Nora Aunor back with first all-original album
by POCHOLO CONCEPCION
Philippine Daily Inquirer
April 16, 2009
THE SUPERSTAR hasn't lost her luster.
Nora Aunor, whose long and checkered career officially began as a singer in the 1960s, is back with a new album. Recorded as an independent production in the United States, the 10-track CD, Habang Panahon,? is her first attempt to interpret an all-original set of material.
Nine of the songs are credited to the husband-and-wife team of Bodjie Dasig and Odette Quesada, likewise the album producers and backup vocalists. Dasig wrote five of the tracks; Quesada penned one; and the duo collaborated on three cuts. Christine Bendebel composed one song.
The Inquirer received, by e-mail, audio files of five of the songs. Refreshing is the effect of listening to Aunor sing these new songs, since the bulk of the material she released on Alpha Records were covers.
Her last known album, released by Universal, was a live recording of a concert, "Handog," at the Big Dome in 1991 and also featured an all-covers repertoire.
The title track on "Habang Panahon," a ruminative ballad with the piano as lead instrument, has Aunor delivering vocals that can best be described as lovely in a mature context. She gives a bright outlook to wistful lyrics about reflecting on one?s life, and the meaning of love and commitment.
"Starlight," which has cool bass lines and light percussion on a mid-tempo beat, finds her rendering English lyrics in a clear, neutral accent, nothing forced or faked, just exactly how she sounded at her peak. The song, using the image of the road as a metaphor for life's journeys, is a bit ambiguous portraying another image, the stars in the sky, as a friend who guides the singer as she deals with her challenges. But since Aunor is the singer, it sounds simpler and easy to appreciate.
Another English track, "Friends," is jazz-inflected, with saxophone solos weaving around feel-good sentiments on the value of relationships.
But Aunor shines best in the Tagalog cuts.
"Kung," about a woman?s confusion on whether she can have the one she loves, has the 55-year-old artist giving a youthful touch to the verses.
The last of the sample tracks, "Ganyan Nga Ba," is an upbeat, acoustic guitar-driven showcase for Aunor?s trademark singing style characterized by effortless sustain on the high notes.