A very musical weekend

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By Susan Claire Agbayani

Basil Valdez (The Repeat)
May 26, 8:30 p.m.
The Theater at Solaire, Solaire Resort & Casino
1 Aseana Ave., Entertainment City, Parañaque City

The CompanY: Nostalgia 2
(Album Launch Concert)

May 27, 8 p.m.
Globe Auditorium, Maybank
Performing Arts Theater, BGC Arts
Center, 26th St. corner 9th Ave.,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

“AWASH WITH EMOTIONS — in an epic concert last night — I soaked in 40 years of the most moving OPM. I sat on my chair, my hand over my heart, reliving all the lessons on love, life, God and the universe that the man’s music had taught me,” Cecile Bautista, one of the female vocalists of vocal ensemble The CompanY, wrote in a Facebook post. The “man” she was referring to? Basil Valdez.

The concert was Basil Valdez @ Solaire, a celebration of his 40th anniversary as a singer, which was held on April 29 at The Theatre in Solaire.

“I could wax poetic over the melodies (Myran, George Canseco, Rey Valera) that tug at your heartstrings without need for words, or marvel over the profound lyrics that compel you to reexamine your thoughts and feelings even if you re-open old wounds, or ache over the beauty and angst in the unique voice of the great Basil Valdez. But together, they add up to a raw but sublime other-worldly experience,” she added.

Ms. Bautista is not alone in praising the singer and the concert.

“Basil is the quintessential Filipino balladeer who sings with a poet’s heart and an Ignatian soul. And for the troubled times his songs are always situated in, he trains our compasses to turn northward where our true calling is,” said Dr. Joel Navarro in a reaction to Ms. Bautista’s post. Mr. Navarro knows whereof he speaks — he was the conductor of the Ateneo College Glee Club in the 1980s and 1990s, was a professor at the UP College of Music and Calvin College in Michigan, and is now with the Singapore Bible College. Mr. Navarro, by the way, composed and performed “Swerte Swerte Lang,” a finalist at the first Metro Manila Pop Music Festival in 1978.

“It’s hard to imagine how Basil’s timeless songs could be made even more moving, but Mr. C [Ryan Cayabyab] did just that with his re-imagined arrangements, exquisitely performed by the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra. Many times, especially in the songs’ opening strains, I could only sigh and try to hold back tears. Special mention goes to the cello solo which was so gripping, I barely breathed until the end of the song,” Ms. Bautista said in her post.

“Basil Valdez and Ryan Cayabyab have been two of my music heroes [since] I was starting out,” said Marvin Querido, who was second keyboardist of the pop group Neocolours when he was “starting out,” before going on to join Second Wind. He is now a musical director. “Seeing them together live for the first time was as magical as I’ve always imagined. Many thanks to the people who made this possible,” he told this writer in a social media message.

1Entertainment, Inc.’s Entertainment Director Celeste Feliciano Pacana wrote to this writer that the concert was memorable “because his songs at the concert made me remember a lot of my experiences and the emotions came with it.”

“Ricky,” an event director, is a fan of Mr. Valdez. “I have his discography and would listen to all four CDs every now and then,” told this writer in a social media message. “The 40th anniversary concert was my date with my mom; the first chance [for us] to bond again since I got sick, so it was not only memorable but emotional for me. Basil did not disappoint. He was in his element that night.

“And his partnership with Mr. C is one for the books. Mr. C’s arrangement of ‘Ngayon at Kailanman’ was haunting. The numbers with the Ateneo Chamber Singers were my favorite because the theater was so full — orchestra, choir and Basil.”

Ms. Bautista agreed, saying the choir was outstanding, and they “performed with such joy and fervor.” She also noted that the voices and harmonies of back-up vocalists Elise, Babsie, and Sylvia were an essential part of Basil’s hits.

“I went home high but also with mixed emotions,” said Ms. Bautista. “Basil’s songs do have a way of making you reflect and question all your life choices. It was like Philosophy final exams week all over again [what] with all the pondering going on as I was driving home. But luckily, the inspirational songs he chose to end the night [with] also brought solace and peace, as he had hoped. Friends, do not miss the repeat. Basil is love!”

Those who missed out on this special show have another chance to catch it as there will be a repeat tonight at The Theatre at Solaire.

Mr. Valdez will be joined onstage by Sharon Cuneta and the Ateneo Chamber Singers, with musical director Ryan Cayabyab conducting the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra.

Meantime, Ms. Bautista will herself have a busy musical weekend as The CompanY launches its latest Universal Records album, Nostalgia 2, via a concert on Saturday.

The vocal group — composed of Ms. Bautista, Sweet Plantado, Annie Quintos, Cecile Bautista, OJ Mariano, and Moy Ortiz — will have as its special guests Zsaris and former TC vocalist Reuben Laurente. The concert is aptly titled The CompanY Nostalgia 2 (Album Launch Concert).

Among the songs the ensemble covered for this album — and which they’ll sing at the concert — are “Lovely Day,” “Especially for You,” “Lanca Perfume,” “Crazy for You,” “My Cheri Amour,” “One Day in Your Life,” George Michael’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” Jose Mari Chan’s “Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile,” Ortiz’s a capella arrangement of “Head Over Heels,” and the BeeGee’s “If I Can’t Have You.”

“Personally, I feel excited for this sequel to Nostalgia. Being my second album with The CompanY, it was great doing covers of songs from an era that gave us the soundtrack of our younger years. Specifically, I relate to the songs from the 1980s like ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ by Wham and ‘Crazy for You’ by Madonna. Being the youngest of three siblings, my older sister and brother made me listen to these songs back then,” said Mr. Mariano, who is the youngest member of The CompanY.

One can pre-order a concert pass and CD bundle for The CompanY: Nostalgia 2 (Album Launch Concert) for P500 via Viber and SMS at 0917-852-3184. The bundle is also available through TicketWorld (891-9999, for P586.70. Free seating.

Tickets to Basil Valdez (The Repeat) range in price from P1,045 to P7,315. They are available through TicketWorld (891-9999, and through NY Entourage Productions (552-7473).