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Pilita’s star-studded musical collaborations

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 10:30 AM August 16, 2014

CORRALES. Can teach younger singers about breathing, phrasing and performing flair.

Pilita Corrales is turning 75 on Aug. 22—but, as she proves in her 10-track recording, “Duets,” she can still teach singers more than half her age about breathing, proper phrasing and performing flair.

Like Barbra Streisand (in “Back to Brooklyn”), there are occasional raspy cracks in those otherwise pristine pipes (especially when she strains for high notes), but her vocal control is just as seamless as when she first sang “Sapagka’t Kami’y Tao Lamang” about four decades ago!

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Corrales’ latest album is a collector’s item, not only because she sings some of OPM’s most enduring tunes, but also because she performs them with their original interpreters—who are as iconic as the songs themselves!

Monster hits

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The result is a potpourri of musical treats that gathers the exceptional Basil Valdez (“Kapantay ay Langit”), Regine Velasquez-Alcasid (“You Are My Song”), Sarah Geronimo (“Forever’s Not Enough”), Martin Nievera (“Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin”), Vic Sotto (“Ipagpatawad Mo”) and the much-missed Sharon Cuneta (“Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko”) singing their monster hits with La Pilita—with mixed results:

Corrales’ sweeping cover of “Kapantay Ay Langit” is irresistible because, other than the gorgeous musical and vocal arrangements of Arnold Buena and Babsie Molina, it also includes the popular love song’s seldom-heard intro and Pilita’s sumptuous melodic counterpointing with Basil—with soul to boot.

Sharon and Pilita sing “Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko” with warm and saccharine relish as they tweak the tune into a tale about a mother and her grown daughter finding comfort in each other. Regine, Martin, Joey Albert (“Tell Me”) and Chad Borja (“Usahay”) also deliver appropriately reverential renditions.

Unfortunately, Pilita’s voice doesn’t always complement the vocal quality or performing  style of her singing partners, like Vic Sotto in “Ipagpatawad Mo.” Still, it’s great to hear the singer-actor’s deeply resonant baritone in a newly minted recording, because it transports music lovers to the swinging ’70s, when Sotto scored one hit song after another as the lead singer of VST & Co.

Spanish verse

Though well-intentioned, the songstress’ Spanish verse in “Pagdating ng Panahon” is as clumsily incorporated as the awkward harmonizing of The Company.

But, the biggest misstep is mis-taken by Sarah Geronimo, who “oversings” her already “big” ballad, “Forever’s Not Enough,” with kitschily unsuitable curlicues, while Pilita plays catch-up as she struggles with its difficult sections. When things get as “sonically busy” as this, it’s wise to remember that less is always more!

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Sarah should take her cue from Regine, who can sing circles around anybody who performs a duet with her. (Recall Regine’s duets with Mandy Moore in “Cry,” Russell Watson in “Live With Somebody You Love,” Alicia Keys in “If I Ain’t Got You,” Jacky Cheung in “In Love With You,” Brian McKnight in “Whenever You Call,” David Hasselhoff in “More Than Words Can Say,” Gloc-9 in “Takip Silim” and Christopher de Leon in “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”)

Lucky for them, Asia’s Songbird has always been an exceptionally generous collaborator, because she “listens” to her singing partners and adjusts to their strengths and weaknesses—she never “competes,” because she knows she doesn’t have to. By letting them shine on their own, she soars even higher!

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TAGS: Duets, Music, OPM, pilita corrales
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