Eric Celerio pays tribute to dad Levi in debut album

Reyma Deveza, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 03 2022 03:09 PM

New York-based musician Eric Celerio set to release album. PHOTO: Handout.
New York-based musician Eric Celerio set to release album. PHOTO: Handout.

MANILA -- New York-based musician Eric Celerio is set to release his debut album in the Philippines “Celerio By Celerio,” which is a tribute to his father, National Artist for Music, Levi Celerio. 

Released under a distributorship deal with Universal Records, the 13-track album will be available in various digital platforms on October 7.

"The album is special -- special siya musically and personally. Personally parang gusto ko siyang subukan ang different genres in an album and I know that it's kind of against the rules sa mga album. They seemed to follow a consistent style. It's time now for me to say I really don't care," Eric said in an interview with ABS-CBN News on Monday.

"And then the second part is I am also getting to point where my dad might be forgotten by the younger generation. So I'm introducing him again with a modern touch. Baka naman pakinggan ulit," he added.

The album featuresLatin, neo classical, smooth pop and jazz flavors, juxtaposed with the older Celerio's timeless Tagalog classics "Saan Ka Man Naroroon," and "Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal." 

Other tracks are "Gusto Kita," "I'll Be Running To You," "Pagkat Mahal Kita," "Your Love For Me," "Tomorrow Might Never Come," "Par Tita and Tito," "Shy Girl," "Los Amigos," "Etude in A," Czardas," and "Ragtime Etude."

Eric grew up in New York. He moved to the US from the Philippines at age 13. He holds a degree in Music from Queens College.

A working musician, he also did back-up work for various artists, including Christina Aguillera, Lea Salonga, Nonoy Zuniga, Mike Hanopol, among others.

"I want them to know that there's great musician, a Filipino musician in New York, and I want them to discover that. ...I don't want to sound like I am bragging you know but I have a lot to share and I want to share it with them. Kasi proud ang Filipino whenever there's Filipino that could be quality player," he said.

Eric said he wants to honor the legacy of his father, a prolific lyricist and composer.

"Legacy din sa tatay. 'Yung mga na-compose niya ay pakinggan ulit in a different arrangement," he added.

"Medyo modern groove. 'Yung mga tinatawag nila na medyo smooth jazz. Hindi pa kasi nagagawa 'yon nung mga panahon nina Nora (Aunor), Pilita Corrales. Iba ang style ng music niya. Pagdating naman kina Regine (Velasquez), kina Lani (Misalucha) medyo a little too overproduced. So this is one is just a band," said Eric, who also said "Saan Ka Man Naroroon" is his and his dad's favorite song. 

"Maybe more than 'Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal' kasi personal din sa tatay 'yung 'Saan Ka Man Naroroon.' He wrote that for my mom when my mom was on her way to America," he said.

A veteran musician, Eric admitted that he also had a hard time doing the album.

"Medyo mahirap din kasi yung melody niya classic talaga, so I also have to make some research and do my homework sa Philippine smooth jazz din. May way ang mga Filipino to make a smooth jazz na very melodic pa rin. I am very proud of that," he said..

Asked of the album's message, Eric said: "Mahirap na tanong 'yan kasi I am also trying to prove my musicianship. Pero siguro ang message ko diyan is to stick with quality music, maybe that's the main thing. Quality music na puwedeng ipagmayabang." 

Aside from the album, Eric is also planning to hold a tribute concert for his father.

"May meeting kami bukas ng manager ko. I would love that very much. Kasi usually may tribute to Levi Celerio like every other year, so I definitely like to get involve with that na even if I'm not arranging musically kahit sinong arranger, I would like to collaborate maybe or do what I have to do," he said.

"Mayroon na rin akong kinakausap about a possible play eh, a Celerio play. Lahat ng intimate knowledge ko sa tatay gusto niyang isulat and make a musical," he added.

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