Singer/songwriter Cynthia Alexander is a folk hero in the Philippines. A multi-instrumentalist who also produces and arranges her songs, Alexander began playing guitar at the age of seven.
Her brother, renowned ethnic musician Joey Ayala
, provided her with early chord lessons. She attended school at Ateneo De Davao and in the late ‘80s was the bassist for the group Hayp. Hayp were regulars at Manila underground venues such as Club Dredd and Mayric's, but Alexander's skills with the bass instantly brought her international recognition. In 1989, she was selected Best Bass Player at the World Band Explosion Finals in Tokyo, Japan. Hayp released their debut album in 1991. A year later, she joined her sibling Ayala
, utilizing several indigenous instruments. She recorded three albums with Joey Ayala
at Ang Bagong Lumad, including 1995's Encantada, 1996's Parol, and 1997's Lupa't Langit. In addition, she toured with the band in the U.S., Canada, India, Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand. She also performed with Filipino rock legends Mike Hanopol
and Jun Lupito. Alexander's solo debut, Insomnia and Other Lullabyes, was released in 1997. It was greeted with massive critical acclaim; Alexander was heralded as a Philippine musician on the level of Joni Mitchell
and Patti Smith
, a true artist who refused to compromise her ideals for a pop hit. Alexander proved that a female musician could be independent and successful in the Philippines. She was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Bass Player at the NU-107 Rock Awards in 1997; at the KATHA Music Awards in 1998, she received 15 nominations, winning for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album. Her follow-up, Rippingyarns, appeared in 2000, earning her even more accolades. The track "Owner of the Sky" became a smash on alternative radio in the Philippines. ~ Michael Sutton, Rovi