Still on 'fire'

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - October 6, 2008 - 12:00am

They were sorely missed by their fans, for sure.

Last seen performing together 13 years ago, Ana & Soraya (no surnames, please!) are coming back as if out of the blue, still very much “on fire” as you will see on their One Night Only reunion concert on Oct. 22 (Wednesday) at the Captain’s Bar of Mandarin Oriental.

Of course, you remember, don’t you? Together, Ana and Soraya are popularly known simply as Fire — and what conflagration they create when they are onstage!

“How did we get that name?” Ana (a dela Riva; Maggie is her aunt) asked over lunch of bulalo and steaming white rice at Myrna’s Bulalo restaurant (near the corner of Tomas Morato Ave. and Kamuning Road, Quezon City).

Back in the early ’90s when they were starting in the business, Ana and Soraya guested on the Martin & Pops Together show on ABS-CBN. Talent manager Roxanne Lapuz asked what their name was. Ana and Soraya shook their heads, “We don’t have a name.” Okay, Roxanne told them, “Since this is your baptismal fire, you will be called...Fire.”

The name stuck — and caught fire.

The duo reminded music-lovers of the Beatles song Ebony and Ivory. Soraya’s deliciously-brown complexion is in stark contrast to Ana’s fair skin, while their voices complemented each other — that of Ana is “one-of-a-kind raspy” and that of Soraya is “melodic with a rock edge.”

Long in search of a singing partner, Ana exclaimed “Eureka!” when she heard Soraya sing a stunning version of the Tina Turner hit Help and promptly left the Sly Edge band. That was in 1986. Together, they made one hit after another, tagged as “the country’s first and premier pop-rock duo.” They produced four CDs, one of which was released in Japan; and another in Singapore, Malaysia and Jakarta. Their original song Heartbreak topped the charts in Southeast Asia where they did shows (and also in the US and Australia).

Along the way, they harvested trophies from the Awit Awards, FAMAS, the Philippine Movie Press Club’s Star Awards and the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA). It was Ana who composed their winning songs, some of which were found “disturbing” by self-appointed vanguards of public morality, such as Babae which was banned by FM stations.

Today, Ana just laughs about it, especially since the music scene is packed full with a cacophony of sounds that are just that — sound — and not having any meaning at all, and others have lyrics found unfit for public consumption.

“Why was Babae banned?” Ana asked. “Well, because of the lyrics,” quoting a mild “printable” line that goes:...mga babae, tayo ba’y sadyang pang-kama lang...? Some lines carry, well, four-letter “unmentionables.” “Did you know that Babae was written by Ka Arteng, an NPA? I had to see him in the mountains to ask his permission for me to sing that song.”

For three years, Ana and Soraya hosted the Headbangers segment of Eat, Bulaga! And then, they simply disappeared.

So where did they go?

“I married a Dutch,” said Soraya who is a deadringer for supermodel Naomi Campbell. “His name is Aernout Tierrie. I met him during my and Ana’s stint at the Cosmo Bar (defunct, used to be at Greenhills). He was brought there by my friend,” she added with a laugh, “he fell in love with me at first hearing. He’s a wonderful man, engaged in high-voltage-cable business. After we got married, he moved to the Philippines for good.”

Soraya and Aernout have a son, Patrick, 13. She owns and manages the Holland Tulips flower shop which has outlets all over Metro Manila and one in Cebu. (Note: For inquiries, call the shop’s head office at 807-7854 and 809-2435.)

“Me?” said Ana. “I was frustrated so I quit the business. My artistry was being compromised and I didn’t like it.”

A testing officer at TESDA, Ana is into mining.

“But I never completely turned my back on music,” she qualified. “I continued to write songs, one of them Count Your Blessings which was the theme song of the Carlo J. Caparas movie about the kidnapping of Cory Quirino. I also tried going solo and I called myself Ana’s Fire.”

Thank heavens they thought of reuniting.

Ana and Soraya — Ebony and Ivory — make beautiful music not solo but together, don’t they?

(Note: One Night Only is produced by Ace Entertainment, Inc., with Nilo Santos as special guest. For tickets, call 401-6385 or 0922-8172103. Showtime is 8:30 p.m.)

Red Lions roar in sweet victory

When the San Beda Red Lions beat Jose Rizal University’s Heavy Bombers last week to bag the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) championship, more than 10,000 Bedans, half of the number that watched the game at the Big Dome, rushed to Mendiola Street for a big celebration.

“It was a roaring celebration,” reported Funfare’s sports correspondent Nap Gutierrez.

Fr. Matt de Jesus, San Beda rector, said a thanksgiving Mass in which he paid tribute to the team’s coaching staff led by Frankie Lim and acknowledged the continuous support of Manny V. Pangilinan.

“After the Mass,” said Nap, “the traditional bonfire started amidst spectacular 20-minute fireworks. Food and drinks were served, more than enough for 6,000 people.”

MVP Sam Ekwe and King Lion Pong Escobal played their final year with San Beda, so there were posters on campus screaming, “Thank you, Sam. Thank you, Pong.”

Added Nap, “Pong is the most valuable player in the San Beda line-up. He has been part of all three championships since 2006.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph or at entphilstar@yahoo.com)

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