Leah Salterio

Gen C for the new generation

May 15, 2024 Leah C. Salterio 97 views
Producers Melfred Hernandez (right) and Aaron Veloso
Nyoy Volante sings the popular Da Coconut Nut
Mr. C with Gen C team
Stell of SB19 brought the house down with Sometime Somewhere
Songbird Regine Velasquez
Young singer-actress Belle Mariano

MR. C, as Ryan Cayabyab is fondly called, set aside his Maestro tag for the night and embraced the Gen C title for the concert tribute to his 70th birthday held at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater last weekend.

The title, Gen C, is apparently a play on the first letter of Mr. C’s last name and in reference to today’s youth.

In white sneakers, Mr. C sauntered onstage without scores of music sheets on the piano, but an Ipad where all the songs for the night were methodically arranged.

“Tonight, we have three generations of artists who are all good,” Mr. C. addressed the full-house crowd. “I’m still grateful I still get to do this at 70 years old.”

The Ryan Cayabyab Singers delivered the opening salvo, Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika, the song that won the grand prize for Mr. C in the 1978 Metro Manila Popular Music Festival, interpreted by Hajji Alejandro. That was followed by Ateneo Chamber Singers’ (ACS) delivery of Hibang sa Awit.

Basil Valdez took centerstage and crooned Paraisong Parisukat, the first song written by Mr. C that won in the FAMAS (1977) for an Elwood Perez movie, Masikip, Maluwag Paraisong Parisukat, where Mr. C was tapped to do the musical score.

Mr. C was thrilled when he first heard Paraisong Parisukat on radio, his composition for the Alma Moreno and Boyet de Leon film.

“Sabi nga ni George Canseco sa akin the first time my first song came out, ‘Welcome to the world of the immortals.’ I didn’t understand him at that time. So, I asked, ‘Ano po ang ibig sabihin noon? Siyempre, bata pa ako noon. George explained, ‘Pag namatay ka, ang mga kanta mo, buhay pa.”

Next, Basil carried out another original, Nais Ko. Through the years, Basil recorded a number of Mr. C. originals that became memorable anthems.

The vocal quartet, The CompanY delivered “Limang Dipang Tao,” followed by “Tsismis” playfully sang by Kakai Bautista, Mikee Bradshaw and Phi Palmos, with the ACS.

Kailan was a composition Mr. C wrote for the Smokey Mountain, one of the first young groups that he had the honor to mentor and train.

A visibly nervous Belle Mariano was onstage to sing the Smokey Mountain hit, which she nonetheless carried out beautifully without a hitch.

Even during rehearsals, when Mr. C played the familiar strains of the TV program, Sineskwela, everyone started to sing. “Sabi nila, hindi ka batang nineties kung hindi mo alam ang kantang ‘to,” he shared.

The Sineskwela theme was rendered in a different approach and sound delivered by Bandang Dilaw.

Nyoy Volante sang one of the most popular songs of Smokey Mountain, Da Coconut Nut with the RCS. The Philippine Coconut Authority even gave Mr. C an award when that novelty song came out.

Mr. C not just did musical score for films, but memorable themes, too. Bituin Escalante belted out the powerful Hello Joe, Goodbye, megged by National Artist for Film, Eddie Romero’s Desire (1982).

Meanwhile, ACS carried out the soothing Iduyan Mo originally from Basil Valdes, from Eddie Romero’s “Agila.” This year would have been the director’s 100th birthday.

What brought the house down was the powerful rendition of SB19’s Stell of the well-applauded ‘Sometime, Somewhere.’

Gloc 9 followed with the Sarsi theme, Angat sa Iba. Jed Madela did a medley of Gary Valenciano’s Once Upon a Life and Martin Nievera’s How Can I, both penned by Mr. C.

When her turn came, another stellar guest, Regine Velasquez, remarked, “Ang gagaling ng mga singers. Buti na lang maganda ako tonight. Pangsimba ko lang ito,” referring to her flowing white gown.

She sang ‘Tuwing Umuulan’ at ‘Kapiling Ka,’ which she earlier also recorded, as well as Araw Gabi.

Mr. C and Mrs. C (Emmy Cayabyab) did a duet of ‘Tunay na Ligaya,’ a song he penned for their wedding and was adapted as the title of his first painting exhibit last year.

For the musical suite, John Arcilla sang ‘Hindi Simple ang Buhay’ originally by Hajji Alejandro, from ‘Larawan.’

Karylle Tatlonghari and Poppert Bernadas carried out the hauntingly sentimental ‘Magbalik Ka Na, Mahal,’ from Rama Hari, with lyrics by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera.

Shiela Valderrama Martinez and Arman Ferrer did a duet of ‘Pamamaalam,’ from the Noli Me Tangere musical, with lyrics Bievenido Lumbera.

Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and Nonie Buencamino sang Ang Muwebles from Larawan musical, with lyrics by National Artist for Theater Rolando Tinio.

Singer-actress Aicelle Santos impressively did scathing a ala vaudeville artist Katy de la Cruz in Aba Ba Ba Boogie, from the musical, Katy.

Mr. C ended the night with Smokey Mountain’s moving number, A Better World, which he started with the first few lines, followed by Broadway actress Lea Salonga, then Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Hajji Alejandro and a host of artists who sang the popular piece.

Other artists joined in singing the ballad – Geneva Cruz, Jeffrey Hidalgo, Krina Cayabyab, Pops Fernandez, Rachel Alejandro, Celeste Legaspi, Kuh Ledesma, Mitch Valdes, Jim Paredess, Morisette, Nanette Inventor, Nonoy Zuñiga, Agot Isidro, Odette Quesada, Raymond Lauchengco and couple Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli.

Celeste Legaspi and Girlie Rodis produced Gen C for Culturtain Productions with surgeon Melfred Hernandez and Aaron Veloso.

All the artists were accompanied by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO). The May 11 and 12 shows were directed by Rowell Santiago.