Hale sings Kundiman

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil () - November 6, 2009 - 12:00am

I do not know who chose the name but I read somewhere that Hale became Hale because while searching for names for the then new band, the group found a word that means strong and healthy. Time has proven that it got that right because Hale has over the past five years remained not only healthy but also very successful.

Hale is made up of Champ Luipio on vocals and guitars; Roll Martinez on vocals and guitars; Sheldon Gellada on bass; and Paolo Santiago on drums. Champ is the son of Nonoy Tan, once upon a time also frontman of a boy group, Wadab of the hit tune Habang Tumatagal, Tumitibay and Metropop festival grand prize winner for Kahit Lalala Ay Pwede Na.

Champ inherited his dad’s songwriting prowess. He has written and sang solo most of Hale’s hit singles. The band has previously released three albums. These are the following: The platinum-selling debut Hale with the memorable The Day You Said Goodnight, Kahit Pa, Kung Wala Ka, Blue Sky and the career-making Broken Sonnet; Twilight followed with Waltz, Hide and Seek, Shooting Star and The Ballad Of.

Last year brought about Above, Over and Beyond which contains Pitong Araw, Leap of Faith, Over and Over (And Over Again) and Sandali Na Lang. This CD also includes Sundown, which is now better known as the close-up jingle. The latter cemented Hale’s status as media celebrities as only the very famous are usually asked to endorse consumer products.

Champ, who incidentally is not called Champ because he is nicknamed Champion. It is because he was once called Tsampoy, after those delicious, sweet and salty preserved fruits from China. This Champoy went once more on a songwriting binge a year ago and the results are found in the band’s latest album titled Kundiman, where he composed seven of the eight songs included. Martinez wrote the other one, titled Yakap.

Now it would have been totally far-out, mind blowing and even shocking if we had found Hale indeed singing Filipino kundimans in the CD. They don’t. The furthest they went into that direction was to include a few notes from Nicanor Abelardo’s Nasaan Ka Irog in the intro to the first cut and current hit single Bahay Kubo. That however, effectively set the stage for what is to follow.

Kundiman, like the songs of old, is sweet, sentimental and most of the time, broken-hearted. “Pag di makita/ ang iyong langit/ tumingin ka sa ulap,” Hale sings in Ulap. “Sumpa ko na aking itatanim/ walang balakid/ walang makakapigil/ ang iyong pangalan/ sigaw ng damdamin/ hindi alam kung saan tutungo/ kung wala ka.” The songs are pop rock. But the sad melodies, the big Tagalog words and the Kung Hindi Man sentiments easily fit into the kundiman mold.

Come to think of it though, that description also easily fits emo, the pop-rock category that local fans believe Hale’s music falls into. Kundiman is made for melancholy daydreaming and I am sure a lot of Pinoys will love to do just that while listening to the album. My only complaint here is the CD is too short. Only eight cuts. But maybe that is how the pain of heartbreak should be, short and bittersweet.

All the songs were arranged by Hale. The group also co-produced with Angee Rozul and Monty Macalino. Other titles included are Kalesa, Aso’t Pusa, Magkaibang Mundo, Bulalakaw and Harinawa.

MYX’s top hits

Meanwhile out there at the MYX music channel, Hale’s Bahay Kubo video remains in the Top Ten but is at present playing below these hits: Tell Me Your Name, the Jose Mari Chan cover by Christian Bautista from the album Romance Revisited; Kasalanan with the Risque video by 6Cyclemind; Diamond Shotgun by Chicosci; Higante by the much lamented Francis M and ex-E-Head Ely Buendia;

Bangon by Rico Blanco; Bahay Kubo by Hale; Wala Kang Katulad by Sponge Cola; Simulan Mo Na by Pedicab; You Make Me Feel by Kyla; Lapit by Yeng Constantino; Dahil Minahal Mo Ako by Sarah Geronimo; Up Up Down Down by Krissy & Ericka; You by Rhian Ramos; You and I by Richard Poon; Hiling by Silent Sanctuary; Misis Fely Nimfa ang Pangalan by Itchyworms; Physical by Hi-C; Gucci Gang by Duster; Pause by Kjwan; and Balita by Gloc-9 and Gabby Alipe.

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