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Friday, May 20, 2011

Sarah Geronimo’s All-Filipino Album

Filipino music can use all the help it can get in these dire times so I am happy to note that Sarah Geronimo’s latest album, One Heart is made up of old and new works by local composers. Although she made her mark with Forever’s Not Enough by Vehnee Saturno seven years ago, Sarah did fall prey to the lure of foreign covers in her later recordings, as in I Wanna Know What Love Is and Right Here Waiting plus those themes from her blockbuster movies, like A Very Special Love and You Changed My Life In A Moment.

So it truly gladdens the heart that, Sarah, who is one of the country’s top hitmakers today has gone back, not only to Saturno songs but to other original Filipino compositions as well. Maybe because there is something uniquely Filipino about our music that although we are guilty of often preferring what is selling in the U.S. of A., we also hold on like mad to songs that touch the Filipino soul. That is why Sarah’s biggest seller to date, is still Forever’s Not Enough and it is the one hit she will always be identified with all her life. Let us see if fans will find lots of the same in the songs of One Heart.

Vehnee, who also did Be My Lady for Martin Nievera, Isang Lahi for Regine Velasquez, Sana Kahit Minsan for Ariel Rivera, Only Me And You for Donna Cruz and other hits, dominates Sarah’s line-up. He wrote and produced six songs, all done in his sure hit style. These include the first two single releases, Sino Nga Ba Siya and Kung Siya Ang Mahal and the title cut, One Heart. There are also the Vehnee hits covers, Nag-iisang Ikaw, first recorded by Louie Heredia and Bakit Pa Ba? that he composed for Jay R and then there is the new showstopping original Within that singing contestants will surely adore.

I am tempted to say I am sad that there is one non-OPM entry in the CD. This is bonus track, Fallin’, the Marvin Hamlish/ Carol Bayer song from the musical They’re Playing Our Song. But it’s a nice tune and was used as the theme of the movie Catch Me… I’m In Love, which starred Sarah and Gerard Anderson. So let us forgive that and check out the other Fallin’, that Sarah sings beautifully. This one was written and was originally a hit by Janno Gibbs who, I must add, is a very good composer and should write more songs.

Also included in One Heart are Sa Isip Ko, a cover of the Agot Isidro hit composed by Dennis Garcia of Hotdog; If You Could Read My Mind by Christian Martinez; I Miss You by Louie Ocampo; Bata, a duet with Kean Cipriano of CallaLily; More Than You’d Believe, written and produced by Tito Cayamanda; Handang Umibig Muli written and produced by Marcus Davis; and Ikaw, a duet with Concert King Martin Nievera of the Louie Ocampo/George Canseco classic.

Speaking of Martin, he and Sarah are getting ready to bring their hugely successful What Love Is show on tour around the country and abroad. First stops here will be at the Central Philippine University in Iloilo City on July 15 followed by the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City on July 15. Now for those who want something that happens sooner, you can catch Sarah perform songs from One Heart and her other hits at the Glorietta in Makati on the afternoon of Sunday May 22.

And speaking of Dennis Garcia and the Hotdogs and a big boost for OPM, the Manila Sound band’s reunion concert last Monday evening at the Dusit Ballroom turned out to be the hot event of the year. Not only because our bachelor President came with a date; not only because the hall was packed; not only because Dennis looked well and played again after many years; but also because, Hotdogs music — think Pers Lab, Panaginip, Ikaw Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko, Bongga Ka Day, and other songs — is still as fresh and enjoyable after nearly 40 years. Congratulations guys. Maybe it is about time for a new album.

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