Ely bounces back

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo -

Almost two months after the rudely-interrupted reunion concert of the Eraserheads at The Fort, Taguig City, vocalist Ely Buendia is beautifully bouncing back after surviving angioplasty, his second in barely two years.

“I’m back to normal,” Ely told Funfare in an exclusive interview at the beauty parlor owned by his partner-manager Diane Ventura in BF Homes, Parañaque City, “although I was told by my doctor to take it easy for a few more weeks. I am taking my medicines and exercising, just walking and nothing more strenuous than that.”

The first time Ely underwent an angioplasty was in January last year when he suffered chest pains and breathing difficulty after a concert in Laguna. Last Aug. 30, he suffered the same symptoms, forcing the concert organizer to discontinue the E-Heads’ much-awaited reunion concert after they parted ways six years ago. The three other members were Raimund Marasigan, Buddy Zabala and Marcus Adoro.

“No,” clarified Diane. “Ely didn’t suffer a heart attack. He didn’t undergo a heart bypass, only another angioplasty.”

“The process was actually preventive,” explained Ely who went through extreme pressure at the time due to the punishing rehearsals and the death of his mother two days before the concert. “The doctors detected a blockage developing in my artery so they decided to do another angioplasty. It runs in our family. Not only my mom but several other relatives have a heart ailment.”

The trooper that he is, Ely proceeded with the concert (the show must go on, as the showbiz adage goes) so as not to disappoint the estimated 60,000 fans who showed up, nevertheless describing that critical period as “a celebration of my mom’s life.”

Still thin (his weight is down to 145 lbs.) and visibly convalescent, Ely said, “My mom wouldn’t have wanted the concert cancelled or postponed. She was an E-Heads fan; she was the one who encouraged me to join the band and she supported me all the way. She even wanted to watch our concert even while she was in the hospital recovering from surgery. What followed was a difficult period. I was performing while the wake for my mom was going on.”

Told that there’s a clamor by fans for the E-Heads to mount another “reunion” concert, this time uninterrupted, Ely said, “Why not? But for sure not this year.” Coming soon is the quartet’s reunion album, recorded “live” during that fateful Aug. 30, to be released by Sony BMG before the end of the year.

But he felt that the Aug. 30 concert was complete as it was, never mind if during the intermission came the grim announcement that he was rushed to the hospital and the concert had to be cut short.

“We sang 15 of our songs during the first part and that was good enough.” said Ely.

The concert was also a chance for Ely and the other E-Heads guys to let bygones be bygones.

“Raimund, Buddy and Marcus were very supportive,” said Diane. “When Ely was in the hospital, they visited every day,” in the same breath denying the rumor that she and Ely were having “differences.”

In the meantime, while Ely is recovering he is playing dad to eight-year-old son Eon to the hilt. Ely’s heir apparent, Eon was humming in the background throughout this interview.

“I plan to peform for as long as I can,” said Ely. “Music is my whole life.”

Briefly noted

• Tempo Entertainment editor Nestor Cuartero has just come out with a book titled At Large, At Leisure, which is a collection of essays mostly published in the Manila Bulletin’s Sunday magazine Panorama. One of the 21 books published by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House (USTPH) and launched last September in time for the International Book Fair at the Mall of Asia’s SMX Convention Center, At Large, At Leisure is useful especially to journalism students, available at UST Bookstore and selected National Bookstore branches.

• Last Oct. 25, Christian Bautista performed before an SRO crowd at the DXO Club Esplanade in Singapore. “This is the first time we got a well-known Filipino singer and I am amazed at the turn-out,” Christian’s manager Carlo Orosa quoted Esplanade owner Adrian Khi as saying. Supported by Western Union and Warner Music Singapore, the event was covered by Channel News Asia. Among those in the audience were Miss Singapore-International Genecia Luo and Simon Nasser (Warner Music Singapore managing director for International Department). Christian sang his hits, including The Way You Look at Me and his latest, The One Who Won My Heart, which was No. 1 in the MYX hit charts for several weeks.

(E-mail reactions at [email protected] or at [email protected])

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