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Decada 80 balladeer a draw still

Marco Sison with immigration lawyer Jemela Nettles, left, and community writer Lilia Rabe Grava

Text and photo by Dionesio C. Grava

LOS ANGELES – Raul Marco S. Sison, a mainstay of the SRO-only The Greatest Hitmakers, is an interesting study of how not to get lost in the swirl of abundant talents and the ever changing entertainment field.

A former Student Canteen singing champion of the 80's, Sison hasn't aged a bit nor his voice faltered. He is frequently in town perhaps in search of firmer ground with which to anchor a still flourishing singing career.

It was difficult leading double lives as politician and concert artist for nine years (six as Laguna municipal councilman and three as board member), Marco said during a chat with this writer. The last time he was into politics he lost a vice gubernatorial bid and that gave him a philosophical bent on things. Although there is a kind of fulfillment in being able to serve constituents as an elective official, he said, he is also happy that now he can concentrate on his singing, the real love of his life.

The balladeer's singing career spans more than two decades and he is credited with 19 best-selling long play albums, local and international concerts, and stints in the movies, TV, and stage.

With colleagues Nonoy Zuñiga, Rey Valera, Rico J., and Hajji Alejandro, Marco helps enable The Greatest Hitmakers maintain its top-billing anywhere they perform. Aside from singing, the ever-young artist also had notable stints in acclaimed plays Ang Ginoo ng Calamba at ang Batang Tondo, Katy, La Juventud Filipina, and Nick Joaquin's The Portrait of the Artist as Filipino. His last one was a stage play at the Meralco Theater in Ortigas based on the experiences of Senator Aquilino Pimentel during the martial law years, Pag-Ibig sa Bayan.

Marco the balladeer (among his most notable songs are Make Believe, I'll Face Tomorrow, and My Love Will See You Through) gave tribute to the newer, younger talents in the homeland and at the same time observed that Philippine artists now in US are doing well. He merely smiled when asked whether he was dropping hints about seeking greener pasture elsewhere.
Dionesio C. Grava - Community journalist based in Los Angeles. Member of New America Media, Society of Professional Journalists, and Society of Environmental Journalists, among others.

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