My name is Jeffrey Hidalgo, director, musician, and someone you'll be seeing tonight on Bayanihan Musikahan on ABS-CBN. I will be singing along with fellow members of Smokey Mountain—and to the zillennials who may not know about our group anymore, Smokey Mountain was a singing group composed of tweeners back in the day. I am writing this with a full heart, on a rare event when my band members and I "come out" of isolation and "reunite"—fittingly for a cause.
Again to the young ones who are unfamiliar, Smokey Mountain first launched in 1990. We've had three batches from then. Ever wondered who sang "Kailan," "Can This be Love?" and "Kahit Habang Buhay"? We did, with all of them written by Maestro, a National Artist for Music, himself.
Maestro was the first to announce our upcoming online "reunion"—one to happen only for the second time with all past members complete in a collaboration. The last was almost a decade ago—"I Feel What You Feel" in 2011. It was an original song meant to spread hope to victims of the catastrophic tsunami in Japan. (The tragedy left around 16,000 deaths and thousands missing.)
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Now, let me let you in on how Smokey Mountain's second reunion came about.
A few weeks into quarantine in the Philippines, with "second gen" Shar Santos' initiative, we created a group chat including all past members. We thought hard of what we can do from our homes to help uplift our fellow Filipinos' spirits. We finally got Mr. C on board and watched him gladly take over and instruct us on our participationm, yes, just like in the good ol' days!
With online collaborations currently becoming the norm of performing artists during this crisis, we saw our reunion span four countries—with Shar Santos in Las Vegas, James Coronel in Bali, Chedi Vergara in Australia, and Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino, Geneva Cruz, Jason Angangan, Anna Fegi, and myself all in the Philippines.
What transpired was an interesting—and nostalgic—process of coordination as we taped and operated from three separate time zones. While we have not seen the final product, we are hoping certain audiences (past, ehem, older generations) will be inspired and delightfully entertained with the numbers we prepared.
You can catch the concert on this link. Here's a clue on what's gonna be aired: A special medley of "Better World" and "Paraiso," two of Smokey Mountain’s most uplifting tunes we think are just perfect for the times. Also check out our version of novelty song "Da Coconut Nut," featuring all of the group’s alumni rather goofing around!
It's a little bittersweet that 2020 is Smokey Mountain's 30th anniversary, and with an actual, physical reunion quite impossible to stage, we hope that this online reunion would suffice for now.
Spearheaded by Tito Ryan, Bayanihan Musikahan has already raised over PHP 62 million for the benefit of those affected by the COVID19 pandemic and the Enhanced Community Quarantine. The next staging, we at Smokey Mountain truly hope can contribute to efforts that will ultimately bring back light to our situation. Paraiso, we dare say, we will see it again someday.
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Banner image courtesy of author