Tag Archives: Entertainer

To be loved . . . by the King of Love Songs

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress
“Balatkayo lahat ang buhay sa mundo Nakangiti kahit hindi totoo Magandang bulaklak ang s’yang katulad mo Nguni’t paglapit ko’y walang bango.”
The lines above are from the classic love song entitled Balatkayo composed by the Philippines’ King of Love Songs, Anthony Castelo . The song laments how his lover has turned out to be a phony. So, he grieves that most people live life pretending; putting on an act; faking love or happiness; being balatkayo.

Fortunately, the multi-awarded singer/composer is exactly the opposite of being a balatkayo. A truly accomplished international artist, Anthony is a genuinely caring and loving human being who has lived to make a difference in the world he lives in. Despite a long list of gold records, sold-out concerts and outstanding performances for world dignitaries like US President George W. Bush, Saudi King Fahd, Moroccan King Hassan II, Princess Margaret of England, Premier Suzuki of Japan, and Pope John Paul II, he has not been dazzled by show business. He has always had an innate charitable interest in others; looking for ways to extend help, show kindness and give support.

Born in the Philippines, Anthony has a unique Eurasian mix of Filipino and Portuguese/Spanish ancestry. He studied in Los Angeles and it was there, while in his teens that he began his music career, joining the world-famous choral group The Young Americans.

Later, while still a student at the University of the Philippines, Castelo joined the Gentle Rain—a group led by well-known songwriter/producer Nonong Pedero. The quartet, whose members included Boy Camara and Rody Picar, developed an amazing quick and faithful following among the collegians. Later, Anthony was discovered by famous recording producers and OPM pioneers Vic del Rosario, Tony Ocampo, Orly Ilacad and Tito Sotto. A marvelous singer and performer gifted with a soulful baritone or tenor voice, he instantly gained the respect of his audiences everywhere.

Anthony’s success as a solo artist has been nothing short of remarkable. His songs such as Hahanapin Ko, Panaginip, Ibig Kong Ibigin Ka, Nang Dahil sa Pag-Ibig, and numerous others quickly hit the charts and Castelo was dubbed as the “Philippines’ King of Love Songs.” He has earned numerous awards for his music; among them were the ALIW and CECIL Awards (the Philippines’ version of the Grammy Awards).

In addition to music, Anthony has also starred in several hit movies together with the Philippines’ finest actors such as Christopher De Leon, Dindo Fernando, Vilma Santos, and Lorna Tolentino. His 1982 Movie of the Year Pakawalan Mo Ako, garnered him a nomination for the FAMAS (the Oscars of the Philippines).

While many would be contented with a successful career in the arts, Anthony did not rest on his laurels to give more contributions which are significant to the society. He had served as a councilor of Quezon City for which he received the BANTAYOG Award for the “Most Outstanding Quezon City Councilor” in 1999 and 2000 given by the Quezon City Press Club.

Several years ago, Castelo immigrated to the States, making his home in Los Angeles with his family. While continuing his career as a performer, Anthony also used his talent to help organizations such as the International Red Cross, the March of Dimes and other humanitarian institutions. In one occasion in Las Vegas, Anthony performed for the Sammy Davis Memorial Concert, which was held in honor of the late entertainer for the benefit of the March of Dimes Foundation.

After the 911 terrorists’ attack, Castelo composed the song, Long Live America, which he himself presented to President George W. Bush during his visit to the White House in 2002. The song soon became a best-selling hit and for this patriotic composition, the State of Maryland House of Delegates, the City of Los Angeles, and the San Diego, California Congressional District honored Castelo with special awards of artistic recognition.

“Through the years, our people have always been my inspiration in everything I do. It was through music that I’ve learned how to love God, our people and our country, and my role as a public servant is the articulation of that song of love,” Castelo said.

In 2004, through his established non-profit organization Long Live America Foundation, the singer helped secure for Engracia Gutierrez a humanitarian visa to come to the United States. Engracia is the sister and only living next-of-kin to US Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez, an immigrant from Guatemala who died in Iraq. Likewise, with the help of city officials from Lomita and Carson, Castelo organized a 2004 Fourth of July event honoring Gutierrez and another immigrant soldier, Philippine-native US Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their adopted country.

