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17 May 2012

EPITAPH : Donna Summer (1948-2012)

Donna Summer

Donna Summer with Barbra Streisand, 1979
Image source: Werner Matrisch

WAY BEFORE Madonna, there was Donna. Hers was the music that made my generation proud to have lived and danced the disco years. It was a total shock to have learned about her sudden passing, as I didn't even know she was ill.

Farewell, Miss Donna Summer (1948-2012). Heaven Knows that there'll never be a Last Dance where you are.

04 May 2012

FOCAL POINT : Pilita Corrales, “Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak”

WHILE CLEANING my music collection last weekend, I realized I had a copy of the romantic Philippine pop song "Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak" (Because of a Flower) written by Leopoldo Silos and sung by Pilita Corrales. The song is the love theme from the award-winning 1967 movie of the same name. I saw the movie as a high-schooler back in the late 1970s when it was rerun on the screens, and I vividly remember the movie's mini-skirts, heavy eye make-up, and pastel-colored cinematography. And, of course, the bittersweet love theme.

Pilita Corrales

As for Miss Corrales, she's a source of Filipino pride. The beautiful chanteuse is regarded as the most iconic song stylist in the Philippines. At her age (she's in her seventies), she still dresses up in figure-hugging gowns and bends courageously backwards when reaching high notes—a trademark Pilita posture. Although her style is closer to old-fashioned saloon than contemporary pop radio, her enunciation, vocal affectations, and charming stage presence endear her to Filipinos of all generations.

Here is Ms Corrales and her well-sung interpretation of "Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak". The lyrics on this version are different from what is usually heard; I'm not sure if these were the original ones written for the film. Another Philippine music legend, the composer Ryan Cayabyab, orchestrated the breathtaking arrangement.

Scream dearly

The Scream at Sotheby's

EDVARD MUNCH's iconic composition The Scream sold for a record $119,922,500 at Wednesday's auction at Sotheby's. Actually, it was one of the four Screams that Munch had created between 1893 and 1910. This record-shattering Scream was a pastel that Munch composed in 1895, but it still screams of the familiar agonized figure against a fiery red sky—the same figure that has been eternally copied in modern pop culture, not the least of which are those murderous Scream slasher movies.

While ordinary mortals scream when paying a hefty price, last Wednesday's mystery buyer paid a hefty price to scream!