After years of physical and digital unavailability, “One Christmas,” the landmark a cappella holiday album by National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, is now officially up for streaming on various music-streaming platforms.
The 10-track collection was produced by Telesis Records in 1991 and stayed in the market for years, before curiously disappearing from the shelves. But with Viva Music’s recent acquisition of Ivory Records—the original distributor of the said album—“One Christmas” can now be enjoyed by everyone and provide some much-needed variety to Filipino revelers’ Christmas playlists.
“This year, the album resurfaced through Viva. And although I only know vaguely how it meandered its sway to an online release, it gives me great joy to see it in the market again,” Cayabyab told the Inquirer.
In 1981, Cayabyab put out “One,” a groundbreaking album of original songs and Filipino classics that had the eminent composer weaving together more than a dozen variations of his voice to simulate the sound of a vocal ensemble or a choir singing a cappella. He also served as the arranger and producer.
Ten years later, Cayabyab — together with Telesis’ Margot Gallardo and sound engineer Monching Payumo — used that very same concept for what would have been his first Christmas album.
“‘One Christmas’ was recorded in 1991, 10 years after ‘One’ was recorded and released… This makes ‘One Christmas’ a 32-year-old project done in analog format without the help of a pitch editor, like Melodyne,” he said.
True to form, the one-man multitrack a cappella album is a colorful mix of well-loved carols and new compositions, which vacillated from joyous and festive anthems to more haunting, sentimental pieces.
“Like ‘One,’ I went for traditional Filipino songs — this time, with Christmas as the theme, and added a couple of original songs such as: ‘Heto Na Naman,’ ‘Ano’ng Gagawin Mo Ngayong Pasko?’ and ‘Kumukutikutitap’ (written with Jose Javier Reyes),” Cayabyab said.
National Artist Felipe de Leon’s “Pasko Na Naman” was used as a binder music for the album, which also includes “Ang Aking Pamasko” by Antonio Velarde and National Artist Levi Celerio; “Maligayang Pasko at Masaganang Bagong Taon” (Vicente Rubi and Celerio); “Himig Pasko” by Serapio Ramos; and “Payapang Daigdig” (De Leon).
Sprinkling of pop
There’s also a sprinkling of contemporary pop tunes like “Miss Kita Kung Christmas” (Hermie Uy and Fe Ayala) and “Pasko Na Sinta Ko” (Francis Dandan and Aurelio Estanislao).
Some of the recordings of the traditional tracks in the said album, Cayabyab pointed out, would later serve as the basis of orchestrations and arrangements of his subsequent Christmas albums, “Pasko 1” and “Pasko 2” (San Miguel Foundation for the Performing Arts) in the mid-2000s.
Unfortunately, these two albums aren’t officially available on digital platforms. “I’m still praying that they get released in the market, too, in observance of the unique Filipino Christmas celebrations during this season of love!” Cayabyab said.
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