Hajji and Rachel Alejandro to stage pre-Christmas concert

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Dec 01 2022 12:07 PM

Hajji and Rachel Alejandro
Hajji and Rachel Alejandro

MANILA -- In family, talent is undoubtedly passed on from one generation to another. Hence, if the father has etched a prominent name in the music business, expect that one of his scions will follow in his footsteps.

That is obviously what happened to ‘70s hitmaker Hajji Alejandro, whose eldest daughter, Rachel, has successfully tread the same musical path as him.

Even when Rachel was still a teenager, she had been sharing the stage and performing with her dad. Eventually, Rachel has made a name for herself not just in singing but also in acting. She has undeniably made her mark in the entertainment business.

Hajji and Rachel’s first back-to-back concert series was “‘Di Nakapagtataka” in 1992 at the Music Museum.

“We had several repeats and the shows were always sold out,” Rachel told ABS-CBN News. “I was just a teenager then and it was a very exciting time for me as a young performer.”

Through the years, father and daughter have consistently performed both here and abroad. Nothing gives the dad more pleasure than to share the same concert stage with his “baby girl,” as what he calls her up to this day. 

“After Rachel's solo concert at the Winford Casino Ballroom last July, her stage director, Vergel Sto. Domingo, asked me if I would be interested to do a pre-Christmas, back to back concert with her sometime early December,” Hajji said. “I, of course, said yes.”

Because of the pandemic, it has been a while since Alejandro and Rachel performed together. Also, she has spent more time in New York, where her husband, Carlos Santamaria, is based.

“I believe the longest period Rachel spent here in Manila was when she accepted to play one of the major characters in the hit series, ‘Broken Marriage Vow’,” Hajji said.

“So the last time we performed together was when I guested her in my 25th anniversary concert at Solaire Theatre in June of 2018.”

Rachel, however, insisted the last time she and her dad performed together was for a reunion party her mom hosted for her school batch mates almost three years ago.

“Both my dad and I didn’t perform live for more than two years because of the pandemic,” Rachel said. “When concerts returned, I began my concert tour of the US. I’m super excited to be sharing the stage with my dad again after all this time.”

The two are both excited to be performing together once again in a concert aptly titled, “Mana-Mana Lang,” on December 9 at the Winford Hotel and Casino Ballroom.

Special guest is Rox Puno, son of Rico J. Puno, who was Hajji’s contemporary. He will pay a musical tribute to Puno.

“I did a concert at Winford Hotel last July,” Rachel said. “My dad was in the audience. When I acknowledged him during the show, the crowd clamored for him.

“I guess that was what gave our producer, who also happened to be watching that night, the idea to put us together in a show. The audience I had then was very warm and appreciative.

“There was a storm and the streets around Winford were flooded, but thankfully, the audience still came. They were ready to party."

The concert couldn’t have come at a better time than its schedule. This is my second time for Rachel to be performing at Winford Hotel.

“December is the ideal month to do the concert with my dad, since I was already scheduled to be back in Manila at that time to celebrate the holidays with my family,” Rachel said. 

Preparing their repertoire for a concert has always been easy for Rachel and her dad. “Because with the numerous concerts we have done together through the years, we somehow naturally think alike,” Hajji said. 

“With the line-up that Rachel and I have prepared, aside from performing our hit songs for this coming concert, the audience can only expect the unexpected.”

Hajji’s son, Ali, is the musical director for the “Mana-Mana Lang” concert. “My dad and I collaborated on all the production numbers with our musical director and drummer, Ali, who is my younger brother,” Rachel said.

“Our back-up band is Mojofly and we will also be featuring Lougee, their lead vocalist, who is also Ali’s better half.”

Ali has played for his dad and sister in many concerts previously. “He has been playing the drums since he was a little boy,” Rachel proudly said. “He’s one of the best in the country. He has also sung in production numbers with us in the past.”

The year 2023 will apparently be a busy year for both Hajji and Rachel. “Plans are underway to celebrate my 50th anniversary in show business with a concert to be staged sometime middle of next year,” Hajji disclosed. 

“The OPM Hitmakers [Rey Valera, Marco Sison, Noñoy Zuniga and I] are also preparing for an extensive US concert tour in April and May of 2023.”

Meanwhile, Rachel confirms next year will be dedicated to concerts in the US and shooting two films for her.

“I have a confirmed performance in Sacramento, California on February 10 and more shows in California in May.

“I am looking forward to picking up from where we left off before the pandemic for the film, ‘Song of the Fireflies’ to be shot in Bohol. On top of that, I am just waiting for the go-signal to announce a new film project shooting in three world cities soon.

“We have some inquiries for a back-to-back concert tour. Hopefully, we can bring this show to the US and Canada in 2023.”

Hajji is looking forward to the “best Christmas ever,” where finally, his family will be complete once again this year. 

Although Rachel will be with her family here in Manila for the holidays, she is expectedly spending Christmas away from her hubby. 

“Carlos and I are usually apart during the holidays,” Rachel said. “Except for last year when I came home to New York to be with him after six months of being in the Philippines to shoot the teleserye, ‘The Broken Marriage Vow.’

“I always spend Christmas with either my mom’s or dad’s side, while Carlos usually goes to Spain to be with his family in Valencia.”

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