Grace Nono

Opo

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AllMusic Review by

As on Grace Nono's previous album, 1993's Tao Music, 1995's Opo features an ethnic vibe fused with Western musical approaches. Some Philippine ethnic instruments are used, such as gongs and hegalong (two-string lute), but the predominant instrumentation is both Western and modern and includes guitar, drums, and keyboards. According to the album credits, some songs incorporate authentic ethnic sources into the music. The chorus of "Batang Lansangan" (Child of the Street), for example, is adapted from a traditional children's rhyme of the Ibaloi indigenous peoples, while the beautiful melody to "Buntag Na" (It's Morning) is adapted from a traditional melody of the T'boli indigenous peoples. The music throughout the album is simply marvelous, as is Grace Nono's singing. Her take on the exotic opening lines of "Amo Ni" (This One) is impressive; the song features a smooth contemporary jazz ambience spiced with bits of funk. "Batang Lansangan" (Child of the Street) opens with the sound of a wood flute, as Grace Nono sings an exotic, memorable melody, leading to the beautiful chorus. The piercing electric guitar solo on "Mangmang Yan" (The Ignorance) makes an already excellent song even better, while the simple, almost haunting ethnic-styled melody on "Buntag Na" (Its Morning Already), as well as Grace Nono's handling of it, is awe-inspiring. Opo is a wonderful album, one of the best Philippines albums ever made.