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La Aunor to go back to basics with concert

Photo: Nora Aunor, middle, with showman Tony V. and community writer Lilia Rabe Grava during an event in the past

- Some days are simply too messy that we could not even indulge in the occasional diversions necessary to maintain our sanity. LA's entertainment guru par excellence Tony Vizmonte must have been at his wit's end after sending in the fourth email invitation, which reads: "Please join Ms. Nora Aunor" at a special gathering at Max's in Puente Hills Mall to promote a fundraiser concert.

Ms. Aunor, , Tony V. said, would be joined in the event by singer/comedian Joseph Gelito and young singers Lianna Gutierrez, Maaikee, Abby Hall and the Filipino Historictown NC President Cecilia Ramos. The earlier invitations were for an interview and pictorial with Ate Guy at the HIFIProduction in N. Burlington Ave., Los Angeles. Both events we unfortunately could not attend.

Admittedly my wife and I have soft spots for the phenomenon from Camarines Sur who at 4'10" and dark-complexioned astounded traditional moviedom prone to mestizas and mestizos with her meteoric rise and success. Starting in 1967 the singer-thespian had starred in more than 170 Philippine movies, had more than two dozen albums and singles, shined in plays and TV shows, staged concerts, garnered numerous acting awards and industry citations, and tried her hand at directing and producing films. She virtually had the best there is in this world in the palm of her hands.

But with the fame and glory came also problems and heartaches and shocking escapades. Ms. Aunor, originally known as The Lady with the Golden Voice, had a failed marriage with movie icon Christopher De Leon, was romantically linked to the former president Erap Estrada, had a failed try in politics, and rumored to have married her female manager Norie Sayo in Las Vegas in 2000. In March 2005 she was arrested at the LA International Airport for alleged possession of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu together with drug paraphernalia (glass pipe) and made to undergo a drug diversion program.

According to Tony V., Ate Guy now lives and works in the United States but continues to enjoy a loyal following among long-time fans and new converts who have discovered her talent in unlikeliest places—film school, old movies shown on TFC, their parents' record collection, and the Internet. And they've been asking, he said, when will Ate Guy have the grand U.S. performance that befits her stature as one of the Philippines' greatest singers?

On October 24 at 7:30 p.m. Nora Aunor will top bill "Sa Iyo Pa Rin" (Still Yours) at the Grand Theater of Los Angeles Trade Tech College. That would be her first major solo concert, Tony V. said, and the Superstar will go back to the basics, "featuring nothing but her gorgeous soulful soprano in the company of veteran musicians."

The concert is set to coincide with the release of a new album. As yet to be titled, the album is being produced by HIFIProductions and crafted by Odette Quesada and Bodjie Dasig, proven names in the music industry. Expect new songs that convey inspirational messages and timeless themes.

Odette and Bodjie are also working on the concert, along with a topnotch team that includes Jet Montelibano as technical director, Tony Vizmonte as line producer, and Joseph Gelito, who will inject his inimitable warmth and homespun humor to the proceedings.

Proceeds of the concert will benefit Historic Filipinotown, the emotional and cultural center of the Filipino community in Southern California. –
Text and photo by Dionesio C. Grava

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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