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Notes and Reviews
LAST UPDATED:  MARCH 25, 2011

Piolo Pascual Live in Toronto Concert Review

MYMP break-up boosts ticket sales for US concert

Stephanie Reese debuts at Carnegie Hall

Rick Springfield at Twin Rivers - Lincoln, Rhode Island

As 1 lives up to hype... and more!

Sold-out Martin Nievera concert featuring Brian McKnight did not disappoint

Songspell Concert in Chevy Chase, Maryland

Two Queens Wow Los Angeles

Competing Events in New Jersey, May 2008

The Show That Explained Gary V’s 25 Years of Superstardom

GMA Network and stars win big at the Visionary Awards

Revelations from Journey's Las Vegas weekend

Society of Seven, Lani Misalucha, and Martin Nievera

The Cascades. The original. Alive.

Kapuso Fever Rocks Las Vegas!

Pops on a sentimental journey without Martin

Kapuso Fever dazzles Las Vegas!

Gary V at John Hancock Hall, Boston

'Ka Freddie' captivates Fil-Am crowd in Hollywood

Kuh Ledesma in Boston

GMA Pinoy TV Stars: A Big Hit at Phil-US Expo '07

Martin Nievera livens up the new Planet Hollywood

Dingdong & Jessa "That Thing Called Love"

Barbie rocks Los Angeles with a revelation

Martin & Pops concert - Still making beautiful music together!!!

Triumphant Nora Aunor Concert in Boston!

Review of Bayanihan Dance Company

Pops and Martin together again. . . On Stage

Martin & Pops - the magic lives on

The Other Side of Sarah Geronimo: A wild Success!

Viva Vina, The Other Concert Queen!

Pops, Regine and Jose Mari Chan wow concertgoers

Trias cashes in on instant stardom, but not all can

"Trial By Water" Ma-Yi Theater Review

AEGIS, they came and they conquered and it was worth the money

Love ko si Koy! Camile Velasco's NY media lunch

Tell Me, about Joey Albert

Get Intimate: Patricia Javier

Re-learning OPM with Hajji and Rachel Alejandro

Side A Rocked New Jersey!!!

Aegis Band, April Boy Regino entertained Guam

Pinoy classic Rockers rocked the Kiss Club

Diva 2 Diva at Harrah's Lake Tahoe - a certified hit!

An Evening with Dessa

Vegas Comes to Strathmore: Misalucha & The Society of Seven

The Leyte Dance Theater ……. A Knockout Performance

Megastar Sharon Cuneta brings her best to Atlantic City!

Red hot Pops and Regine set Atlantic City ablaze!

Lynn Sherman: Beyond the swing element

Society of Seven, Lani Misalucha Continue to Enthrall Audiences

Rica Peralejo at the San Jose Sheraton: Encore! What you see is what you get, and then some...

Lea and I, under the "Orange Colored Sky"

Fil-Am wins Best Director Award at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival

Freestyle NYC concert review

Parokya ni Edgar storms into New York City!

The Greatest Hitmakers in NJ: a great reminiscence

Been There Done That But Give Us Some More! The APO Strikes Again Spring Concert Tour!

Greatest Hitmakers rock San Francisco

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Piolo Pascual Live in Toronto Concert Review

The recent Piolo Pascual solo concert at the John Bassett Theatre was announced just a few short weeks before the event; very little time to organize anything let alone a show of this kind. Fortunately for Kubo Productions, the team behind this undertaking, it was Piolo they were marketing. Piolo, of course, is one of those rare individuals who can make women of any age swoon. His striking good looks made him the most popular actor in the Philippines and has won him a loyal following around the world. His movies and television shows have garnered him numerous acting awards and his foray into the music business produced several gold and platinum albums. These accolades however, are very different from performing live; a task Piolo undertook with ease.

