MANILA, FEBRUARY 10, 2004  (STAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo - For a while, because Basil Valdez made himself (deliberately?) scarce in the local music scene, his fans thought they had lost him to premature "retirement." What a great waste, `no?"

Imagine how dreary the world would be to be deprived of the golden voice behind a hundred immortal songs, most of them classics, like Ngayon at Kailanman and Kastilyong Buhangin that have enriched your and my life?

Luckily, Basil decided only to lie low in the local music scene–where he has been sorely missed and "missing" for years now – although he continued to make beautiful music abroad – "live."

"I’ve been performing in the States," Basil told Funfare, "with Kuh (Ledesma) and Zsa Zsa (Padilla) in some concerts and with Lani (Misalucha) and other (Filipino) singers in other concerts."

His Valentine show entitled Devoted on Feb. 13 and 14 at the Grand Ballroom of Westin Philippine Plaza with Kuh and Zsa Zsa (with Louie Ocampo as musical director) is Basil’s grand comeback to the big venue, although he did a series of shows last year in the more intimate Captain’s Bar of Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

"As I was saying, I’ve been performing with both Kuh nad Zsa Zsa in separate concerts abroad and this is the first time we’re performing together, all three of us."

The songs may have remained the same, mellowed like wine, but their meanings have definitely changed and the way Basil sings them now.

"We shouldn’t overlook the reality that we are growing older," he said. "It’s true that my voice is the same and I can still reach the same notes. Pero iba na siempre ang feeling, iba na ang technicality at iba pa rin ang meaning ng mga kanta because of what you’ve been through. You sing the same songs but the approach and the style are not the same."

When he wasn’t doing concerts abroad, Basil was busy painting at his Mandaluyong City house which is a virtual gallery of art works and showcase of antiques, most of them collected from his trips abroad. He was also into pranic healing but decided to put it "on hold" in 2001 to concentrate on singing.

"I realized that my singing also helps heal people," he said, adding that pranic healing can be totally "draining."

"You can’t help but absorb the aches and pains and the symptoms of the patients."

It doesn’t mean, though, that Basil had become, as some people suspected, hypochondriac. Far from it.

"After a healing session, I have a way of shaking off that heavy feeling. By listening to people talk about their problems, physical and emotional and otherwise, I also go through a process of healing. In the process, I was able to unload my own emotional baggage and I was also healed spiritually."

Spiritual healing is very important, according to Basil, because it can lead to physical healing. He recalled the case of a terminally-ill patient given only a few hours to live. Basil had a session with him and, miraculously, the man lived for many more months.

"The fact that his life was prolonged even for only a few months was good enough," said Basil who has so far seen thousands of patients both here and abroad (where Filipinos who knew about his "gift" would seek him out).

Bail has recorded 10 albums (approximately 120 songs). He named three of his favorites: Salamin ng Buhay, a philosophical song by George Canseco (who composed many of Basil’s songs), Nagiisang Pangarap, another philosophical song by Boy Noriega and Nais Ko by Ryan Cayabyab.

Asked what his most personal song is, Basil picked Alfie, theme song of the movie of the same title starring Michael Caine (now being remade with Jude Law in the title role).

"That song is very me," admitted Basil whose favorite line is the first one, What’s it allabout, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live ...?

And how different is Basil Valdez today from Basil Valdez several years ago?

"I’m more learned now, more spiritual."

(Note: Devoted is produced by Artist House, Artistation, Inc. and Headline Concepts, Inc. Tickets are priced at P5,150, P4,120 and P3,605. For inquiries, call 817-4660, 750-0350 or 551-5555).

What’s up?

• Reaction to Funfare item about Dayanara Torres having filed for divorce from her husband, superstar Marc Anthony, from reader Noli Gailan (of Washington D.C.): I watched Access Hollywood the other night. The show reported that Marc Anthony was not the father of a waitress’ child. A DNA test was conducted and it showed that Marc wasn’t the father. But the divorce proceedings will continue. Dayanara cited irreconcilable differences as one of the grounds.

• Reinier Castillo (of Starstruck fame) will hold a grand fans’ day on Sunday, Feb. 15. 1 to 5 p.m. at Jersey Road Covered Court, Project 8, Quezon City (right beside the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Church). For details, call 528-8529 (look for Archie Crisologo).

• Going Public, the musical showdown of Ramon Magsaysay (Cubao) High School Glee Club, will be held at the Folk Arts Theater on Feb. 21 (Sunday). Tickets priced P300 may be obtained from Ed Boquecosa at 0918-4436706.

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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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