Saturday, October 23, 2010

NEWS: Kuh's 30 all-time favorite songs

 (Source: Ricardo F. Lo, 

Where were you when Dito Ba?, a George Canseco composition, hit the airlanes in 1980?

It seems only yesterday but that was, would you believe, three decades ago. I first heard that song sung with so much feeling by Kuh Ledesma at a concert in a venue that has disappeared from the landscape since then. With us in the group was our 15-year-old neighbor who is now --- how times flies, indeed! --- a grandfather.

Dito Ba? has put Kuh, to paraphrase a line from it, sa dapat n’yang kalagyan sa ilalim ng araw --- at the top. Dito Ba? made Kuh the supersinger that she is now, just as Di Na Natuto, another OPM (Original Pilipino Music, composed by The APO), did the same to Gary Valenciano.

Since then, Kuh has gone through the roller-coaster of life in the public eye, she hasn’t hidden anything (how could she?) and hasn’t made any apologies for anything, and she admits having survived it all because of her strong Christian faith.

This year, Kuh, the former so-called Ice Queen (who has melted into a warm and caring person), is celebrating her 30th anniversary in showbiz possibly with a new album and a new movie she herself is producing next year. Meanwhile, Kuh is set to embark on a series of US shows --- on Nov. 20 at Atlantis Grand Ballroom in Reno, Nevada, with Stephen Bishop and Dan Hill; and on Nov. 27 in Horseshoe and Hammond, Indiana, also with Bishop, David Pomeranz and John Ford Coley.

To help her mark “30,” Funfare asked Kuh to make a list of her 30 all-time favorite songs.

Said Kuh (who is one of the only four Filipinos to have sat as judge in the Miss Universe pageant, also including the late Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, Josie Natori and Emilio Yap), “I am a lover of great lyrics and that’s why I chose these songs that have always been a part of my repertoire. Let me start with my own songs written for me and/or arranged by my friends in the business.”

Here they are (sing along with Kuh):

1. DITO BA? --- It is my first ever recorded song. I will not forget how many times the words “dito ba?” kept playing back in mind when I was going to sleep after that recording.

2. AKO AY PILIPINO --- George Canseco truly wrote a masterpiece capturing the positive side of what a Filipino should be, “likas sa aking puso adhikaing kay ganda…”

3. TILL I MET YOU by Odette Quesada --- When a songwriter writes a song when in love, it will definitely flow well. I love the melody and lyrics and this song is destined to be a classic. Actually I gave Odette back Till I Met You and she came back the next year with her grandmother to ask me to interpret Till I Met You for the 6th Metro Pop. It won first place but I really didn’t like being in a contest.

4. YOUR SONG/THIS ONE’S FOR YOU, arranged by Toto Gentica --- It’s a medley that doesn’t sound like a medley and is still a most requested song in my concerts.
5. I THINK I’M IN LOVE --- This is memorable to me because I was pregnant with Isabella when I recorded this. I remember that it was different recording it when I was pregnant because it felt like there was a lump in my throat.

6. LONG, LONG TIME AGO --- This was one of the songs that Odette Quesada gave me together with Till I Met You and this is what I included in my Just You, Just Me album and I gave Odette back the Till I Met You song.

7. I CRY --- This song is from my album Precious and I had to twist Odette’s arm for this because she was about to release her own album with this song in it. I Cry was just a beautiful song and I just had to record it.

8. BAG YOU by Grace Nono --- It’s a unique song but haunting. Very Grace Nono.

9. SINONG BALIW by Mon Del Rosario --- I first heard this song 25 years ago on the radio and called Ryan Cayabyab right away to do a Bohemian rhapsody style arrangement and how I got floored when he made me hear his arrangement. Up to today, this arrangement can bring thunderous applause and even the American audience appreciates it.

