Leah Lopez Navarro was still in her late teens when she became a major pop-music star in the Philippines in the 1970s-1980s. Born to a well-off family, Leah’s mom is Nelda Lopez Navarro, a singer herself who used have her own TV program The Nelda Navarro show. Leah was practically convent-bred and finished college at Assumption College in Makati City, around the time alumna Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was teaching there.
Her singing talent was discovered while still in school and she went on to sing pop music hits of the 1970s-1980s such as “Kailangan Kita” and “Saan Ako Nagkamali “(both by George Canseco, “Lagi na Lang” (by Nonong Pedero) and “Ang Pag-ibig Kong”. Her interpretation of “Isang Mundo, Isang Awit” won the Grand Prize in the annual Metro Manila Popular Music Festival of 1976 then actively sponsored by Imee and Irene Marcos, presidential daughters and music aficionados.
Like many Filipino singers in the 1970s, Basil S. Valdez started on a solo career as a folk singer. In 1972, he joined the Circus Band and soon after it disbanded, he released his first solo album entitled “Ngayon at Kailanman”. While in the Circus Band, he met Ryan Cayabyab, who was then part of another band. When Valdez was preparing tracks for the album “Ngayon at Kailanman”, he asked Cayabyab to collaborate with and write a few songs for him, which the composer did. Cayabyab then became Valdez’s musical director for 27 years. In the 80’s, Valdez re-invented himself as a singer of movie theme songs. Among the most memorable were “Paano Ba Ang Mangarap,” “Muling Buksan Ang Puso” and “Paraisong Parisukat.”
In the nineties he had throat cancer which unfortunately sidelined his singing career. However, he recovered and found himself as a “healer”. Valdez then sought the guidance of his Jesuit friends. They explained to him that he has gift of healing and with a voice like that we don’t disagree.
Please forgive the bit of compression at beginning and end. Listen Below.