Prior to the event, it was rumoured that he would only sing less than a hand-full of songs, reminiscent of his days touring with “The Hunks” and “The Heartthrobs”. This speculation was quickly squashed by Piolo himself who joked about it at the beginning of the show. The concert went on for nearly three hours with Piolo singing the theme songs for his films and television shows. As simplistic as it may have appeared, Piolo alone on stage was more than enough to entertain an enthusiastic, near sell-out crowd. In what was revealed as an impromptu inclusion to his set, he sang acoustic versions of some of his most popular hits like “Kailangan Kita”. His exceptional rapport with the audience was evident as he walked them through the highlights of his career. Although at times it felt like an intimate show, the theatre was abuzz from start to finish with women from opposite ends of the age spectrum clamouring to get near Piolo especially when he briefly ventured off stage to hand out roses.

Special guest star and YouTube sensation Maria Aragon was also a great addition to the show. In only her second major appearance, she conducted herself with ease as she performed the Lady Gaga song that made her famous. Her brother also joined her on stage to accompany her as she sang the Bruno Mars hit “Just The Way You Are”. With obvious wisdom beyond her years, she encouraged other youngsters to continue pursuing their dreams pointing out the fact that it took 72 uploaded videos on the site to get her where she is today.

It should also be noted that guest performances by RJ Roa and front acts “The Brothers” and “MNP” were short but very entertaining. All three were extremely talented and deserving of the audience’s attention. It would not surprise me if these youngsters are asked to perform again at many other Filipino-Canadian events.

I have to mention the fact that the meet and greet with Piolo the day before the concert, the event itself and the autograph signing after the show were organized impeccably. I have been to many events ill-prepared for the inevitable onslaught of fans but I must give kudos to the organizers of Piolo’s Toronto stop. The show and everything arranged in conjunction with it was impressive and deserving of its own applause. Well done Piolo! Well done Kubo Productions!


M.Y.M.P. break-up boosts ticket sales for US concert
FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo
Philippine Star, Nov. 19, 2009

The last leg of the Sessionistas US concert tour, held last Sunday, Nov. 15, at the Colden Auditorium of Queens College in Flushing, New York, went on without any hitch.

You see, East Coast fans of M.Y.M.P. were worried that Juris Fernandez and Chin Alcantara might not show up because of their recent break-up which Funfare reported in a “scoop.” The duo topbilled the concert (earlier mounted in California, Las Vegas and Washington D.C.) together with Aiza Seguerra, Sitti, Duncan Ramos, Nina and Richard Poon.

Reported Funfare’s Big Apple correspondent Edmund Silvestre, “M.Y.M.P. is extremely popular in the US. To appease their fans, the concert’s producer, Jason Purino of NOSAJ Entertainment, immediately issued press releases announcing that Juris and Chin would, as they promised, honor their commitments until end of the year.”

Edmund said that the dissolution of M.Y.M.P. definitely drummed up more interest in the NY show dubbed as “the biggest jamming affair of the year” for Fil-Am music lovers.

And this translates, of course, to bigger ticket sales.

“We can’t say if it’s because of the interest in the M.Y.M.P. split-up or because of the star power of the Sessionistas,” Edmund quoted a concert insider as saying.

Edmund noted that M.Y.M.P., formed in 2003 and which became one of the top acoustic bands in the Philippines, will forever be part of the Philippine pop music history, along with their hit songs Especially For You, Tell Me Where It Hurts, Kailan, Huwag Mo Nang Itanong, to mention some.

The Funfare source said that Juris cited “irreconcilable professional differences” as the reason for the break-up and at the same time announced that she’s going solo having signed an album contract with Star Records. Meanwhile, Chin is reportedly searching for a new partner to continue with M.Y.M.P.

Here are Edmund’s thumbnail sketches of the other Sessionistas:

• Aiza Seguerra is a suki in the US concert scene. The former child wonder turned into an acoustic superstar with a certified platinum record in Asia (and quintuple platinum in the Philippines), “Sobrang ganda at linis ng boses,” said Albert Ignacio of The Filipino Reporter, the best-selling Filipino newspaper in the East Coast. “Effortless yet amazing. Ang sarap niyang pakinggan, parang lagi kang idinuduyan.”

• Sitti, whose NY debut concert last year filled a trendy Manhattan club, keeps getting more popular by the day since Boy Abunda’s Backroom, Inc. managed her career. She’s known as RP’s Bossa Nova Queen. Fil-Am fans adore not only her soothing voice and sweet personality, but also her flawless beauty and charm.