All of Castelo’s philanthropy and help for the needy has recently earned him his most cherished award and recognition. Last April 2008, he received the prestigious “President’s Volunteer Service Award” during ceremonies at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. The award was issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, a committee formed by President George W. Bush in 2003 by Executive Order. It recognizes outstanding efforts of individuals and organizations towards their community and country.

“On behalf of Long Live America Foundation, it is a privilege for me to receive this recognition and I share this honor with all Filipinos around the globe,” he said. “Through the years, America has shared its blessings of freedom and prosperity with the nations of the world. As a thankful immigrant whose native Philippines has been liberated by the United States in World War II, it is truly an honor to be of service to this great country.”

Albert Einstein once said that “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Anthony Castelo has truly made his life worthwhile by making a difference in the lives of others. (www.asianjournal.com)

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Lani Misalucha Best Singer in 27th Annual Best of Las Vegas

by Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – Filipina singer Lani Misalucha, dubbed Asia’s Nightingale, was voted Best Singer in the recently concluded 27th annual Best of Las Vegas poll. Conducted by The Las Vegas Review-Journal, almost 8,000 total votes were cast and tallied in this year’s poll. There were two picks for best singer; the readers’ pick was Celine Dion and the staff pick was Lani Misalucha.

Born in Manila,Philippines, Lani holds shows at the Flamingo Las Vegas with the veteran Hawaiian variety troupe Society of Seven – SOS. Misalucha’s full-throated style and wide range have been frequently compared to those of popular divas such as Barbara Streisand, Whitney Houston, and Celine Dion. Since arriving in Las Vegas in 2004, she has been called the New Siren of the Strip. She possesses a comedic flair and can effectively impersonate above-named divas as well as Gladys Knight, Toni Braxton, Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, Beyonce Knowles, and Britney Spears.

Born into a musical family, Lani started joining various bands at age 17 as a vocalist or back-up singer. After obtaining a degree in Business Management from the Philippine Christian University, Lani married Noli Misalucha, an IT expert and Mormon pastor with whom she has two kids, Lian and Louven.

In 1996, Misalucha made a breakthrough with the song “Ang Iibigin ay Ikaw” which was a finalist at the Metropop Song Festival and later conferred the Awit Award for Record of the Year. In 1998, she won acclaim outside the country when she was awarded the Best Interpreter/Singer Award at the 3rd Asian Song Festival. Misalucha received the Grand Prize at the 1999 Metropop Song Festival Artist of the Year Award. In that same year, she won the Aliw Award for Best Lounge Act, Awit Award for Best Performance by a Female Recording Artist, and Awit Award Nomination for Best Stage Actress.

Misalucha was hailed as Aliw Awardee for Best Female Performance in Music Lounges, Bars, Clubs & Restaurants for four consecutive years, 1999-2002. She became a semi-regular host in the Sunday noontime show SOP (Sobrang Okey Pare) in 2001, along with other top artists. Her first major solo concert in September 2001 at the Araneta Coliseum entitled, “Lani Misalucha, The Crossover Live Tour” was packed to the rafters by over 18,000 fans. In that same year, Misalucha received the Aliw Award for Best Major Concert by a Female Artist and the Tinig Award for Best Solo Performer. Her Crossover Live Concert album received the Platinum Award.

In 2002, she bagged the Aliw “Entertainer of the Year” award, and two Katha awards — Best Folk Song Vocal Performance and Best Traditional Song Vocal Performance. She also held her first US Concert Tour that year, performing in Reno, San Diego, Washington, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Atlantic City, Pasadena, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. of San Francisco declared August 17 “Lani Misalucha Day” to give due recognition to her talent as an artist.

In 2004, after being granted a US visa as an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability,” Misalucha relocated with her whole family to the United States.

In no time, Lani became the first Asian to headline in a Main Showroom of the Las Vegas Strip, performing with Hawaii’s Society of Seven at the Jubilee Theatre of Bally’s. Her stint at Bally’s ran for 15 months from August 7, 2004 to February 5, 2006, after which she and the Society of Seven moved to the Main Showroom of the Flamingo starting last August 2006. They will be staying on at the Flamingo till April 13.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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