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‘Queen of Kundiman’ Sylvia La Torre dies at 89

‘Queen of Kundiman’ Sylvia La Torre dies at 89

VETERAN SINGER. Sylvia La Torre attends Philippine Independence Day celebrations in New York in 2015.

Rappler File Photo

Sylvia La Torre is known as the 'Queen of Kundiman' and 'First Lady of Philippine Television'

MANILA, Philippines – Legendary singer and “Queen of Kundiman” Sylvia La Torre has died at age 89.

Her death was confirmed by her granddaughter, actress Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, in an Instagram post on Friday, December 2.

Anna said that Sylvia died on December 1 at 7:02 am in the presence of her husband of 68 years, Celso Perez de Tagle, and their children Artie, Bernie, and Cheche.

“My grandmother was my first inspiration when it came to singing and acting. She was my first vocal coach and taught me all of her kundimans. Thank you for passing on your love of music to me and I will surely continue your legacy,” Anna said.

“Gone too soon but always in our hearts. Your song has ended but your melody will linger on. Love you Mama Cita,” she added.

Born in 1933, Sylvia started her singing career at the young age of five, when she won a singing competition in Manila. She appeared in her first film at seven years old, in 1941’s Ang Maestra, and made her stage debut two years later, soon becoming a regular performer at the Manila Grand Opera House.

Even as a working singer, she sought out a formal education in music at the University of Santo Tomas’ Conservatory of Music, where she was a scholar.

In the 1950s, she began recording what would amount to over 300 songs, including the folk songs “Sa Kabukiran,” “Mutya ng Pasig,” and “Waray Waray.” For this she was dubbed “Queen of Kundiman.”

Eventually, she found her footing in radio and television, making her mark as the co-host of the TV show Oras ng Ligaya in the ‘60s, earning her the moniker “First Lady of Philippine Television.”

In her later years, she had been based in Southern California, where she continued to perform. In 2017, she performed with the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra, which gave her its first Excellence in Music Award. – Rappler.com

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