Philippine president takes date to Brasil 2012 concert

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - A dose of bossa nova on a hot summer night wouldn't hurt.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III had a welcome respite from the sweltering weather and dealing with the country's problems when he spent some two hours indulging in one of his passions, music.

He was in the company of his constant date, radio-TV personality Grace Lee, at the Sergio Mendes and Brasil 2012 concert on Tuesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

People learned that Mr. Aquino would be watching the show because of the presence of the Presidential Security Group in and around the Big Dome.

Those seated at court side were eager to take photos of the couple, but were disappointed when the President and Lee were led to an area of the lower box section reserved for the Araneta clan.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried to take a snapshot when the President entered the venue, but was stopped by his bodyguards.

Also spotted enjoying the concert were a number of other popular figures, including former President Joseph Estrada with wife Loi, businessman Tonyboy Cojuangco with partner Gretchen Barretto, and club owner Louie Ysmael, who came with Karen Jimeno, one of the defense lawyers in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.


The show opened with Filipino singer Sitti performing seven numbers, combining covers of Bong Peñera and Ryan Cayabyab tunes and her own compositions-all rendered in bossa nova style.

She seemed overwhelmed by the thought of front-acting for a major foreign artist like Mendes before a large number of people, and was groping for words while doing her spiels.

Waters of March

Mendes' first two songs, "Waters of March" and "Pretty World," were the same tunes he opened with during his last gig at the Big Dome six years ago. But this time he played them with a more syncopated beat, adding freshness to the original studio versions.

When Mendes greeted the crowd, he explained that his native Brazil and the Philippines shared common traits-their people are romantic and love to party. He hinted that his show would take a musical journey through bossa nova-a slower variation of samba, a Brazilian creation-and other sounds associated with his career.

Girl from Ipanema

What followed was his take on "Girl from Ipanema," whose music was originally written by his friend and contemporary, Antonio Carlos Jobim. Mendes' voice was soothing, his playing on the keyboards sprightly.

The audience roared with approval upon hearing a succession of classic selections by Mendes: "The Trouble With Hello Is Goodbye," "Agua de Beber," "One Note Samba," "Going Out of My Head" and "Bridges."

Most of the vocals were handled by a duo of female singers, a trademark of Mendes' act which first gained worldwide notice when he scored a hit, "Mas Que Nada," featuring the young Lani Hall as part of his band, Brasil 66.

Though many of his recorded pieces were cover versions of other foreign artists, Mendes' popularity grew far and wide because he transformed these tunes with his own cool and soothing touch, with a dash of jazz.


He has also updated his sound with contemporary genres like hip hop, which he successfully employed during the show when "Agua de Beber" featured a singer rapping along to the song.

Another track, "Chove Chuva," had a funky groove, Mendes attacking the keyboards with child-like delight.

His band delivered the goods as well, improvising with excellent timing, but knew how to stop during their solo spots.

The hits kept coming-"Like a Lover," "Fool on the Hill," "The Look of Love," "Mas Que Nada" (similarly updated with rap lines)-and goaded the crowd to stand up and dance to the intoxicating music.

New track

Mendes likewise played a new track, "Tristeza" from the animation film "Rio," proving that he's still in the loop and not a has-been trying to milk money via the oldies-tour route.

As a whole, the concert was a celebration of the vitality of two cultures-Brazil offering its music, and the Philippines responding with its propensity to have fun in good or bad times.

If Mr. Aquino and Lee were still at the Big Dome when Mendes played one of his ballads, "Never Gonna Let You Go," near the show's end, they would probably have felt so romantic.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors
    No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors

    Instead of filing an opposition, ombudsman prosecutors filed a manifestation yesterday expressing belief that there is no urgent need for Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to visit his son at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. “Based on the clinical abstract issued by the Asian Hospital on patient (Cavite) Vice-governor (Jolo) Revilla, which was submitted by accused Revilla in support of his Urgent Motion, Vice-governor Revilla is in stable condition and has stable vital signs, as of March 1, …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano
    Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano

    Government troops captured Sunday a bomb and weapons factory of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday. Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said the captured bomb and weapons factory is located inside an area controlled by radical Muslim cleric Ustadz Mohammad Ali Tambako at Barangay Dasikil in Mamasapano. …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say
    How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say

    CAIRO (AP) — Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options