Martin as Gary; Gary as Martin
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil () - September 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Martin Nievera just made one of his best recordings ever. And it is a Gary Valenciano song. No, not Gary V’s Hang On. Nobody does that Tats Faustino composition better than Gary and Martin’s take on this song is just fine. Neither is it the classic Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos written by Nonong Buencamino. Martin did not take a crack at that one.

The song Martin recorded is Sana Maulit Muli, which Gary V himself wrote with wife Angeli. Martin’s version is right up there with his most memorable renditions. Think Kahit Isang Saglit and You Are My Song. Every bit of it is goose-pimple-inducing drama.

Now what on earth is Martin doing with a Gary V song? Aren’t they supposed to be rivals who would never touch one another’s materials lest they invite comparison? Well, that was so 20 and more years ago. Times change. Maturity has endowed these two with enough wisdom for them to see each other as individuals and as artists with their own unique qualities. They can now sing each other’s songs. They know they will do this well and the result will be new and different.

Martin’s Sana Maulit Muli is one of the cuts in As 1. The album is a first of its kind released in the Philippines. It has Martin and Gary in one duet, the title cut Together (As One) and then singing each other’s hits. Martin pulls out all the stops as he sings Sana Maulit Muli, Reaching Out, Hang On and a very contrite Take Me Out Of The Dark. In contrast Gary lays back and takes a more pop, contemporary approach with his turns in Be My Lady, How Can I, You Are My Song and Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin.

The rest are previously released songs, but are among their best. So I am sure nobody will mind getting new copies of these in the As 1 CD. These are Kahit Isang Saglit and Ikaw Ang Pangarap by Martin and Tayong Dalawa and Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos by Gary. It is noticeable that although dance is one of Gary’s strong points, no attempt was made to have something like Jump For Joy in the album. Just as well. We would have lost Martin in the shuffle with that one.

Maybe he will try dancing in As 1, the concert. This show is the reason for the release of the album. The two pop icons will perform for the first time in a full-blown concert. They are both great singers with large bags of hits. They are also known for total dedication to their art. So the outcome of this performance should make for superb entertainment.

Martin and Gary share the directing chores for the show. The musical directors are Louie Ocampo, who is closely identified with Martin and Mon Faustino, who has done the same for most of Gary’s shows these past years.

As 1, the concert, will be held at the MOA Concert Grounds at SM Mall of Asia on Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City on Sept. 19, 8 p.m. Tickets are now available in TicketNet with tel. no. 911-5555; TicketWorld, 891-9999; Manila Genesis, 706-2170 and 470-1672; Studio V, 726-4614 and 724-9020. Ticket prices are P6,000 for Titanium; P3,000 for Platinum; P1,500 for Gold; P750 for Silver; and P300 for Bronze.

You find those prices too steep? Go instead for the CD. The As 1 album costs only P395 and it is a real keeper.

And now here is news about another local talent, and it is one who is making a name for herself abroad. Charmaine Clamor, a dusky beauty who is America’s foremost Filipina jazz vocalist is in town. She will be launching her album Jazzipino with a showcase at the Podium in Ortigas Center on Sept. 18, 6 p.m.

Charmaine has a sultry, smoky style that has been described as a combination of jazz legends Julie London and Sarah Vaughn. What makes her very interesting is that she uses this bedroom voice to sing kundiman songs. Check her out on Friday and get a thrill with how she treats Dahil Sa ‘yo, O Ilaw, Lahat Ng Araw and other classics.

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