• Duncan Ramos, former vocalist of South Border and once linked to Rufa Mae Quinto, front-acted for Alicia Keys in her concert in Manila last year. “He’s a brilliant singer,” said Ma. Kristina Salcedo Go of Long Island, N.Y. “Cute at malakas ang appeal.”

• Richard Poon, said to be the new generation’s Jose Mari Chan, is gifted with a calming, classy voice. No wonder various commercial airlines have been featuring his songs in their selection of Asian artists.

• Nina, known as the Soul Siren of the Philippines, is the first Filipino female singer to have received the Diamond Record Award for her album Nina Live! the biggest selling album by a female OPM artist, and the fourth biggest selling album in OPM history. She may not possess the pipes of a Mariah Carey or a Regine Velasquez, but there’s something magical about her that continues to attract followers.

Standing ovation for Stephanie

Several issues ago, Funfare reported that Stephanie Reese was performing at the Carnegie Hall in New York City after her concert at the Music Museum last October.

“She gave an outstanding performance before some 600 people,” reported Manny Caballero, Funfare’s other New York correspondent also connected with The Filipino Reporter (one of the event’s media partners). “After giving her a standing ovation, the audience demanded for an encore.”

Stephanie is dubbed as the Standing Ovation Queen and she did live up to her “title.”

Manny said that proceeds from the concert would go to Reese’s philanthropic project of building a Gawad Kalinga village for poor families and to the victims of the recent destructive typhoons, both in the Philippines.

In a pre-concert note in the November 2009 Carnegie Hall Playbill where 12 pages were devoted to the Reese concert, Stephanie wrote, “By the end of tonight, 30 families will have homes, many more will receive relief goods to help them survive after the tragic flooding in the Philippines.”

Discussing her career as a performer, Stephanie added, “I came to realize through many life challenging events that I wanted to not only be a thriving singer and actress, but also someone that would be able to use my artistic gifts from God for a higher purpose beyond all the Hollywood lights and curtain calls.”

Here’s the rest of Manny’s report:

For more than two hours, the former Miss Saigon star in Germany and London’s West End actress entertained the audience composed mostly of Fil-Ams, including her parents who flew in from the West Coast, GK’s Tony Meloto and New York Consul General Cecilia B. Rebong.

With empathic ability, Stephanie alternately made her audience extremely quiet, applaud, laugh and even cry at one point when she shared a sad personal experience prior to belting a love song.

Despite nagging colds, Stephanie wowed the audience with her powerful voice. Her repertoire included some of her own compositions, like the now well-liked Chaka Laka Boom Boom. She made difficult songs seem easy to sing with her flawless voice.

Stephanie was accompanied on the piano by the Paris-based Fil-Am John Florencio. In the popular Tagalog song Ikaw, Filipino pianist and music director Glenn Lemen accompanied the singer. Guest performers were singer Calvin Keen and Flamenco dancer Sergio Viglinii.


Stephanie Reese debuts at Carnegie Hall - A Review
Text By Dennis Sy
Photos by Karla Lim

The final result doesn't even begin to tell half of the story.

By the end of the show, a world-class talent stood tall in one of the most prestigious concert halls in the heart of New York City, triumphant in a command performance that will long be remembered by those who were lucky enough to have graced this particular concert, and with the goal of building an entire village for 30 Filipino families having been successfully attained.

But beyond the prestige and the glamour associated with any Carnegie Hall event, this was an arduous journey that can either define you as one who has faced your challenges head-on with steely determination, or as one who was cowed into submission by forces seemingly thrust upon you simply to test your will.

The challenges were many, and oftentimes they were quite unexpected. It's the nature of the business, and quite typical of any production.

More so for a production of this magnitude and significance.

But it is the indomitable spirit of one Stephanie Reese that ultimately carried this production to its successful realization. Beyond the angelic voice, the soaring notes, the comedic timing, the emotional renderings, and the expected standing ovations,Stephanie Reese is a performer who knows what she wants, what she's great at, and what's the best way to deliver this to her audience in one seamless package that can only lead to one enchanting evening of pure entertainment.

