Kuh Ledesma

Ako Ay Pilipino, Vol. 1

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In 1994, Philippine independent Ivory Records released Ako Ay Pilipino, Vol. 1 (I Am a Filipino, Vol. 1), performed by Philippine female singer Kuh Ledesma. The album is part of a two-volume set originally released in 1983 on Blackgold Records, a now-defunct label under Vicor Music Corporation at the time. The project is a grand, sweeping showcase for Philippine music. Many songs on Ako Ay Pilipino, Vol. 1 are time-honored, popular evergreens. A number of songs feature an ethnic vibe, and many of the lyrics concern pride and a respect toward the Philippines. Kuh Ledesma sparkles throughout the album, and takes her place as one of the country's best singers. "Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musica" (Our Music Is Beautiful) is a pleasant, breezy song that extols the beauty of Philippine music. Considering that most Filipinos prefer American music instead of original Philippine music, as reflected in the country's album sales, this song makes a statement that needs to be heard. "Ethnic Variations" is entirely instrumental and features the playing of gongs. The impressive, "Narito Ang Eden" (Eden Is Here) contains several sections, and starts on a light-hearted folk ambience, which leads to the dramatic entrance of guitars and a horn section; Ledesma sings a heartfelt, dramatic melody here. The song also contains an easy listening section, after which gongs and blistering electric guitars join the proceedings. The album also contains a Mike Velarde medley, on which Kuh Ledesma sings the popular love songs of one of the Philippines' most respected composers. This is an important album, and is a welcome departure from the never-ending imitations of American songs and styles often performed by Philippine artists.

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