Smokey Mountain was a Filipino singing group formed by musical director, composer, and conductor Ryan Cayabyab. The original group was based in Manila, Philippines, and had James Coronel, Geneva Cruz, Jeffrey Hidalgo, and Tony Lambino as its members.
They were often dressed in ragged clothes to depict the then dire situation of the scavengers living in the garbage dump in Manila after which the group was named.
In 1989, the group released its first self-titled pop album that consisted of songs revolving around social, environmental, and patriotic themes. The group's first hit, Kailan (When), was number one on national airwaves for eight straight weeks and the album hit gold, platinum, and double-platinum status within months of its release.
In late 1990, the group went on the "Better World" tour, performing at the United Nations World Summit for Children and representing the Philippines at the 5th ASEAN Song Festival in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Having to choose between formal schooling and a two-year, two album contract for release in Europe and the U.S., Lambino, Cruz, and Hidalgo left the group. Ryan Cayabyab formed a new group of the same name with last remaining original member Coronel and three new members Zhar Santos, Chedi Vergara, and Jayson Anganan. This second batch also had successful hits, such as Da Coconut Nut (about the benefits of the coconut plant), Paraiso (literally paradise; ironically, about a degrading environment filled with garbage and smog), and their own version of Kailan. They also won awards for both Paraiso and Tayo Na (Let's Go).
In around 1993, Coronel would leave the group. The remnants of the latest batch disbanded sometime later.
Cruz would later on move full time into showbiz. Lambino had stints in songwriting, musical theatre, and broadcast news, and finished undergraduate studies at the Ateneo De Manila University. He completed his masters degree at Harvard University as a Fulbright Scholar and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication. Lambino also works at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Hidalgo completed his undergraduate degree at the University of the Philippines and would go into songwriting and turn into a full-time businessman. Coronel is managing a Manila-based call center. Santos would audition in the fourth edition of the reality show American Idol under the name Sharon Galvez, but was shut out of the semi-finals. Vergara would also cut a solo album of her own with some success.
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