Ferdie Poligrates brought music to Dongguan eight years ago, doing nightly shows in the Sheraton Hotel in Houjie and various other establishments.
Poligrates is originally from the Philippines but has lived in China for 14 years, and before China, he was a drummer in Dubai. Music has always been a large part of Poligrates’ life. He mentioned his mother played guitar, and his father was a singer. As a child, he drew a lot of inspiration from his older brother.
“It started with my brother, when I was young. I remember I was 8 years old, and he used to play (music) with some friends. I was watching and I was fascinated. He is a classical guitar player as well. He is really good,” Poligrates said.
In his hometown there were not a lot of music schools, adding it was very remote, so he taught himself how to play most instruments.
Poligrates lived in Beijing for three years before moving to Guangdong, playing shows in Guangzhou and Shenzhen and then moved to Dongguan. He admittedly prefers Guangdong over Beijing.
He does not focus on a specific music genre and knows the importance of being able to change style based on the location and type of crowd.
“In Dongguan there are a lot of different kinds of people, but I play all (kinds of music),” he said. He plays modern pop songs, classic rock, local favorites and laughed when he mentioned a time he played primarily salsa and merengue for two years. Poligrates said he often has a list of songs he plans to play at shows but sometimes must change based on the audience. Surprisingly, the most requested song he gets is Hotel California by The Eagles, but his favorite song to play is Pride and Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
“You have to know how to read the audience. I change it up based on how they react to the songs,” he said.
Weekends are his busiest time playing shows around the city. Other than the Sheraton Hotel, he is seen at locations such as Irene’s Bar and Hollywood Baby Too.