I don’t suppose kids today are familiar with the group The Ambivalent Crowd, a singing group from the 70s which had the likes of Celeste Legaspi and Louie Reyes as members. It was a hugely successful band under contract with Vic Del Rosario’s Vicor and specialized in doing their own renditions of Filipino and foreign songs.
You may not be familiar with “The Crowd” but surely you know the classic “Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas.” Some people may have hazy memories of the Sharon Cuneta movie but the song endures. And it greeted netizens today through a video featuring The Ambivalent Crowd, singing together after 50 years, albeit via separate video recordings. It’s the group’s tribute to their friend and musical director, the incomparable musical genius, Willy Cruz who wrote the song.
Willy passed away in April 2017.
The National Artist Ryan Cayabyab says he’s been working on the project for the past three months. “It is a tribute to a very good friend, a prodigious songwriter who wrote extremely beautiful melodies, the late great Willy Buencamino Cruz,” wrote Mr. C on Facebook, introducing the video. Each member of The Ambivalent Crowd was asked to submit their own voice recording. “We recorded this song painstakingly, each voice contributing to a part, a layer, like colors to a vibrant canvas, until it was completed,” Cayabyab noted.
“We recorded our voices facing our clothes cabinet,” said Celeste Legaspi, who has been looking forward to the final result for days. “Very interesting way of recording.”
“It was a joyful journey of rediscovery and rekindling of spirits for most of the septuagenarians (and some younger ones in their late 60s) in the group,” added Cayabyab. “70 is the new 50 sounds like their mantra. IKR? I am not very far from there, mga ilang tumbling na lang.”
While Willy also wrote “Kung Mahawi Man Ang Ulap,” “Bituing Walang Ningning,” and the holy trinity of Nonoy Zuñiga hits, “Doon Lang,” “Kumusta Ka?” and “Never Ever Say Goodbye” Mr. C said “Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas” is one of his top favorites among Willy’s compositions. “For many of us, it gave a new meaning to friendship in music and harmony.” The song was written for the Viva Films movie about three women struggling to keep their friendship amidst the drama and demands of maintaining their singing group together, but the subplot is about a dying, forgotten composer whose legacy will live on through the composition.
The new video is a stunning tribute to Willy. It has the depth, beauty and quiet grandeur of his compositions, and the remarkable brilliance of his talent.