Celerio, music, and Freeway
MANILA, Philippines - Fashion brand Freeway continues to celebrate Filipino artists and their work. For the 7th installment of their National Artist Collectors’ Series, the brand has turned to music, honoring National Artist of Music Levi Celerio.
The series has also paid homage to National Artists Nick Joaquin (Literature), Ang Kiukok (Visual Arts), Jose Garcia Villa (Literature), Ramon Valera (Fashion Design), F. Sionil José (Literature) and Vicente Manansala (Visual Arts).
The collection was launched earlier this month, hosted by the first poster girl of Freeway, Giselle Tongi. Asia’s Queen of Songs Pilita Corrales performed some of Celerio's celebrated hits. Cultural historian and music critic Dr. Antonio Hila cast a more intimate glimpse on Celerio’s life and works through a facilitated discussion.
Celerio’s children, Levi Jr., Louie and Olivia, joined in the celebration of their father's work, now immortalized in fashion.
The man behind the music
Born on April 30, 1910, Levi Celerio was destined to be one of the great saviours of Filipino music — having written lyrics for more than 4,000 Filipino folk, Christmas and love songs, including many that became movie titles.
His compositions include familiar titles such as Saan Ka Man Naroroon?, Kahit Konting Pagtingin, Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal, Kapag Puso'y Sinugatan, Ikaw, O Maliwanag na Buwan, Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak, Sa Ugoy ng Duyan, Bagong Pagsilang and Sapagkat Kami'y Tao Lamang, among others.
One interesting tidbit about Celerio is that he can write or translate a song in only 15-20 minutes!
His lyrics convey not only heartfelt messages to one’s greatest love, but also nationalistic sentiments and philosophies, as well as the valued traditions of Filipinos.
Celerio is also known for his leaf-playing; he was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only man who could do so. In 1997, he was conferred the National Artist for Music and Literature award by President Fidel V. Ramos.
Celerio died at age 91 in April 2002.
“There will always be one Levi Celerio,” proclaimed Dr. Antonio Hila when asked if there is any "Levi Celerio talent" in the present generation. A master like Levi Celerio is one-of-a-kind and certainly one that cannot be replaced.
National legacy on fabric
Freeway’s National Artist Collectors' Series started in 2009 when most of the local fashion brands were working with celebrity endorsers.
They decided to take a different path: to incorporate the work of great Filipino artists with fabric. By doing so, Freeway hopes to nurture the great works of celebrated Filipino artists, pass them on to the younger generation and preserve them for posterity.
Selecting the National Artist to pay tribute to is an intensive process, according to Freeway's Sheree Gotuaco. She shares that they start with artists they are more familiar with.
Another factor they consider is the accessibility and availability of the artist's body of work.
"If there are lots of the artist's works available, then we can do it; feature him or her. This is so that we have a lot of materials to choose from,” she explains.
“I'm very happy because, even if my dad has been gone for 10 years, people still remember him," says Levi Celerio Jr., when asked about his thoughts on Freeway's Levi Celerio Collection. "They should continue doing this."
The Levi Celerio collection will be available in Freeway for one whole year. - Rappler.com