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Entertainment

After two years of pandemic life, Basil and Jamie to bring ‘love and light’ in concert

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
After two years of pandemic life, Basil and Jamie to bring âlove and lightâ in concert
Resorts World Manila is becoming one of the choice venues for the stage comeback of music artists, among them Basil Valdez and Jamie Rivera in their joint concert titled Love and Light on April 30 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, 8 p.m.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Resorts World Manila is becoming one of the main choice venues for the stage comeback of music artists, among them Basil Valdez and Jamie Rivera in their joint concert titled Love and Light on April 30 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, 8 p.m.

This is the third time that the OPM icon and the inspirational diva are sharing the stage after the first Love and Light concert early 2020 and a provincial tour.

For their upcoming Love and Light repeat, the balladeer behind the classics Ngayon at Kailanman, Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, Paano Ba ang Mangarap and Muling Buksan Ang Puso, will render most of the love songs and will pay tribute to four great Filipino composers — George Canseco, Gerry Paraiso, Ryan Cayabyab and Willie Paraiso.

Jamie, the singer behind such inspirational hits Tell The World of His Love, We Are All God’s Children and love songs Hey, It’s Me, Awit Para Sa’Yo and I’ve Fallen For You, will perform a repertoire of uplifting numbers.

In an interview with The STAR, the two concert veterans couldn’t wait to perform before a live audience after two years.

Basil said, “It’s really such a blessing. In the past two years, I’ve really lost some dear friends and (members of the family), so mahirap talaga. This is why it is a blessing to do something like this, to have love and light, and to be working with Jamie.”

He further said, “The music industry, pinadapa talaga (it was brought to its knees) during the pandemic. I’m not really into online performances parang napaka-impersonal so I just kept on praying and hoping that one day, bumalik na ang ganito. Maski itong (press event na face-to-face) nakaka-touch. Parang ang sarap ng may audience kahit naka-mask.”

For the past two years, Basil said that “most of the time, I was really home and sometimes waiting for my friends and people who might need my help. I’m not really used to online shows. It’s such a pleasure to see (people) in person. That’s what I’m used to after 50 years in the business.”

As for Jamie, she said it was an honor to perform alongside Basil. “Why is it my honor to perform with him? It’s because I’ve been a fan of his since I was young — Basil Valdez and Leah Navarro. Nakikipag-away ako sa mga kapatid ko ‘pag nililipat nila ang radio kapag Basil Valdez and Leah Navarro. I wanted to be the female version of Basil Valdez. That was the packaging (I aimed for)… And our songs jibe,” she shared.

“And the image of Sir Basil, ang linis-linis niya kaya sabi ko, ganyan ang gusto ko. That’s why when I was asked if you want (to team up with) Sir Basil, I said yes, of course!”

To which Basil quipped in response: “Yun yung kinatatakutan ko yung image of goodness (laughs). Makasalanan kasi ako (laughs).”

Meanwhile, Basil admitted that it was a struggle to return to fighting form during the first months of the pandemic. “During the first few months without performances in 2020, you were focused on how to be safe so we forgot to sing. After six months, it was hard to sing because nakagarahe ka. It’s just like a machine. I would vocalize every other day, every day namamaos naman ako.”

These past two weeks before the show, his preparation had been singing his songs every other day. He also does brisk walking on most days as part of his breathing exercises.

Basil said, “If I could only approximate the kind of performances I did two years before the pandemic, I’m still so blessed.”

Meanwhile, besides Love and Light, he’s been offered six performances in the US although he admitted that he’s unsure “if he’s ready after two years because I’m scared. Baka dun ako mahawa or something.”

As for Jamie, she also acknowledged the virus is still very much around, so her preparation is more on keeping herself healthy and in good form after two years of being less active.

“I’m not really nervous (to perform live again), it’s more of excitement — that’s what I’m feeling because after the pandemic, this is such a celebration that we are here, we were able to help a lot of people also… That’s why it’s a celebration of love and light after darkness. Because ang hirap ng dinaanan natin sa totoo lang.”

Resorts World Manila has also stressed that Alert Level 1 protocols will be strictly enforced during the show.

Given the themes of their concert, The STAR asked how they coped during the pandemic and what miracles they experienced in their lives during this period.

For Jamie, she considers it a miracle when she was able to pull through a very stressful time and manage two households that got sick of COVID.

“Miracle for me that I was able to handle everyone, miracle sa akin na lahat sila napa-vaccinate ko, napa-booster. That in itself was a blessing from the Lord,” shared Jamie.

Her child was also able to come home from abroad without any problems at the height of the quarantines. “So, very thankful. You cannot underestimate the power of prayer, to ‘ask and you shall receive.’ Of course, hindi lahat ng bagay ibibigay ni Lord sa’yo but para sa’yo. But when He knows it’s good for you, He will give it to you.”

Basil, on the other hand, shared that during the pandemic, he made an effort to nourish his spiritual life. One of the things he considered a miracle was being able to mount a TV special that featured songs from his 2010 inspirational album Salmo: Sundin Ang Loob Mo and filmed at the St. Peter and Paul Church in Makati last Dec. 18.

“Ang feeling ko, itong two years na ‘to, the Lord has really been talking to me through the songs that I’ve performed in the past, especially my songs in Salmo na di ko naman talaga kinakanta yan eh. But when I did it last Dec. 18, wow! Di ba kung minsan yung salamin mo hinahanap mo, yun pala nasa ulo mo? Parang ganun. These songs were just in front of me all the time and I never really gave them attention before. So the Lord has really talked to me through the songs that I’ve done in the past,” he shared.

Basil continued to reflect: “Actually, ang dami na naging miracles sa buhay ko… lahat ng mga sakit ko, gumaling ako. I had some problems with my kidney (‘80s), I was healed. I had some problems with my throat (‘70s), inopera din ako. I had some problems with my spine (when I was in college). So, lahat na ito nalampasan ko.

“Ever since, it was a clear reminder from the Lord that the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh. All of these are gifts and you should acknowledge that these are gifts from Him.”

(Produced by Full House Theater Company in cooperation with NY Entourage Productions, the April 30 show at Resorts World Manila will be under the musical direction of Adonis Tabanda and directed by Frank Mamaril. Tickets to the Love and Light concert are now available at TicketWorld and SM Tickets. For inquiries, contact 0917-8728309, 0917-8239602 and 0917-6589378.)

BASIL VALDEZ

JAMIE RIVERA

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