American musician David DiMuzio posted his duet with Russian singer Anna Rabtsun on YouTube on Feb. 18.
Sounds like a United Nations peace project, but making this post-Cold War collaboration even more interesting is the song choice: “Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko,” originally recorded by Sharon Cuneta.
At press time, the duet has scored 162,114 hits on YouTube.
Rabtsun, who is trying to learn the language by singing Filipino songs, told the Inquirer in an e-mail interview: “Taos puso akong nagpapasalamat para sa mga magagandang komento. (From the bottom of my heart, I am thankful for all the beautiful comments.)”
DiMuzio remarked: “I think Filipinos are sharing the video because the song means a lot to them. Every Filipino knows it… I hope Filipinos feel proud that we spent so much time and effort on it.”
Like Rabtsun, DiMuzio said he has learned the Filipino language through songs, too. “I know hundreds by heart—including some Visayan songs.”
They may struggle with the language, but there’s something about Original Pilipino Music (OPM) that has hooked them.
Said DiMuzio: “I enjoy the flow of the language within the music. It’s different from and unique compared to the sounds of other languages.” He singled out the “ng” sound and the repetitive syllables and vowels” as fascinating, musically.
Rabtsun agreed: “Filipino songs are touching and melodic. I can feel a song’s message even if I can barely understand the lyrics. Filipinos are naturally romantic.”
“Filipinos are sweet and kind-hearted,” DiMuzio said.
DiMuzio loves performing songs by Bamboo, Rico Blanco, Gary Valenciano, Noel Cabangon, Top Suzara. Rabtsun adores Aiza Seguerra and Yeng Constantino and considers Side A her favorite band.
She walked down the aisle with the Side A ballad, “Forevermore.”
DiMuzio, who’s from North Carolina, has relocated to the country and has collaborated with a number of Filipino artists.
“I love the country’s fun-loving and carefree nature. It’s one of the best holiday destinations on the planet and I’m a good judge since I’ve traveled to 75 other countries,” he pointed out.
All for love
Asked what brought him to the Philippines, DiMuzio readily admitted: “Love. What else could make someone move to the other side of the world? Love for a girl, love for a country and love for music.”
Like DiMuzio, Rabtsun ended up in the Philippines because of romance as well.
Rabtsun met her future husband, Filipino Eric Baylosis, in the United States. When her husband decided to move back to the country, Rabtsun didn’t have to think twice about her choice. “The first time I visited, I instantly fell in love with the people and the place,” she recounted.
It was destiny, she insisted. “It’s part of God’s plan.”
It was also fated that DiMuzio and Rabtsun wound up collaborating on the viral video.
“Anna commented on one of my YouTube videos,” he recalled. “I looked up some of her videos and realized that we shared a common passion for Filipino music.”
“Working with David was fun and easy,” she related. “This song is special to me because it’s one of my husband’s favorites. Every time I sing it, I think of growing old with Eric, ang aking asawa (my husband).”