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Levi Celerio, National Artist for Music
About the National Artist
Levi Celerio (April 30, 1910 – April 2, 2002) is a Filipino composer and lyricist.
He received a scholarship to the Academy of Music in Manila and became the youngest member of the Manila Symphony Orchestra. He wrote several number of songs for local movies, which earned for him the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Film Academy of the Philippines. Celerio has written lyrics for more than 4,000 Filipino folk, Christmas, and love songs, including many that became movie titles.
Known for being a good lyricist, his songs cherish life, convey nationalistic sentiments and utter grand philosophies. Celerio wrote more than 4,000 songs, among them are popular pieces, which many consider to be immortal. Some of his popular love songs include: Saan Ka Man Naroroon?, Kahit Konting Pagtingin, Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal, Kapag Puso’y Sinugatan, and Ikaw, O Maliwanag na Buwan, Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak,Sa Ugoy ng Duyan, Bagong Pagsilang, and Sapagkat Kami’y Tao Lamang, while his folk songs include Ang Pipit, Tinikling, Tunay na Tunay, Itik-Itik, Waray-Waray, Pitong Gatang, Ako ay May Singsing, Alibangbang, Alembong, Galawgaw, Caprichosa, Ang Tapis ni Inday, Dungawin Mo Hirang, Umaga na Neneng, Ikaw Kasi, and Basta’t Mahal Kita. Celerio also wrote nationalistic songs such as Ang Bagong Lipunan, Lupang Pangarap, and Tinig ng Bayan.
Celerio is probably best recognized for being a leaf-player, an achievement where he was place into the Guinness Book of World Records as the only man who could play music with a leaf. On October 9, 1997, he was proclaimed National Artist for Music and Literature. His citation read that his music “was a perfect embodiment of the heartfelt sentiments and valued traditions of the Filipino.”
He died at the Delgado Clinic in Quezon City on April 2, 2002 at the age of 91.
Continue reading about Freeway x Levi Celerio National Artist Collectors Series Fall 2012 here.