Jose Mari Chan's "Christmas In Our Hearts" is probably the biggest selling Filipino Christmas album of all time, and I was part of it. As a member of the Ateneo College Glee Club at the time the album was recorded in the early 90's, I got to sing in 2 of the album's songs and got to do the vocal arrangement for one of them.
Two decades later, I am part of Jose Mari Chan's new Christmas album, but this time, aside from vocal arranging and singing backup on one of the tracks, I actually got to co-write 2 songs with him! A dream come true for any songwriter!
His second Christmas album is called "Going Home To Christmas." Work on this album began - believe it or not - over a decade ago, which was when he gave me a cassette tape of this beautiful melody he had come up with and asked me to write the lyrics. It was a challenge for me because Joe's melody was the kind you wouldn't want to mess with nor alter even a tiny bit. It was also a melody that any skilled lyricist would know required some internal rhyming. And knowing his audience and picturing an orchestral arrangement for the song, I wanted a lyric that would give the song universal and timeless appeal. Given all these parameters I came up with a lyric called "Christmas Air." The song has 2 versions in the album - Joe's vocal version arranged by Homer Flores, and a special instrumental orchestral version produced, arranged and conducted by Yaron Gershovsky, recorded in New York. With all the hard work Joe put into this song, it's obviously one of his favorites in the album and I am so honored to have co-written this song!
I also wrote a Christmas love song lyric which he edited and set to music. The song is now called "Starlight" and performed by guest singer Noelle Cassandra. The other song I got to work on was the album opener "Ring In The New" arranged by my friend Marvin Querido. This cut is a reunion of sorts for us, as we had worked on the song "Sound Of Life" from Joe's first album while we were still in college.
Today is Christmas Day and I am thankful for many things - for family and friends, for love and many blessings which include this wonderful chance to collaborate with a great artist. Joe, thank you for your friendship and for your trust. May you continue touching people's hearts with your music for many years to come.
Since tomorrow is the first day of December, I'd like to share one of my Christmas songs with you. I originally wrote "This Little Child" for Joey Albert (and it got an Awit nomination for Best Christmas Song back then). This one is the Ateneo Chamber Singers' a capella version of it, recorded and released last year. My friends Jay and Aui Tamayo have told me that the song sends them into the "ugly cry" mode. Precious! =) I hope you guys enjoy it, too. You can listen to it and view the lyrics HERE. Season's Greetings to all!
"Ang Ating Pasko" is a short song I wrote last year. It's so short that it doesn't even reach the 1.5 minute mark. And so it's been a pleasant surprise to me that some choristers have been asking if they could get hold of its sheet music so they could sing it.
The song opens the album of the same title, a Chrismtas CD by the Ateneo Chamber Singers released last year. I remember how we were working on the album and realized we didn't have an album title yet. We tried choosing among the songs we had, but none of them really summed up what the album was about. "Ang Ating Pasko" seemed the most appropriate title because it was a collection of Filipino Christmas songs but more specifically, songs written and arranged by people in the Ateneo community. My friend Niner De Pano, the album's overall producer, told me to come up with a short song that would serve as the album's opening or prelude (much like the cuts in The Carpenters' Christmas Portrait album) and this is the song I came up with. Fellow-Atenean Marvin Querido did the instrumental arrangement and I did the vocal arrangement, and I must say I'm happy with how it came out.
Since I don't own the rights to the recording, I can't sell it nor its accompaniment track but if any of you would like to get hold of the sheet music, you can download it from here: http://www.greatsongstosing.com/ang-ating-pasko.html - and you can listen to the song as well by clicking on the video link or watching it here:
Enjoy and an early Christmas greeting to you all!
My name is Trina Belamide and I'm a songwriter and record producer.
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Learn more about me on www.trinabelamide.com.