10. ONE MORE TRY --- A song based on a real life experience by the writer herself, Cecille Azarcon Inocentes. It inspires us to give love another try. And the world needs more songs like this than the “set me free, why don’t you babe” kind of songs. A line from One More Try goes “it really is quite tough when love is not enough…”

And here are Kuh’s favorites from other singers that she would love to record someday:

11. MAHAWI MAN ANG ULAP by Sharon Cuneta --- The melody and lyrics make my hair stand. It has an innocence to it that can bring out one’s vulnerability. “Sundan ang bahaghari sa kanyang hangganan… baka du’oy sakali ulap mo’y magpaalam…”

12. YOU ARE MY SONG by Regine Velasquez --- I love this Martin Nievera song. I’m sure in love si Martin when he wrote this. I sang this live in Monaco with Grace Nono chanting. It was amazing.

13. HOPELESS ROMANTIC by Ric Segreto and written by Odette Quesada --- It’s just a well-written song and the melody is so easy to remember though I am not a hopeless romantic anymore. I just like the song.

14. IKAW by Sharon Cuneta --- George Canseco wrote masterpieces and he was passionate about the love of his life. This was for his late wife. It inspires me to sing this song for a special someone.

15. IF I COULD by Barbra Streisand --- I heard Barbra Streisand sing this song and it made me remember Isabella and made me cry again. I thought that I could stop myself from crying after my separation and then I heard this song “ If I could I would try to shield your innocence from time….”

16. THE CLIMB by Miley Cyrus --- This is one of the rare pop songs that I fell in love with recently that talks about persevering to achieve one’s dream, one step at a time, “….. ain’t about how fast I get there.”

17. SOMEWHERE --- I sang this in President Cory Aquino’s necrological service. The song talks about a special place where we longed to be one day - this place is heaven.

And here are Kuh’s other favorites are:

18. USED TO BE by Stevie Wonder --- A powerful song and it always inspires the audience that the Lyrics can make them listen.

“Someone tried to say it and we nailed Him to the cross, I guess it’s still the way it used to be .“

19. DUST IN THE WIND by Kansas --- It talks about the truth about life that it is fleeting and it is written that we are dust and from dust we will return and not all the money in the world can protect us and stop our passing.

20. OVERCOME by Isabella --- I am amazed at how Isabella wrote this song in less than 30 minutes and I can relate to what the song is talking about “… from ashes love has found its way.”

21. ALL THE HEAVENS --- “Let your face (Jesus) shine on us so the world will know you live.” When I heard that line I just had to sing it.

22. ABOVE ALL --- One of my favorite inspirational songs. It is about how a sovereign and powerful God who owns everything in this world humbled himself to die on the cross to save the world from condemnation “like a rose trampled on the ground, you took the fall and thought of me above all.”

23. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE --- This is also so well-written. It talks about how amazing it would be to come face to face with our Lord Jesus. Only those who truly have a personal relationship with Him will be able to relate to this beautiful song. “Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall, will I sing Hallelujah will I be able to speak at all.”

24. THE NEARNESS OF YOU --- You can’t sing this without giving it all your emotions or else it will sound corny. I find this one of the most romantic standards and I love performing it.

25. KILLING ME SOFTLY --- A well-written song and always well- applauded no matter how many times I sing this.

26. THE ROSE by Bette Midler --- This must be written by someone who has gone through many painful experiences in love. Another poetry set into music…“just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snow – lies the seed with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose.”

27. ON MY WAY TO YOU by Barbra Streisand --- I am such a lover of well written songs. This one is a real winner when it comes to touching the hearts of those in love. I will certainly include this in my next album… “if I had changed a single day what went amiss or went astray, I may have never found my way to you…”

28. MEMORY from Cats --- I only came to really understand this song one evening when I was all alone a long, long time ago when I was still single. T.S. Elliot truly wrote a powerful novel and this song was inspired by it, a song about being lonely and left alone, almost forgotten… “touch me it’s so easy to leave me all alone with the memory of my days in the sun, if you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is…”

29. KAY GANDA NG ATING MUSIKA --- This song inspires us to love our very own music. I always say that when it’s a well-written OPM, it becomes a bigger hit compared to a foreign song…“Kay ganda ng ating musika, ito ay atin, sariling atin…”

30. THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM --- How can I not love this when I am such a dreamer and I dream big. In my capacity it is almost impossible to achieve but I have learned that God is the dream-giver. And because God gives us the vision and dream, He will give the provision. It is His way to keep us closer to Him…“to be far better than you are… this is my quest to follow that star no matter how hopeless no matter how far…”

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