“Basil S. Valdez Celebrates ‘The First Christmas’ ”
“The First Christmas” – Basil Valdez
Legendary OPM balladeer and interpreter par excellance Basil S. Valdez returns on record and is spreading merry cheers this Holiday season with his brand new album “The First Christmas.”
In here, Basil trains those unfading pipes of his on a whole set of classic Christmas carols and tunes that all of us grew up with and love.
“The First Christmas” is off to a glorious start indeed when Basil opens with the rousing “A Christmas Carol.” In here, the arrangement, choir and vocals definitely sets the listener in a Yuletide mood, and that’s just the first track.
A hymnal reading of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” follows right away wherein The Premiere Balladeer racks up his voice against some really fascinating harmonies. With nary an instrument to be heard, the effect of these voices are just divine! No surprise there, as these harmonies are provided by the mighty Philippine Madrigal Singers! It’s the same effect with “Hark! The Heralds Sing,” wherein these great Pinoy singers give us another goosebump-inducing performance on record. They polish it off once more with a flourish in “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”
The album at times does give off a traditional feel. Some tunes, starting out slowly with some bare acoustic guitars, like “We Three Kings Of Orient Are,” resemble the much-missed Pinoy Caroling tradition. So just imagine Basil outside your door singing these tunes (along with the Madrigal Singers) and you’re all set for the Holidays.
Basil naturally does great on his own. Some familiar carols like “What Child Is This” and “O Holy Night” are also included. But it is in “Ave Maria” that we get a measure of how good still, Basil Valdez’s voice is. The Latin verses doesn’t hurt either and gives it class at the same time.
The album title of course refers to the birth of The Lord Jesus Christ. And this occasion calls for some consecration. A point not missed by Basil who renders
“The Lord’s Prayer” in song. Note that his version here harken back to his memorable tunes of yore: those types that build up to a crescendo and eventually finding incandescent release.
The album title could also refer to the fact that this is the singer’s first ever Christmas album. And it’s truly a treat to hear sir Basil breathe new life to these classics. Augmented by the equally loved Philippine Madrigal Singers, this album will easily be one of the most memorable Christmas albums by an OPM artist.