Down Memory Lane with Hajji Alejandro and His Music

Down Memory Lane with Hajji Alejandro and His Music

Many friends almost exclusively associate me with New Wave music (Rock, to the uninitiated, primarily and obviously because this has long become my favorite genre of music; besides, my sense of fashion—hair, clothes, and shoes—is definitely rooted in New Wave. However, musically speaking, I may be one of the most eclectic music enthusiasts one could ever encounter. I listen to and could practically appreciate whatever kind of music that I could lay my hands on and put my ears to. Since I was a child, I have never been prevented from listening to various types of music, and this prompted me to develop into a very openminded music lover—no discrimination at all. I could band my head to a Metallica or growl along with a Cannibal Corpse, sway my hands to a China Crisis or Tears for Fears, tap my feet to a Michael Jackson or Madonna or even Justin Bieber and Britney Spears, feel teary-eyed with an Air Supply or The Carpenters, or get ecstatic with an ELP or Dream Theater. In short, I could appreciate whatever kind of music because I treat all of them as works of art and I could love listening to them without getting affected by the antics, lifestyles, or looks of the artists or band members.

In the Filipino culture, many people are guilty of using the word “baduy” (English counterparts include ‘kitsch,’ ‘uncool,’ or ‘unfashionable’) to refer to persons who or taste that are assumed to be very common or commercially popular. For instance, some people might call you “baduy” if they learned that you listen to April Boys or One Direction. Personally, I don’t discriminate people or music. I am a pro-choice individual. I respect and tolerate the preferences of others so long as their choices do not result in something physically harmful. After all, I myself have a diverse taste—be it with food, books, films, music, and other aspects of culture.

Having said that, I would say that, despite my love for Rock music in general, I love also Pop music. In the Philippine music archives, I enjoy listening not only to the Rock of bands like Asin, The Dawn, Third World Chaos, Wuds, Backdraft, Eraserheads, The Camerawalls, and Color It Red but also to the traditional Pop of Sharon Cuneta, Rey Valera, APO Hiking Society, and Hajji Alejandro.

Speaking of Hajji Alejandro—I have had the chance to meet the artist in 1993, a time when my former band in the Philippines was active in the music scene. We guested for a few times at a noontime variety TV show called Chibugan Na, of which Alejandro was one of the daily hosts—along with Arnel Ignacio, Karla Estrada, and Rico J. Puno. Alejandro has always given me an impression of a serious, softspoken, and mildly mannered individual. And this persona seeps into the way he sings his songs and conducts himself when performing. This may be the reason some journalists have dubbed him, especially during his younger days, as “Kilabot ng mga Kolehiyala” (Heartthrob of College Students). Apart from that, his music is memorable to many people including me. I’ve heard his songs as early as the 1980s, and to this day, hearing especially his ballads still gives me a sense of solitude and nostalgia.

Born in December 1954, Alejandro is among the Philippine traditional Pop singers who have become legendary especially because of his longevity in the entertainment scene. He started his singing career in 1977 when he joined and became first-place winner of 1977 Metropop Song Festival. Some of his popular songs include “Kayganda ng Ating Musika,” “Panakip-Butas,” and “Nakapagtataka.”

So, to those in Winnipeg whom these songs have become memorable, this is your chance to catch Alejandro live in concert here in the city.

On March 14, Alejandro and fellow Filipino traditional Pop singers Rico J. Puno, Marco Sison, and Eva Eugenio are the featured performers at the concert billed as OPM Legends. It will be held at the newly renovated Club Regent Event Centre. Tickets are at $70 (Balcony), $90 (Orchestra), and $120 (VIP; front row, with free dinner with the stars on March 13 at Buffet Square on McPhillips. For more details, contact Dennis Castañeda: 204-963-7868.