National Artist for Music and Literature Levi Celerio inspires fashion

IMAGE Demai G. Sunio-Granali

After she performed Levi Celerio's “Saan Ka Man Naroroon,” and his other Filipino classics, Pilita Corales said of the National Artist for Music: "Nobody makes music quite like Mang Levi anymore. He is just pure genius!"


Over the past few years, clothing company Freeway has been promoting Filipino culture with collections inspired by the works of our National Artists.

On June 4, at The Row in Glorietta 5, Makati, the brand launched its latest venture—this time in the realm of music—featuring the works of composer and lyricist Levi Celerio.

The clothes, which were displayed at the venue, had styles and prints that depict the life and music of Celerio.

One was a leaf design symbolizing his achievement recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records for being "the only leaf player in the world...." At a U.S. TV show, he rendered a song by using a leaf like a harmonica.

Celerio was proclaimed National Artist for Music and Literature in 1997. He composed some 4,000 songs, including the classic tunes “Saan Ka Man Naroroon,” “Kahit Konting Pagtingin,” and “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan,” before he passed away in 2002. His remains now lie at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Even folk songs like “Ang Pipit,” “Tinikling,” “Itik-Itik,” “Waray-Waray,” and “Pitong Gatang;” and nationalistic tracks such as “Ang Bagong Lipunan” and “Tinig Ng Bayan” are among his long list of musical creations.

Asia’s Queen of Songs, Pilita Corales, graced the launch to perform some of Celerio’s songs, which she covered in her 2008 tribute album Saan Ka Man Naroroon: Remembering Levi Celerio.

As one of the judges in the upcoming reality talent show X Factor Philippines on ABS-CBN, Pilita noted, “You know, I hear kids sing everyday on the show during auditions and all I hear are these pop songs na puro na lang foreign.

“Nobody makes music quite like Mang Levi anymore. He is just pure genius!”

Actress G Tongi, Freeway’s first celebrity endorser, hosted the gathering. Cultural historian and music critic Dr. Antonio Hila gave a speech about the wonderful stories behind the music of Levi Celerio.

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