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My Harana: A Filipino Serenade by Clamor Charmaine

Harana is a type of music from the Philippines that encompasses the smooth folksy nocturnes and rootsy serenade stylizing of the South Pacific, which became famous in the Hawaiian-themed movies starring Elvis Presley during the late 1950’s. Singer Charmaine Clamor marvelously demonstrates these island-motifs and wispy lullaby melodies as precious gems encrusted in world music holdings in her latest release Harana: A Filipino Serenade. The music is fraught with warm tones and buttery smoothness that complement Clamor’s refined timbres, soothing purrs and caressive strokes topped with an affectionate touch relatable to Dianne Reeves and Jane Monheit.

Clamor’s vocals have a demure glide as she grazes lovingly across the milky passages and soft melodic swirls, nuzzling around the bends effortlessly with a coquettish squirming. Her pitch is angelic, its density is plush and her movements are fluid as she wraps her vocals entirely around the melodic curves savoring every square inch of them with a savant’s instinct. Her songs show purity in the ethnic accents engraved with a slow babbling stir and folksy rhythmic pulses, which bolster an island savvy bathed in soft hip-swaying grooves.

Everything about Clamor’s songs elicit a succor effect from the sparse instrumentation to her laid-back vocal style. She sings every tune, with the exception of the lover’s serenade "Lapis," in her native Filipino language. The flowy riffs of "O Ilaw" ease into a bulwark of pacifying esthetics, while whimpering inflections pierce the languid silhouettes floating across "Pakiusap" and "Lahat Ng Araw" expressing sorrow and longing in the smooth rolling acoustics. Clamor‘s duet with island singer/guitarist Mon David in "Minamahal, Sinasamba" is a stirring serenade with nocturnal fibers and rootsy shimmers, and Clamor’s soulful yearning in "Ay Kalisud" is beautifully pollinated in calmly rowed acoustics. The torch song "Dungawin Mo Hirang" has a French-tilt in the folksy sprinkles, and the silky threads pinning "Harana Sa Dilim" have a cushiony vibe emitting a sense of hope and happiness through the gently coasting channels. The final track "Lapis," which is the only song that Clamor sings in English, has a somber tone as Clamor wails like a woman calling out to her lover in the night, gliding effortlessly across the glistening channels which echo fragrantly in the listener’s ears.

Harana: A Filipino Serenade unveils Charmaine Clamor’s distinctive talent and artistry that has made her one of America's most leading Filipina jazz and world vocalists. Harana: A Filipino Serenade follows her debut disc, Searching for the Soul (2005) and her second recording Flipping’ Out (2007). Her songs are a hybrid of American-jazz, French-balladry and South Pacific roots, which music writers have dubbed "jazzipino." Originally from the provincial town of Subic-Zambales, Charmaine Clamor began her singing career at age 3, entertaining passengers (whether they liked it or not) in the back of buses traveling to Manila. Charmaine Clamor is a founding member of JazzPhil-USA, a non-profit organization that promotes jazz artists of Filipino descent in the United States. Her latest album has its heart in South Pacific roots while dipping her fingers in a number of influences harbored in the honey-pop patches of world music. Like the South Pacific, the album is a picture of island beauty.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Clamor Charmaine
  • CD Title: My Harana: A Filipino Serenade
  • Genre: World Music
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: FreeHam Records
  • Tracks: O Ilaw, Pakiusap, Mekeni King Siping Ku, Pamulinawen, Lahat Ng Araw, Minamahal Sinasamba, Ay Kalisud, Malinac Lay Labi, Dungawin Mo Hirang, Matud Nila, Harana Sa Dilim, Labis
  • Musicians: Richard Ickard (guitar, bandurria, laud, kutiyapi, kulintang), Dominic Thiroux (bass), Gustavo Garcia (percussion), Mon David (vocals, guitar)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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