Kuh Ledesma & Basil Valdez’s ‘most unforgettable’ Valentine

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Kuh Ledesma & Basil Valdezâs âmost unforgettableâ Valentine
It’s been awhile since they last worked together through concerts here and abroad like Socorro, Bakit Mo Inaawitan si Basilio?, Devoted and the tribute concert to George Canseco Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan which toured the US more than a decade ago.

MANILA, Philippines — Kuh Ledesma is teaming up with fellow V-Day show regular Basil Valdez on Feb. 14 for an intimate dinner concert titled My Unforgettable Valentine at Dusit Thani Manila.

The OPM icons will not only sing their signature songs but also pay tribute to French composer Michel Legrand (The Windmills of Your Mind, What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life?, etc.) whose past concerts here Kuh had guested in.

“One of the greatest composers of our time, Michel Legrand, passed away recently. It’s so timely, his songs are very romantic, they’re all beautiful love songs, we’re going to pay tribute to him,” said Kuh. “And of course, we’re going to sing our hits.” 

Hits such as Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, Kastilyong Buhangin, Ngayon at Kailanman, You for Basil, while for Kuh, the likes of “I Think I’m In Love, which is always requested every Valentine’s. Also there are some songs of composer Cecile Azarcon that I recorded but had not released to the radio — I’d like to be able to do that here.”

While it’s been awhile since Kuh last shared the stage with Basil via concerts like Socorro, Bakit Mo Inaawitan si Basilio?, Devoted and the tribute concert to George Canseco, Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, which toured the US more than a decade ago, their working friendship has been going strong for almost four decades now.

Basil recalled that he first saw Kuh perform in the ’70s, when out of curiousity he would go to the Alibi Bar in the Regent of Manila to watch the gigs of Kuh with her group then, Music and Magic. For Kuh, she didn’t get to watch Basil’s concerts at the time because she couldn’t yet afford a ticket.

Before they knew it though, they would team up for the very first time in the ballet musical Rama Hari in the early ’80s. More shows, here and abroad, followed.

Kuh recalled dropping a joke about her long and enduring friendship with Basil in one concert: “Sabi ko, ito naman kasi si Basil di pa ako linigawan eh, nagkamali tuloy ako ng pinakasalan (laughs). Tumawa yung audience, ewan ko kung tumawa si Basil.” Basil joked back that he has no comment.

That’s just how at ease or at home they are in each other’s company, but when asked if they had discovered anything new about each other, Basil admitted, “Mas lumalalim siguro yung pagkakakilala namin sa Panginoon at this time. Parang we’re giving all the glory to Him that we reached this time. Maybe I’m not too vocal about it, she’s being very vocal about it, but we’re at a level na parang nagagawan na namin ng paraan yung mga kanta namin na maging mas... double meaning na siya.”

Like every time he sings Ikaw, the last song he recorded for Canseco, the late songwriter of numerous OPM classics, he said, “Napakalalim ng kanta na yan, it’s inspirational.”

Basil is also aware that Ikaw is a favorite song of President Rodrigo Duterte. “Yes, lagi niyang kinakanta. So sana makita (ni Pres. Duterte) yung relasyon sa Panginoon (in the song). I was told by my niece who is a nun that they used the song for retreats. Because (as the song goes) ‘Ikaw ang bigay ng Maykapal.’ God the Father gave Jesus Christ to all of us. That’s the first line palang, very deep.” 

For Basil, who recently celebrated 40 years of being a solo recording artist, the songs of Canseco are one reason he has lasted this long in the industry. The balladeer said, “I was just so blessed to have met George Canseco and Ryan Cayabyab. Si George Canseco, I cornered 25 of his songs. Ryan Cayabyab up to now is my musical director and he’s now National Artist.”

Reflecting on her own career, Kuh — who will have her turn to mark her 40th year in the industry with a book and a concert by the end of the year — said that a secret to staying power is: “We work hard, that’s the basic thing. For me, I’ve been blessed to have worked with great people, directors to writers, some of the best in our country. You really have to be relentless in pursuing your dreams to continue.

“When God gives a talent, we should not bury it. It’s actually a sin to God and laziness. Kahit minsan pagod ka na at hina-hire ka, sabi nga sa Bible, do not turn anyone who asks from you, minsan more than you know what is expected of you to sing, because, for me, it’s flattering when people asks for more. I do it, as long as I can.”

Nowadays, if they hear their songs being revived or utilized as contest or audition pieces during singing shows, they feel flattered. Said Basil, “Natutuwa ako when they’re singing it, kaya nga di ako nag-ju-judge (in singing contests) because they’re all good.” 

Meanwhile, inspired by the title of their Valentine’s Day show, The STAR asked them about their “most unforgettable Valentine” yet. Basil said he hopes the show would be his most unforgettable Valentine’s. Kuh, on the other hand, said, “I remember one unforgettable Valentine, it was in the PICC Reception Hall, and I sang Down With Love. I just had a break-up at that time. So, my friend said, are you angry? Are you angry at love? But actually, it was just to poke fun at love. When we are bitter, sometimes we like to turn our backs on whatever relationship, but I’m not singing this for the show.”

She continued, “That happened more than 25 years ago. Last time (I felt bitter) was about 19 years ago, when I got separated from my husband. Well, hindi naman bitter, talagang angry. I don’t like staying bitter. Bitter kasi is matagal. May mga bitter na nag-remarry na pinag-uusapan pa yung past na galit sila. No, I’m not (like that). I know how to move on. First of all, it’s not healthy for anyone that we keep the anger to ourselves. We have to let go of that and give it to God. 

“Songs (can be therapeutic), definitely. They can really bring across a good message. That’s why it’s important for us singers to sing positive songs,” the pop diva ended.

(For tickets, call 0917-8139065 and 0929-2868895 or visit www.kuhledesma.net.)





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