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OPM classics by legendary artists

March 14, Club Regent Event Centre

By Judianne Jayme

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The OPM hitmakers Marco Sison, Rico Puno, Hajji Alejandro and the Jukebox Queen Eva Eugenio.
Photo by AJ Batac.

Winnipeg was treated to an evening to reminisce hit songs and dance moves with legends in the Original Pilipino Music (OPM) industry. Producer Dennis Castañeda, also the president of the Philippine Canadian Guardian Brotherhood International, Inc., brought to Winnipeg legendary artists Marco Sison, Hajji Alejandro and Rico J. Puno along with the Jukebox Queen Eva Eugenio for an energetic and entertaining evening. Hosted by CKJS’s Chester Pangan and the Manitoba Filipino Street Festival queen Julienne Reyes, the OPM Legends concert brought laughter, excitement, and sentimental memories for its audience, a mix of different generations gathering for the love of classic hits.

Front acts warmed up the crowd prior to the headline artists. Singer-songwriter Levy Abad took the stage on his own, equipped with his guitar, sharing his original tracks – fitting for an OPM event. Locally based classical new wave band haLf man haLf eLf entertained the crowd with their creative and altogether catchy music. A build-up of applause was heard throughout the audience as non-Filipino band member Christine Mazursurprised the crowd by singing in Tagalog! The final opening act, Trafikk Jamm, did their renditions of classic Tagalog songs Manila and Habang May Buhay, getting people up and moving in their seats. The party had begun, and it was not even intermission!

While making small talk with concert goers before the show and during intermission, I had asked what they were looking forward to most about the concert. Many were excited to see their favourite artists singing what, in their opinions, were their most renowned hit. If you ask 20 people to narrow it down to what they felt was the top song by any of these OPM Legends, you end up with several hit titles. They are legends for a reason – they are not one-hit wonders, and their talent has taken them through decades of success in the Philippines and beyond. I began wondering how they would be able to fit decades of hits into their separate sets.

My questions were answered as soon as all three stepped on stage. On top of singing their most famous tracks individually, they also took time to doa medleyof all their greatest hits. We sang along Eugenio’s Tukso,swayed in our seats to Alejandro’s Nakapagtataka, sat in awe of Sison’s Always, and applauded upon hearing the first few notes of May Bukas Pa. We kept the beat clapping to Si Aida o Si Lorna o Si Fe and engaged in some throwback dance moves accompanied by a medley of popular Motown hits.

If there’s anything that someone of the upcoming generation could learn from these legends, it’s the power of the love song – musical artistry that one does not often come across in the current era of music. These crooners brought back the gentleness, honesty, and emotion that blends to make perfect love songs – the type of songs that brought these artists to legendary status in the entertainment industry. These songs are now a part of our pop culture history thanks to artists such as our OPM Legends and Jukebox Queen. It’s these classic songs that will continue to be sung Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko (even when my hair turns white).

Congratulations to the producers of this incredible concert, and a big thank you to AJ Batac for the photographs.

As Hajji Alejandro sang from the heart: Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika! Thank you, OPM Legends and the Jukebox Queen for the spectacular evening with you.