Original Philippine Music Takes Center Stage in NYC

by Nelson

9:11 pm -- May 24, 2014

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Category: Uncategorized

New York--While the Filipino food pancit, lumpia, and balut are slowly breaking into mainstream America, Original Philippine Music (OPM) should not be too far behind--food and music go well together anyway, which has inspired Synergy Productions and Marketing Inc. to stage the concert "An Evening of Original Philippine Music with Cecile Azarcon and Sounds of Manila" at Peter Norton Symphony Space (2537 Broadway and 95th Street) on Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m. "The concert will be a musical tribute to celebrate Filipino composer Cecile Azarcon's timeless pop songs that have been pervading the airwaves over the last 35 years--whether it be in their original form and arrangement, or contemporary rendition--in the Philippines or in many Filipino American communities across the United States," says Grace Labaguis, Synergy Productions' marketing director. "The time is also ripe to introduce Azarcon's melodious love songs such as 'Even If,' 'I Think I'm In Love,' and 'How Did You Know,' newly rearranged by the renowned musical director and arranger Lorrie Ilustre, and interpreted by Sounds of Manila, a band that produces an authentic '70s, '80s Manila sound, to a more diverse group of concertgoers," Labaguis adds. Original Philippine Music Takes Center Stage in NYC Joining Azarcon, Ilustre, and Sounds of Manila in the one-night-only concert at Symphony Space are emerging young vocalists Tiffany Viray ("Stars of Tomorrow" at the Apollo Theater), Jared Martin (The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York Awards at Carnegie Hall), Arnel Arcedo (Finalist, Broadway's "Rock of Ages" at Superbowl Boulevard), and Tony Gado (FDR Band); and guest guitarist Carlo Tampac of Chapter 2 band. As a special treat to concertgoers, Sounds of Manila will also launch in the concert one of Azarcon's three newest songs that is included in the band's debut album, which features 10 songs written and produced by Azarcon, and arranged and co-produced by Ilustre, available in April 2014 and at the concert hall lobby. Cecile Azarcon is a popular Filipino composer and singer, whose songs have been recorded by Filipino mainstream recording artists Gary Valenciano, Kuh Ledesma, Martin Nievera, and Basil Valdez. She lives in Vallejo, California. Lorrie Ilustre is a renowned musical director and arranger who helped create the original sound of Filipino vocal groups The Apo Hiking Society, VST and Company, and Hagibis in the '70s. Honorably tagged as "Ambassadors of Philippine Music," Sounds of Manila has been the recipient of several awards for helping to preserve and promote Original Philippine Music (OPM) in the U.S. The band's awards include the Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League (PACCAL) Award, the Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York (TOFA-NY) Award, and the National Federation of Filipino American Associations' (NaFFAA) Outstanding Filipino American Achiever's Award. NaFFAA, which is part of the White House Commission on Asian and Pacific Islanders, is the umbrella of various Filipino American organizations across the U.S. The music of Sounds of Manila ranges from the classic '60s and '70s to the most revered songs of the '80s and the '90s; the band's repertoire is a blend of popular music, light rock, light jazz, R&B, and most especially Original Philippine Music (OPM). For tickets ($60-VIP, $45-Orchestra, and $35-Balcony), visit www.symphonyspace.org/event/8306/Music/an-evening-of-philippine-music or call Symphony Space box office at 212-864-5400 from Tuesday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sounds of Manila band is made up of Ronnie Sabangan, Suzanne Lansangan-Sabangan, Hermie Angeles, JR Gendrano, Aaron Garcia, Bobby de Leon, and Jojo Gendrano. Photo by Rex Romero