Of course, no successful production stands simply on one leg, as Stephanie surrounded herself with an extremely talented supporting cast, led by Paris-based Musical Director John Florencio on piano and vocals, Robert McCullough on bass, Sonny Ratcliff on drums, with special performances by uber smooth tenor Calvin Keen, Argentinian dancer Sergio Viglini, and special participation by musical arranger Glenn Lemen from Manila. Running the show and putting all these pieces together fell on the very able hands of Technical Director Ted Benito. Lastly, the designation of 'line producer' is a gross understatement of the significant role Elton Lugay played in this production.

Worthy of acknowledgment too was the invisible crew of dedicated and selfless volunteers who took care of all the little details that in a big way contributed to the success of this show: Jon Reedyk, Vin Limjap, Ingrid Rogers, Kimberly Rogers, Karla Lim, John Paul Su, and Wence Abad.

Congratulations to producers Sylvia Cancio, Pete and Shirley Domingo for bringing us the Stephanie Reese at Carnegie Hall concert, and for undertaking this project for the benefit of the Gawid Kalinga organization.

Sometimes it really takes a "village" to make a difference, because on this one special night, 600 people (the hall was packed) came together to actually build an entire village for families in need back in the Philippines. That's one evening very well spent.


Concert Review: Rick Springfield at Twin Rivers - Lincoln, RI
by Gretheline Bolandrina

Friday, October 16, 2009: I have to admit I am not a fan of Rick Springfield. My Younger sister Chiqui is. She's always liked his music and when we were growing up in the Philippines, she was the kid who would rush home from school to watch him play Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital (granted they were mostly re-runs). I've listened to Rick Springfield songs mainly because the same younger sister pushed it on us. I remember having to sit through a movie starring Rick Springfield. My movie memory fails me now, can't identify the movie title. Nor can I recall the movie plot! Not that I'm dating myself, but my musical interests were mellow and OPM (Original Pilipino Music). What brings me to see Rick Springfield now? Sheer curiosity. It helped that the concert venue is close by.

Performing in front of a very enthusiastic crowd (of mostly women!) at the Twin Rivers Event Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island, Rick Springfield started the show off with a bang. No opening acts of upcoming singers or bands. Promptly, it was Rick and he was dancing on and around the stage. Jumping and short of doing cartwheels. He played several guitars (and a pretty mean guitar too). I wondered why he had to have that many guitars, well, I came to find out later, smashing dozens of roses most probably explained that. He must not feel underrated as a guitar player because he shows how well he jams on the guitar. His vocals are strong, the one song I could sing to, "Jessie's Girl" sounded as crisp as when I first heard the recording back in the 80's. Rick's stage presence is good, as the many swooning women could attest, though I'm not too keen on him taking his shirt off. His abs were sculpted to be shown, I guess.

A few songs into the show, a woman breaks through security, makes it on stage to give Rick a hug. Several fans gave Rick roses which he accepted and then pounded on his guitar. A few more women attempted a break onto the stage but the alert security people got them first. His mike stand held roughly sixteen guitar picks at the beginning of the show, by the time he played most of his hits, he's thrown most of the picks out into the crowd. Majority of the songs he played had every person in the crowd singing the words and every person on the floor dancing to them. At one point , he was sort of surfing the crowd by stepping chair to chair on the first few rows. There was an awkward moment when he was encouraging participation from a non-singing security guy. A much more participatory security guy came to the rescue and sang a few lines, albeit off key.

Hard to believe the show ended as quickly as it started. Rick Springfield's been rocking for over twenty years. His energy level and enthusiasm at Twin Rivers Event Center may be proof that he's out to rock for more years to come. Outstanding acoustics and very nice lighting helped. The evening was very entertaining. The venue comfy. The overall experience enjoyable. I still am not a Rick Springfield fan. I did purchase two CDs (Venus in Overdrive and My Precious Little One) for Chiqui. But now, I get to say, I saw and heard Rick Springfield live at Twin Rivers, and yeah, Dr. Noah Drake rocks!


