Three icons, one stage

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TONIGHT and tomorrow, three icons of Philippine music — Basil Valdez, Lani Misalucha, and National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab — join forces in And The Story Begins.

This concert is presented by Resorts World Manila and CCC Productions on Feb. 28 and 29 at Resorts World Manila’s Newport Performing Arts Theater.

The powerhouse performances also feature the Manila Symphony Orchestra String Ensemble for the two-night show.

“This is going to be the first time na kaming tatlo ay magkakasama (that all three of us will be together), although we have worked together [in the past],” said Ms. Misalucha during a press conference last week. Ms. Misalucha’s career in the 1990s and early 2000s inspired her title “Asia’s Nightingale,” given by MTV Southeast Asia. In 2004, Ms. Misalucha moved to the US with her family, finding newfound fame as the first Asian to headline at a main showroom of the Las Vegas Strip. Ms. Misalucha would return to the Philippines a few years later.

For his part, Basil Valdez has had a long and storied career, spanning 50 years in Philippine music. He is best remembered for his songs “Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan” and “Ngayon at Kailanman” (both titles of movies starring Richard Gomez, which used those songs as themes).

According to Mr. Cayabyab, the concert will be a review of Mr. Valdez’s best known hits, while Ms. Misalucha will perform a mix of new and established hits (during the press conference, she sang one of her latest songs, “I Can’t Give Anymore”).

As for Mr. Cayabyab, he was named a National Artist for Music in 2018. Mr. Cayabyab’s storied career, beginning in the 1970s, would see him giving command performances for royalty, releasing an unforgettable library of songs, and shaping contemporary Filipino music and theater with musicals such as Ang Larawan, Katy, and works based on the country’s most famous novels Noli me Tangere and its sequel, El Filibusterismo.

“We’re also looking back at how we started,” Mr. Cayabyab said, pointing to the show’s title as the beginning of a story.

He mentioned that he entered music right after graduating from college, in order to support his family. Mr. Valdez’s career trajectory, meanwhile, is tied to Mr. Cayabyab, who apparently discovered him in a band in 1977. Ms. Misalucha’s answer, meanwhile, was in jest: “Akala ko magiging beauty queen ako (I thought I was going to be a beauty queen).”

For these three greats, already veterans at their field, it seems as though a daunting and potentially monumental task can be brushed off as easily as a crumb. Speaking about audience expectations for that evening, Mr. Cayabyab said, “What can you expect? Fun.”

Tickets for And The Story Begins are now available at the RWM Box Office and all TicketWorld outlets. — Joseph L. Garcia