Local singers to relive memories of the ‘80s in April 27 OPM concert

Tony Gado (left) and Arnel Arcedo

Tony Gado (left) and Arnel Arcedo

Showband singers Arnel Arcedo and Tony Gado will be joining Original Philippine Music (OPM) pioneers Cecile Azarcon and Lorrie Ilustre and pop band Sounds of Manila in a concert at Symphony Space in the Upper West Side on April 27.

“OPM babies” of the ‘80s Arnel Arcedo and Tony Gado grew up in the Philippines grooving to the romantic lyrics of “Ikaw ang Lahat Sa Akin” written by Azarcon. It was also the first Tagalog single of then up-and-coming pop balladeer Martin Nievera.

“That song is full of love, full of emotions. Pag kinakanta mo, at nakapikit ka, mararamdaman mo talaga ‘yung kanta. It was well-made. Para sa aming mga artista, obra maestra ang kanta na ‘yun,” said Arcedo, who grew up in Batangas and is now a Coney Island resident. With that song, he discovered he could sing using a friend’s “minus one” backing tracks.

Woodside, Queens resident Gado said he grew up with Azarcon’s music.

“When I’m in love, I play Ms. Azarcon’s ‘I Think I’m In Love.’ And I’m starting to realize how privileged I am to be performing at the tribute concert for her next month.” He added, “Ms. Azarcon is a brilliant musician and songwriter.”

Arcedo, besides singing with the Metropolis wedding band, also published his own graphic novels. His first work, “In the Name of the Father and of the Sons,” written and drawn during countless subway rides for seven years, was even launched at the prestigious New York Comic Con in 2012.

Gado, on the other hand, has been performing with the FDR Drive, a dance party band in New York, since 2009. He is originally from Cagayan de Oro. His father, Tony Delgado, used to sing alongside Asia’s Queen of Songs Pilita Corrales and the legendary comedienne Elizabeth Ramsey, at the famed Cloverleaf Theatre in Manila in the ‘60s.

The Sunday, April 27, concert “An Evening of Original Philippine Music with Cecile Azarcon and Sounds of Manila” at Peter Norton Symphony Space (2537 Broadway and 95th Street) is a musical tribute to Azarcon’s timeless pop songs: “Even If,” recently revived by Tony winner Lea Salonga; “How Did You Know,” recently revived by Gary Valenciano; “Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin” by Nievera; and “I Think I’m In Love,” originally by Pop Diva Kuh Ledesma, are among Azarcon’s timeless hits.

“You can touch the hearts of the Filipino audience through music and songs. When performing before a Filipino audience, you shouldn’t just be singing to them. You should reach out to them, too—you need to give yourself completely to them,” said Arcedo. “We will strive to do just like that in the upcoming concert.”

Gado said the concert will be a “rare gathering of both Filipinos and non-Filipino family members and friends to experience our culture. It will be a great way to discover how brilliant Filipino musicians and artists are.”

Besides Arcedo and Gado, young vocalists Tiffany Viray (“X Factor” on FOX) and Jared Martin (“ASAP 19” on ABS-CBN, “The Ryza Mae Show” on GMA) will also guest-star. The concert is produced by Synergy Production & Marketing Inc., which was formed to support Filipino-American talent.

Concert sponsors include GMA Pinoy TV, GMA Life TV, Anthilla Land Corporation (ALC), Mortgage Unlimited, Directv, X-clusive Marketing , The Filipino Reporter, Filipino Express, TheFilAm.net, and Pinoy Radio.

For tickets visit www.symphonyspace.org/event/8306/Music/an-evening-of-philippine-music or call Symphony Space box office at 212-864-5400. You may also buy tickets at Synergy Production & Marketing Inc. at 212-206-1627.

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