As 1 lives up to hype... and more!
By Chuck Gomez
Philippine Star, September 21, 2009

MANILA, Philippines - The erratic weather the past two weeks, especially last Saturday, Sept. 19 tested the faith of the team behind As 1, including its stars Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano.

Many times, people asked us about our contingency plan in case rain will pour that night since the concert was held at the gargantuan open-air concert grounds of SM Mall of Asia (MOA). Our contingency plan — prayers for each person involved in the concert — elicited a mixture of ridicule and support.

The heat was sweltering from morning to early noon at the MOA. The open ground was a furnace, and taxed everybody’s mind and body a lot. The weather shifted in mid-afternoon. The pouring rain made all of us a bit tense. Before fear of bad weather took over our hearts, Angeli Pangilinan-Valenciano and Ronnie Henares led the team in prayer. In less than 10 minutes, the spirits of the grateful As 1 team soared as the sky cleared. Martin and Gary started doing their run-through with the dancers and musicians at around 3 p.m.

The gates opened at 4:30 p.m. and the massive crowd started to enter the venue, filling it to capacity by 8 p.m. Celebrities like Sharon Cuneta, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, Anthony Pangilinan, Ruffa Guttierez, Jericho Rosales, Toni Gonzaga, Nikki Gil, Shaina Magdayao, Karylle, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and Verni Varga came to witness what was expected to be the concert event of the year.

At 8:30 p.m., a gentle breeze enveloped the venue as Martin and Gary opened the show with the powerful, energetic On The Right Track and Hataw Na. It took the team, with Martin and Gary at the helm almost three months to conceptualize the repertoire which aimed to chronicle the two stars’ careers. Martin and Gary gave their fans and peers more than what was expected.

When they were performing the segment on the movie and TV theme songs they recorded, small raindrops trickled from the sky and thick clouds hovered over the venue. Lightning the south side of MOA.

I was with friends and Verni. We fell silent, then exchanged nervous laughter. Verni led me and my team in prayer. Everybody in the team was praying too because we did not know what will happen to the audience if rain pours.

Will they stay and watch the show? How about the handicapped in the audience – most of them senior citizens in wheelchairs? Where will we seat the celebrity guests?

Then a miracle happened: the sky cleared and a single star shone. The show ran its course and yes, it was magical and miraculous!

We were all pumped up with adrenaline after the show and we proceeded to Fish &. Co. for the after-concert party.

In mid-laughter and over light beer, Tita Angeli approached me and said Martin can’t make it to the party because he was rushed to Makati Medical Center due to exhaustion and dehydration. Gary was first to react and it was apparent that he was really affected about what happened to Martin.

We kept everything hush-hush and entertained our guests. As soon as everybody left, we all went to Makati Med to check on Martin. Gary, Tita Angeli, Ronnie and some of the concert staff arrived there first. Gary led the group in prayer for Martin’s speedy recovery. (It’s very interesting to note that it is actually Gary, a diabetic, who has a stronger tendency to suffer from fatigue but ironically it was Martin who got really exhausted). My staff and I followed and as we entered the hospital at around 2 a.m., we were surprised to see Pops Fernandez in the lobby.

Pops did not go to the concert because she had a previous engagement but when she found out about Martin’s condition, she rushed to the hospital to check on him. Their kids, Robin and Ram were there. So was Martin’s sister, Gina Godinez-Tabuena.

Because he was so concerned about the weather and pressures of the show, Martin did not eat anything last Saturday. The changing weather did not help either. It was hot in the morning, raining in the afternoon, and humid in the evening.

The lights onstage focused on him. The dressing room was air-conditioned. The doctors said Martin was dehydrated and exhausted. He was on IV when we arrived and doctors said he just has to finish the dextrose and replenish the liquids he lost. Then, he’s free to go.

Pops, the kids, and the As 1 PR team stayed with Martin till 4 a.m. He was released from the hospital Sunday morning. Martin told me he’s set to go back to the US tomorrow.

It was indeed an evening of beautiful music with so many colorful highlights. But what I learned is that, at the end of the day, God is the star of any show and prayer is still the best contingency plan for any endeavor to succeed.


