Lito Zabat was the original drummer of the Jovials, one of the most promising band during the 60’s.
It was in summer of 1959 when he first held the sticks to play Latin Music with the Hi-Fi Band. When instrumentals and rock-and-roll music became the trend its members re-grouped and formed the JACFERS; becoming regular talent of Baby O’Brien Show, Darigold Jamboree (channel 9) and Dance-O-Rama (channel 5). In 1963 the Jacfers grabbed the 3rd prize trophy, finishing behind the Crystals and the Jet Blacks during the "Summer Holiday" Festival held at the PhilAm Life Auditorium in Manila. This was part of the promotions for the "Summer Holiday" film of Cliff Richard and the Shadows.
In 1964 Jess Manlapat reorganized the members of the JACFERS and renamed the group Le Jovials. After a string of concerts at Meralco, St. Mary’s, Caltex, Ateneo, and other colleges, the group made their own mark. THE JOVIALS become famous at the Hotel Silver Star in Olongapo City. Lito had to play on and off in order to finish high school. While studying in Manila he joined and played with the group of Bobby Mabasa, the TUMBLEWEEDS together with Larry Briones and Fred Herrera.
On February 4, 1967 (his 20th birthday), Lito rejoined the Jovials, this time to perform in several key cities in Southeast Asia. With a wide range of repertoire that included sweet soul music they performed at several American Bases (Pacific Stars and Stripes) in Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan.
Again he left the group in 1968 and went to college, started a family, and competed as a professional horse racing jockey. Music took a back seat in his life as he attended to other things.
He took up the sticks again in 1985 for SOLID GOLD BAND managed by Jess Ferrer. They were the main act at the Tropicana Club in Singapore for three months. Later on he joined a 3+1 group, the GLITZ . After another hiatus, Lito joined the COOL CHANGE band of Jun Martinez and played with Bernie Fineza (Hagibis) at private parties in the early ‘90s.
In 1994 he rejoined the horseracing world, first as chairman of the Veteran Jockeys’ Association, then as office manager of the New Philippine Jockeys’ Association up to 2002.
From 2002-03, Lito attended the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom)-sponsored Stewards’ Training Program under Mr. John Haigh, Chief Steward of the Australian Board of Racing Stewards. After the program, Lito started serving the Manila Jockey Club (MJC) as a racing steward. In 2005, Philracom held a stiff exam for all licensed stewards to determine their knowledge of racing rules and procedures and capacity to perform as a racing official. Lito aced it, obtaining the highest score among all those who took the exam.
In June 4, 2008 Lito decided to retire as a Racing Steward because of a dysfunctional bureaucracy. The name game - politics!
Tags: Lito Zabat Drummer Jovials Mjc