Apr 25
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Tillie Moreno's new sound

Tillie Moreno's new sound

Author: Jerry Donato

Music is magic as it heals a broken heart or a past wound and even inspires a dampened spirit. For some, music is a lifetime commitment to share with others and keep them entertained until the end of a performance.

Tillie Moreno, one of the voices that interpreted and popularized the anthemic Umagang Kay Ganda (also the title of a morning show on ABS-CBN), traveled far and wide to live up to that unwritten credo among artists and musicians and to take part in the recently-concluded 2008 Philippine International Jazz and Arts Festival at the Sofitel's Siete Pecados. Siete Pecados was home of the festival's international and local jazz artists who showcased the creativity behind the music often associated with the upper-crust of the society.

"It is the challenge that jazz is not easy to do and not everybody can do it," offers Tillie on why she prefers singing the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Annie Brazil, Richard Merk, Mishka Adams and Johnny Alegre, among others.

"It is mostly about improvisation (doing ad-libs) and it's a pleasure if you are able to do that. The interpretation should come from the heart. When I was young I was amazed by the jazz performers.  Then I tried and couldn't understand the music. But when I got older, I started to gravitate towards jazz. I think the music takes maturity to perform it. "

That's why Tillie was sidetracked first to R&B, pop and OPM before she finally found her niche in jazz. Becoming a member of the Circus Band was her biggest break. She performed along with Hajji Alejandro and Louie Reyes. She recalls Circus Band performed in campuses and graced concerts and TV shows. The No. 1 musical act of the '70s made five albums before its members parted ways. Tillie also performed with another band called Lovelife. They did the rounds of five-star hotels and performed in Japan, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. Her distinct voice also snagged for her a contract from Blackgold Recording Company as a solo artist with the hit Saan Ako Nagkamali. After she recorded four albums with WEA Records. Umagang Kay Ganda, a duet with Ray-An Fuentes, and Nothing I Want More are two of Tillie's signature songs. In the '80s, she moved to the US to continue her career.   

"You can do jazz in any song and put your style in it," says Tillie who performs for the Filipino communities in the US. "You have to inject your style and emotions in it. You have to have a heart in doing it. Singers may be able to sing jazz but the emotions are not there. You can't study jazz. It comes from the heart. You have to do improv and be spontaneous about it. "

Aside from performances from Feb. 29 to March 16, the jazz festival also presented workshops like Lecture Performance, Jazzkamp and The History of Jazz in the Philippines. It also had mall tours featuring artists like Gerard Salonga, Bob Aves, Toti Fuentes, Lynn Sherman, Skarlet, Henry Katindig and Gary Valenciano.

Asked what keeps the artist in her alive all these years, Tillie replies, "Singing is an outlet for me. It calms me down and it will always stay with me forever and ever. "

Source: The Philippine Star