Bo and the night and the music

By Emmie G. Velarde
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:07:00 06/06/2010
Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Celebrities, Music


"DATED" was far from an ugly word Wednesday night at the Teatrino in Greenhills, when Bo Cerrudo performed what would not be described as "new" or even "current" songs.

That was because, to the faithful crowd of his choosing – mostly "golden girls" and, not to forget, their "golden boys" – those songs were certainly "in," always.

Sing along

Rodgers and Hammerstein, Hamlisch, Mancini? Bo urged the audience members to sing along and they did, with enthusiasm.

Andrew Lloyd Webber? Chicken feed. How about some Paul Anka, Barry Manilow? No problem.

Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, sige nga? Throw in Lady Gaga pa!

These hit-makers from distinctly disparate eras were all in the lineup for "Cerrudo: Words and Music," fifth incarnation of the "Cerrudo Classico" series, which debuted in 2005. Curiously enough, the eclectic mix worked.

Bo tells us now, "I rediscovered my love for the classics and standards a few years back.

Little did I know that, all the while, audiences were looking for such songs."

Coming home

"Such songs" included old favorites rarely performed these days, like "Days of Wine and Roses," "Yesterday I Heard the Rain," "Stranger in Paradise," "Some Enchanted Evening," "You and the Night and the Music."

Reacquainting his trusty pipes with numbers such as these, it looked like Bo had come home to the welcoming arms of 50- to 60- year-olds. He had no problem with that. "I instantly felt their appreciation," he recounts. "And now I'm happy that, since 2008, I've been seeing younger and younger people in the audience."

To this seasoned singer-entertainer (a dependable stage and recording veteran), the "appreciation" was unmistakable validation: "It meant that, as long as I sing from the heart and enjoy myself, my listeners will enjoy every song just as much, regardless of genre or era."

Best version

He tagged himself "Premiere Classical Balladeer." "Cerrudo Classico" became "Cerrudo: Classico ... Classic Ko" in 2006 and "Songs From Stage and Screen" in 2007. Through 2008 and 2009, it was "Love Around the World."

Having watched all these versions in different small venues with varying capacities, sound-wise, we boldly proclaim that "Words and Music" is the best of the lot. Last Wednesday, all the elements came together to fit Bo like the proverbial glove – spiels (okay, just a little more polishing there), arrangements, audio mix … and a healthy dose of humor.

The choice of songs accurately showcased his (technically) low-to-high baritone, though at times we could have sworn he was a tenor. Some numbers, like The "Music of the Night"/"Till I Hear You Sing" medley from Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" and its sequel, "Love Never Dies," virtually transported the audience to Broadway.

Ample tribute

For the show's cohesiveness, easy flow and overall impact, Bo specifically credits two partners: Freddie Santos, director; and Rodel Colmenar, musical director (also founder and musical director of the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, the series' perennial back-up ensemble since Colmenar is also a close friend). All three of them together pick the songs, says Bo.

The concept of "Words and Music," he adds, was Freddie's.

Speaking of which, many performers and pop concert artists could learn quite a lot from the trio's detailed precision as creative people. The show paid ample tribute to every song's composer and lyricist. Bo himself sang all the words with keen comprehension, affection and respect.

"Words and Music" goes back onstage Wednesday, June 9, also at Teatrino. Call 346-3942 or 0922 820-8292.