The Baraquio Bunch
Nine Baraquio siblings - clockwise from top right, Bernadette, Rose, Lucy, Gloria, Cecilia, John, Angela, Tess, Jerome - release an album dedicated to their brother who died a year ago, and as a tribute to parents Claudio and Rigolette
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To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. - Clara Ortega
It’s quite a math equation:
Seven girls plus three boys equals 10 siblings, add 10 bachelor’s degrees and three master’s degrees, multiplied by one television show, one Miss America crown and one soon-to-be-released album. The answer to this equation isn’t a number, but a name - meet the Baraquios - Cecilia, Jerome, Lucy, John, Therese, Bernadette, Rose, Angela, Albert and Gloria.
All their own individual talents, accomplishments and time spent in the spotlight aside, the Baraquios now share a special achievement - a full-length album that announces to the world the timeless bond of a sibling and the love that is forever.
The album, Lost and Found, is an inspirational piece produced in memory of their brother, Albert, who passed away Nov. 28, 2006 at the age of 28. The release, which marks one year since his death by suicide in San Francisco, features a compilation of songs written and performed by his nine siblings.
“There is one major theme, and that major theme is go forward in life,” says John Baraquio, executive producer of the family’s new music label, Tribute Records, and the fourth of the Baraquio siblings.
“It came with how I was feeling after the death of my brother. How I was feeling came down on paper. I was tired of feeling crappy and wanted to start moving forward, and so that’s how I came up with my three songs. Everyone brought their own songs, and it just turned out to be the same frequency and same page, which is moving forward and celebrating life rather than focusing on a tragedy.”
After the death of their youngest brother, the Baraquios looked to their faith and family for the strength to get them through the pain. And they soon discovered that it was music that they needed to release some of the heavy emotions.
“A lot of people who have experienced suicide with a loved one, these people don’t find an outlet, and every year it opens up those old wounds again,” says Jerome Baraquio, the second-oldest sibling. “So what we’re trying to do with this album is offer people an outlet to see that they can relate to someone they know. Hopefully it will offer a little bit of solace and comfort.”
“We also want to make a point that we’re not glorifying suicide or saying that we support what he did,” says Bernadette Baraquio Hamada (the sixth sibling, but only by eight minutes following twin sister Therese, known to the family as Tess).“What we’re trying to do is give people hope and show them there’s a value of life. And we’re trying to let people know that if you need help, there are always places to go and people to talk to.”
The album has 13 tracks, including nine originals, four written by Bernadette, three written by John, one written by Tess and one written by Angela and her husband, Tinifuloa Grey. Two of the cover tracks, The Anniversary Song and Rainbow, were chosen for the album because they are the two songs they always performed as a family since they were children.
“After we lost Albert, it was a very tough time for our family,” says Bernadette.“We found that when we were going through the depression and the different feelings of anger, grief and mourning, that music was really our only source of comfort besides our faith. We used to play music in church and stuff, but we took a break from music so it’s been a while before we’ve played music together. We hadn’t written songs for years, and when he passed, the songs just started to come, it started to flow. These songs just seemed to come out of nowhere and I know it was Albert helping us through these tough times. We didn’t ever think,‘Let’s go do an album so we can sell some CDs.’ It was a way for us to express ourselves and get through that pain.”
“The only way we could heal is to create something that was full of life, and I think Albert was shining down on us the whole time,” adds Tess.
The November release date has a lot of meaning to the family. It’s a time to remember the last Thanksgiving they all shared together as a family, it marks a year since Albert’s passing, and is also the month of Albert’s birthday (Nov. 15).
“The thing about Albert, he was 28 years old, he just turned 28 when he died, and that was 28 beautiful years,” says Tess. “Even the last two weeks we were able to spend with him when he came back to Hawaii. These are the times that we want to remember. He had a whole life, and he made one decision that affected all that, that we had to lose. Every year that we remember this, and every time we play this album we’ll always remember how much we love him. He’s always going to be our brother whether he’s here on this Earth or in heaven.”
The family has a special performance scheduled for Nov. 23
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