Rockers embrace their inner retro crooners
For their first collaborative album, “Happy Together,” Kean Cipriano of Callalily and Eunice Jorge of Gracenote ditched their rocker personas to do some straightforward, feel-good renditions of classics from the 1960s and 1970s, which they hope will appeal to music lovers of all ages.
Kean never thought of working on an all-covers record—much less one that features works by music legends like James Taylor, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Frankie Valli and Paul McCartney: “Islands in the Stream,” “Never My Love,” “My Love,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You…”
“This is new for me. I did this with my folks—parents, uncles, aunts—in mind,” Kean told the Inquirer at a recent press con. “I always get asked to sing songs by these artists during get-togethers. So, I thought, ‘Why not reexpress their works in our own way?”
But that’s easier said than done, especially for Kean, who admitted that he didn’t even know about “Islands in the Stream” prior to recording. The main challenge for him and Eunice, Kean pointed out, was reimagining the songs without ruining them.
“These songs are already great so we were not sure how to work with them…We spent lots of late nights brainstorming and discussing possible arrangements,” the 27-year-old band vocalist said. “We [made sure] we didn’t destroy their essence.”
And who better to judge their versions than those who listened to them growing up? “My parents are two of the most honest people you’ll ever meet,” Kean quipped. “Well, they had no objections!”
But that’s underselling it a bit. The 10-track “Happy Together,” released by Universal Records, is actually an enjoyable collection. The versions are buoyant and delivered with just the right amount of spunk. At times, Kean and Eunice’s pop-rock sensibilities still surface.
And without the usual rock-star posturing, Kean sounds especially good, restrained and sensitive in covers of Lobo’s “How Can I Tell Her” and Rod Stewart’s “You’re in My Heart.” His vocals—which sometimes gets buried in the bedlam of Callalily songs—complement the acoustic instrumentation.
“My energy’s focus is on singing, more than on performing,” Kean said. “I’m showing a different side as a musician. You can’t just box yourself in one particular genre, because you won’t evolve and enjoy life.”
Eunice, meanwhile, is delightful in her swaying renditions of “To Sir, With Love” and “My Love,” in which she manages to sound whimsical without compromising her pop-punk edge. “I get to show more of my feminine side in this album,” said the vocalist who also plays the guitar, drums, piano and even the violin, which is one of the defining elements of her music.
Asked if she sees herself working with Kean again on a similar project, Eunice said: “Why not? I’m very much at ease with him. We learn a lot from each other and discover new music. Everything is free-flowing.”
Kean wishes that the album will bridge a connection between his and Eunice’s fans and their parents. “This is something that our supporters can enjoy with their parents,” Kean said. “I also hope that when parents hear this album, they will realize that they can go to our gigs with their kids.”
To drumbeat the album, Kean and Eunice will have a concert, likewise titled “Happy Together,” on Friday, Sept. 19, 8 p.m., at the Music Museum in Greenhills, San Juan. Tickets are available at SM Tickets, TicketWorld and Music Museum; call 4702222, 8919999 or 7216726.
‘Boyz II Men Live in Manila’
Pop-R&B group Boyz II Men takes center stage on Sept. 17 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The one-night show from Ovation Productions dubbed “Boyz II Men Live in Manila 2014” brings back the all-male vocal sensations from Philadelphia, four years after their last Philippine gig in August 2010.
Boyz II Men’s hits include “I’ll Make Love to You,” “End of the Road,” “On Bended Knee,” “Water Runs Dry” and “One Sweet Day.”
Tickets are available at TicketNet outlets and at www.ticketnet.com.ph.
‘Shane Filan Live in Manila’
Shane Filan, formerly of the boy band Westlife, will return to Manila for a solo concert on Oct. 1 at the World Trade Center Manila. He will perform songs from his new solo album “You and Me,” as well as Westlife’s hits. Tickets are available at SM Tickets, TicketNet and TicketWorld.
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