The Music of Soprano Manila Adap and Tenor Nacho Bas, Spain
Filipinos love to sing. The Philippines is a country of singers, greatly influenced by several countries which conquered this beautiful archipelago. Spanish, American, and Japanese influences can still be traced in Filipino culture from cuisine, architecture, language, and music. But among these three, Spanish influence is the most prominent due to its 300 plus years of colonization. The Filipino language is greatly influenced as well, having approximately one-third of borrowed words from the Spanish language.
Here in Europe, there is a tradition of art songs - German Lieder, French mélodies, Portuguese canções, Spanish canciones. The equivalent of art songs in the Philippines is the KUNDIMAN, which is in ¾ time signature with a verse from a minor key going to a major key. The beautiful art form was greatly influenced by Spanish music along with several folk music in different regions in the Philippines. In Madrid, a Soprano named Manila Adap, who hails from San Pablo,Laguna collaborated with Spanish Tenor Nacho Bas to bring a well-loved Filipino song to Spanish audience.
Manila Adap arrived 23 years ago in Spain in her early 20’s. She is a language teacher and translator who loves all genres of music - from pop, broadway, and opera. As a child, she listened to classical music on the radio and to her parents who were members of a church choir. She participated in ECOMAC events in Laguna College when she was in high school. She attended the “La arquitectura del Sonido” masterclass of Montserrat Caballe in 2009 and finished her professional degree in music major in Voice in 2014.
She composed and interpreted the song “Unidos por la Diversidad”- the official hymn for the anti-racism campaign in European football in the year 2004-2005 in Barcelona which gave her an award from Leganes town hall. She collaborated as a soloist soprano at La Favorita -Fundacion Operistica de Navarra in 2017 and as a guest soprano at official functions of the Philippine Embassy and Consulates in Spain since 2004. She performed in the Concierto Rizalino” in partnership with the Association of Knights of Rizal in 2011 and the Galeon de Manila Cultural Association in 2017. She also brought Filipino music when she gave a full-concert at the Portuguese Festival “Terras sem Sombra” in 2019. She considers promoting Filipino music in Spain as her greatest accomplishment, sharing our diverse and rich culture to European audiences.
Among Manila Adap’s inspirations are Lea Salonga, Soprano Lisette Oropesa and La Divina-Maria Callas. In general, she thinks that musicians and artists experience a variety of challenges but as a singer, keeping the voice healthy up to the actual performance or event is a great challenge as well as singing while you are sick. In addition, accepting rejections from auditions with grace can be quite difficult. She collaborated with Spanish Tenor Nacho Bas in 2021, wherein they recorded the song “Ili-ili, Tulog Anay” under Aombra Records. She will be participating in the “Festival de Música Iberoamericana de Madrid (FIMIM)" on May 22,2022 and will showcase Filipino music in the said event.
“Keep honing your musical talents and be friendly to everyone who likes to hear you sing…” Manila Adap’s advice to aspiring Filipino musicians in Europe.
Tenor Nacho Bas started singing publicly when he was 9 years old as a soloist of La Escolania and started studying solfege and piano with music teachers from the Conservatorio de Madrid. He graduated at the Escuela Superior de Canto de Madrid and also received a diploma in opera at L’Accademia Verdiana di Busseto. His mentors include Soprano Delmira Olivera, Francisco Ortiz, and Carlo Bergonzi. He is currently affiliated with Coro RTVE and artistic director/music producer of Lirica Time. He attended masterclasses with the acclaimed tenor Carlo Bergonzi, Francisco Ortiz and with Maestro Nicola della Santina at Accademia Giovanni All’Opera.
Although he is inclined with operas, zarzuelas, and oratorios, he said he loves to experiment and explore other genres of music. He finds Filipino music very interesting and filled with emotions, coupled with instrumental richness that is different from Western music which is filled with nuances. His collaboration with Soprano Manila Adap came up because of their shared interest in making a fusion out of different cultures and musical concepts. It was a great experience, and he finds it very interesting. They recorded “Ili-ili, Tulog Anay” with Aombra Music Productions in 2021 and he wanted to do a version of the Filipino song “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” soon. He thinks Filipino songs are melancholic and very expressive which draws us closer together in music. Its profound expressiveness transports you to Filipino culture. He thinks the intimacy and delicacy of Filipino music are some of the intertwining factors of both Filipino and Spanish music.
He would love to collaborate with other Filipino musicians as well. Future engagements include Roc Opera at the Teatro Monumental de Madrid for the Spanish television which is a fusion of rock and classical music and little bit of opera and zarzuela. He is also finishing the recording of the last singles of his album “Solare” composed of opera arias which will be available soon in all digital platforms.
“To all young and aspiring musicians, please do not stop training and honing your skills. Be patient until vocal maturity arrives and do not accept all the roles being offered to you and love this profession…” said Spanish tenor Nacho Bas. Visit www.nachobas.com and