All-girl PH idol group MNL48 set to ‘leave a mark’ in first major concert

All-girl PH idol group MNL48 set to ‘leave a mark’ in first major concert

By: - Reporter
/ 12:07 AM April 03, 2019



While GB Sampedro has considerable experience directing live-music events, he admitted that “Living the Dream”—the upcoming first major show of the all-girl, sing-and-dance ensemble MNL48—presents a set of challenges unlike anything he had dealt with in the past.

The most obvious one is MNL48’s sheer number of members. The “idol group,” as its name suggests, is composed of 48 performers. Then, add nine trainees into the mix. “That’s 57 people in total!” he said at a press conference for the concert, set on April 6 at the New Frontier Theater. Call 911-5555.


“This is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, because I haven’t done a show like this before,” added GB, who also directs movies and TV shows.


He also assured fans that all the girls—aged 15 to 20—will all be given ample exposure. “Things are going to be well-distributed; we will make sure that they all get to show off their talents … Who will sing or dance at a given section will be determined by their ranks,” GB said, pertaining to the ranking system that divides the members into three groups of 16: Teams MII, NIV and L.

Since MNL48 is a local franchise of the J-Pop phenomenon, AKB48—the original group formed in Tokyo’s Akihabara district—GB said he has to follow strict standards set by Japanese producers. (AKB48 has six other sister groups overseas: JKT48 in Jakarta; BNK48 in Bangkok; SGO48 in Saigon; AKB48 Team TP in Taipei; MUM48 in Mumbai; and AKB48 Team SH in Shanghai.)

“There are protocols to be followed when it comes to the staging, choreography and music. If you have an idea, you have to ask for approval first. Everything is done in collaboration with them; everything undergoes a process,” pointed out GB, who considers this project a learning experience.

“It’s as if you’re directing an international concert,” GB added. “It’s a good thing for me because I get to know more about Japanese culture; how they mount shows over there.”

But while there are rules to adhere to, there’s still room to infuse Filipino elements. “They also want to make sure that the concert doesn’t lose the local flavor. There will be Filipino touches when it comes to songs and outfits. Some existing songs [by AKB48] will be “Tagalized” to make them more suitable to the audience,” he said.

MNL48—whose members were chosen via a nationwide search aired on “It’s Showtime” in 2018—is expected to perform its most popular songs, which include “Aitakatta–Gustong Makita,” “Talulot ng Sakura” and “Pag-ibig Fortune Cookie.”


Leading the concert, mounted by Hallohallo Entertainment, are MNL48’s Top 16 girls: Sheki, Abby, Sela, Brei, Belle, Rans, Coleen, Gabb, Jem, Lei, Mari, Jan, Kay, Alyssa, Faith and Ella.

“We’re all super excited because it has always been our dream to do a concert in front of a lot of people,” Sheki, the group’s “Center Girl,” said. “We will show what we’re capable of doing … We want to leave a mark someday.”

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Abby, meanwhile, said that the band’s participation in the recent AKB48 Group Asia Festival in Bangkok has helped them prepare for the concert: “Performing there has given me new ideas and boosted my confidence. I became even more inspired to make people happy. I’ve realized that being an idol means giving your heart.”


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