Sold-out Martin Nievera concert featuring Brian McKnight did not disappoint
by Rene Villaroman
Asian Journal, Dec. 28, 2008

CABAZON, CALIFORNIA—Martin Nievera proved that he could still pack them in his My Christmas List concert with Brian McKnight held on Sunday, December 21, 2009 at the Morongo Casino. Every seat in that contest was sold out and hundreds of fans were lined up at the venue’s entrance one hour before the concert began at 6:30 pm.

Martin gave a wonderful concert full of his characteristic self-deprecating humor, and a mosaic of songs from the 60s through today. The concert also showcased the talents of his guest artists RJ de la Fuente and Stephanie Reese.

"It seemed to me that this particular concert was very personal to Martin, and although he was exhausted by the end of the show—it ran nearly three hours—he was very proud and happy to have been given this performance," attests Ted Benito, who was the concert’s stage manager. "I do have to say that Jackie Regala and Cliff Villaflor did a great job in producing the show." Martin was joined by his older sons Robin and Ram in a trio of a song that he had written when the boys were still very young, and he cuddled his youngest son, Santino, and sang to him. "Nothing beats having a family," Martin said. "If you don’t have a family, you’re nothing," Martin added. "I’m so blessed and I want to share that blessing with you."

Although it was a billed as a Christmas concert, Martin sang only a couple of Christmas songs. "Are you in a Christmas mood?" he hollered. "It’s my job to put you in a Christmas mood!" A fan hollered back, "Why aren’t you wearing red?" Minutes later, Martin emerged wearing a red plaid tie that he borrowed from a crewmember backstage. He then opened the concert with It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, that was followed by an acapella rendition of We Wish You a Merry Christmas by his back-up singers. "My concert tonight is sold out. That’s a good thing," Martin declared. "To perform with my back-up band is a joy. I’ve never met a group of musicians so dedicated to music."

"It’s such an honor to be a part of the concert here with Tito Martin and Brian McKnight. Being in a concert with these people and their caliber, and what they’ve done to music is very exciting," said guest performer RJ de la Fuente. "Humbly, I thank God for this opportunity. This is pretty big for me," he added.

Guest singer Stephanie Reese, who had performed with Martin in the past, was thrilled. "I couldn’t believe it," she gushed. "It’s a nice way to have a little gift right before Christmas." Reese sang a medley of Shirley Bassey songs, and Prayer in a duet with Martin. "I love performing with Martin always," Reese told Asian Journal after the concert. "I was nervous at first," she said. "We did not have a proper rehearsal for all the songs. But you know, we’re all professionals, so we just winged it. And I’m so proud and grateful to be a part of it," Reese said.

Brian McKnight, of course, was the most anticipated performer of the show, and when he sauntered on the stage, the audience went wild. "I met him on his evening show (in Manila)," McKnight said of Martin. "He’s like my other family." Martin and Brian’s friendship and camaraderie is genuine. "What Martin said in his intro of Brian is completely true," attests Ted Benito. "There is much respect and admiration from both artists towards each other," Ted told this writer. Brian sang a brand new composition (still untitled) that he said he wrote just the other week. Brian also sang Back to One, I’ll Be Home for Christmas and he and Martin sang a medley of Stevie Wonder original songs, that include Isn’t She Lovely, Superstition, and many others.

Brian is an altogether artist in a phenomenal world-class of musicianship, according to Benito. "You can’t teach the way he plays the piano and sings," Benito described. "His talent is God-given and flows directly from his soul."

Brian’s music segment was beyond expectation and his duets with Martin on a set of Stevie Wonder classics—the first ever in front of an audience—was historic and breathtaking vocal dynamism.


Songspell Concert in Chevy Chase, Maryland

Friday evening [May 17, 2008] was a wonderful kick-off to a long weekend. And that is because of the important presence of Songspell talents. We all had been blessed with beautiful, exciting, and touching songs and the overall performance by these amazing children was no less than superb! It was excellent! It was terrific! It was WOW a hundredfold! It was definitely D'BEST!

