the Philippines where he gained much recognition for covering Cebuano songs.
Caloy then fell in love with the island of Cebu, while learning to appreciate the culture and its people. “I’m a guy from Sweden who is moving in to a whole new different country and I didn’t know what to expect, but I met so many people who took care and helped me,” expressed Caloy on how the hearts of the Cebuanos captured his own.
Cover after cover, Caloy has also captured the hearts of the Cebuanos earning him followers who have constantly supported him in all his endeavors. And now as he launched his newest brand: Duyog ni Caloy last Dec. 9, he is hoping that his followers continue to support him.
Elaborating on his current branding, Caloy mentioned that he wants to continue making songs because a lot of people are appreciating his craft, and through these songs, he further learns about the Cebuano language and culture. He also added that he wants to spread Cebuano music all over the world.
Caloy’s manager, Bruce Bollozos, further stated that he wants Caloy to be established as someone who sings with so much emotion, which is why they specially select songs for him to sing that will fit his branding. With that being said, Caloy shared that he leans more about “hugot” songs because this genre was the first thing that got him attached to Cebuano music. This comes as no surprise since when it comes to the creative side of songwriting, Caloy writes best when he’s heartbroken.
Singing these songs has also been his way of learning the language, which he described is like opening Christmas presents. With each song, he is learning new words that for him is like another dimension of learning songs. Comparing the music scene in Sweden and Cebu, he says that there’s so much great talent in Cebu, and you can’t compare it to Sweden. He said one sees music in every corner and in every street here, which he likes so much.
Now at the age of 28, Caloy brings his music to greater heights with many surprises in store for 2018. Definitely, followers can expect a collaboration and mini concert in the coming new year. Caloy is also in the works of composing his very own Bisaya song, which he says followers should look out for.