" 4 da love of Kuh
‘For the love of...’
Music and art make formidable curing tandem. Never undermine the power of a quality musical event to cross concerts ‘coz the combination could be a
heat wave antidote.
This was true when a recent nightcap defeated an excruciating summer featuring Kuh Ledesma in “For the love of…” The concert was a tie up with an art exhibit by canvass masters Saturday Night Group held at the Puerto Real in Intramuros, Manila. Produced by Power International Foundation, Kuh was the chosen performer because she was also painted by the artists.
We were invited at the very last minute. Or to be more precise, at the very last hour since we got the phone invitation about two hours before show proper. Yes, the Bulletin office is 30 steps away from the venue, but it was an unusually hot night. The kind that shuts your decision off from non–air conditioned assignments and makes a walk–under–the–stars an unromantic date. Puerto Real is that beautiful park partly perimeter–ed by the walls, located right side of the round table near Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM).
The park’s stage is actually a bridge separated from the audience by a constructed lake. A grassy ground, lighted by a peering moon and diamond bits on a clear summer night sky, beautiful indeed. But temperature sidetracked even those things that built the place’s overall beauty.
Fans kept wafting, obstructing views during the pre–show dinner until Kuh rendered “Bayan Ko” for an opener (she was clad in a lavender, heart–shaped collared Saya) and the song thrust a footing that we really are in a hundred percent Kuh Ledesma show.
This was later confirmed when she sang “Bulaklak.” Reminiscing meter scaled upwards with the crowd composed mostly of art aficionados, the age bracket favoring quite densely the ’40s, ’50s and (urhm) ’60s. Before “Bulaklak,” Kuh also set a feel for classical rapture with “Iduyan Mo.” So the formula was a clear balance of Intramuros history, songs of yesteryears and, of course, signature Kuh ballads.
A song the Pop Diva dedicated to daughter Isabella was sung a level higher than most mommy-to-daughter songs because of its moving lyrics. It’s a Barbara Streisand original, titled “If I Could” with touching lines as “If I could shield your innocence from time. But that part of life I gave you isn’t mine. Watch you grow so I could let you go. If I could.” Or something like that with the stage’s screen featuring Isabella, growing up with her mom.
Predictably, the next two numbers had Isabella, promising all on her own (as in, she’s a natural perking the audience up), they ‘duet–ed’ the first (and only) contemporary pop of the evening, LeAnn Rimes’s “I Need You.” When they sang together, it’s like a live version of the footages shown earlier and it just confirms how really close and affectionate Kuh and Isabella are to each other.
Then, there was Jamie Rivera with her signature “Heal Our Land” (sang with Kuh) and then she soloed “My Life Is In Your Hands” and if Kuh is getting preachy in all her shows, these songs with the messages independently beautiful, aptly matched her spiels.
For us, the highlight of the show was Kuh and Jamie’s singing “Evergreen,” the version in Kuh’s “Duets & Me” album. Why? It’s finally a relief to hear this classic in a jologs–free version. Finally! The song has been raped for the past months over radio and TV and Kuh and Jamie redeemed the Streisand original. The song regained its original soul and the past “stupid” renditions the past months got a sudden salvation. Whew!
Kuh’s finale was a never–go–wrong song in “The Way It Used To Be.” By this time, heat was no longer torturing the audience. Gone. Was it the enchanting park? The songs? Kuh? It was collective, actually.
Kuh Ledesma Section