As for those who were present, we can all attest that it was such a SUCCESSFUL event. I received great reviews from a lot of people who were craving for more! We did not want the evening to end and we wanted to have more!....MORE songs and MORE dances from Songspell! The crowd reacted in a very positive way and the noise, cheers and jubilation was so overwhelming, so contagious and so exhilarating! There was a lot of positive energy and a lot of fun. It was a JOY and very HUMBLING and it makes you feel proud to be a PINOY!

I know I was so touched especially when they sang the "Bayan Ko" song - I realized that I was not alone who was moved by it. It certainly brought tears... tears of joy, admiration and gratefulness. No wonder it was called "Handumanan (Memories)" - it brought good memories of our homeland and our heritage. We have good memories of that evening.

The Songspell performers who gave me feedback said that the Raleigh crowd was the best during this Tour as it made them feel energized and grateful to be here! They are truly Ambassadors of peace, unity, love and of music! They deserve an encore!


TWO QUEENS WOW LOS ANGELES
Review by Cynthia de Castro, AsianJournal.com

The Philippines Queen of Rock N’ Roll, Elizabeth Ramsey and her daughter, Jaya the Queen of Soul, set the cold wintery night aflame with music at their Rock and Soul Concert at the Long Beach Convention Center last night. Although they have performed together in various shows in the Philippines before, Elizabeth and Jaya’s February 8 [2008] US Show was their first major duo concert.

In an exclusive interview at the Asian Journal’s office in Los Angeles, Elizabeth could not contain her excitement about their show.

“Masayang-masaya itong concert naming ni Jaya. We will not only sing songs that are surely well-loved by everyone, but we promise it will be so much fun. Nakaka-tanggal ng arthritis, diabetes, bara-bara sa mga arteries. Nakakatunaw ng cholesterol,” Elizabeth laughingly said.

Jaya chimed in as she explained, “Not a lot of singers can perform onstage and can interact with the audience. I think this is something my Mama and I can do. In this show, we will give the audience more than just songs. We really want to give people a good time, fun and laughter. Kaya, we will have asaran, kulitan, sayawan, kuwentuhan, tawanan at siyempre, kantahan.” She added.

And true enough, Jaya and Elizabeth captured the crowd’s rapt attention from the moment they walked onstage to the end of the concert. Their excitement level rubbed off on everyone else in the theatre as the two obviously had a great time interacting with each other and with the crowd. The mother-daughter team playing back and forth off each other made for an incredible show-a stunning, visual, vocal and emotional experience one will find hard to forget.

Elizabeth’s excellent voice was as powerful as ever as she belted out old-time favorite ballads and rock n’ roll hits. Jaya’s voice was equally flawless as she sang great songs from her latest album. Cool Change, and Tagalog hit songs which were so loved by the crowd.

Like all who know and see Elizabeth, the crowd was so amazed at her youthful looks and energy. “parang hindi tumatanda,” was the usual comment of fans who know that she has been in show business for over 50 years now. Elizabeth revealed the key to her looking and staying young, “I believe that God gave me a mission and that is it to entertain and make people laugh. Gusto ko lagi akong nagpapasaya ng tao. Kaya siguro I don’t look and act my age (76) at kaya andito pa ako,” she said.

Jaya said her mother’s energy and youthful appearance is a blessing from God. “Regalo yan sa kanya ng Diyos kasi she hardly exercises and she doesn’t keep to a healthy diet.”

A mainstay of the Sunday noontime variety show SOP over GMA 7, and one of the main hosts of ALL STAR K, Jaya announced to Asian Journal that she has a new show over QTV. It was launched just a week ago, entitled One Proud Mama, a talk show featuring mothers of well-known individuals.

Elizabeth, a widow for the past 50 years, lives in Manila right across from Jaya, who is married to Filipino-American Gary Gotidoc, with whom she has a daughter named Sabriya.

Rock and Soul was one of the finest Pinoy concerts in LA. The passion and talent the incredible stage presence, the power and force of Elizabeth’s and Jaya’s music were amazing! If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. IF you weren’t you should have been. They were well worth watching and we hope to see more of them in California.

Production: World Premier Productions

For Inquires for Jaya or Elizabeth please feel free to contact: Michelle Feniquito (818) 679-1085 or Mikala@sprint.blackberry.net. Inquires will be forwarded to Manager Stella Sampedro.