CENTERFOLD January-February 2008:
CHARITO: THE ARTIST
by Christopher Santos
There is a fundamental distinction between a singer/performer and an artist. And then there are certain
dues to be paid in order to be welcomed in the league of the internationally acclaimed. Seldom would
one rise above the challenges to be successful in the field of music, and only those that have passion
and discipline for their craft can command a well-deserved and sustained respect. A true artist is
measured not by a mere celebrity status but with the quality of her work, the timeless effect of her
music, the recognition of other established musicians, and the tireless support of a following. It is an
observable fact that Filipinos are well known for having good vocal pipes. They come and they go.
However, only a uniquely gifted few can ensure the milestones that perfect their calling. And only one
has earned that place here in Japan as she consistently brings forth achievements after
accomplishments each year.
Charito is an artist. A true one.
Known as the jazz superstar in Japan, her recent works have twice in a row been awarded by the Tokyo
Swing Journal. With Asian tours in one side of the globe, she receives overwhelming accolades in
Europe. Recently, she landed in the highlight pages of German newspapers with an entire column
dedicated to detail the astounding reviews on her live performance. Not so many months passed and
her face then graces the billboards of Nice in France as she performed in Pierre Cardin's very own Palais
Bulles. Her participations are much appreciated in international jazz conventions just as her
appearances are much awaited in various international jazz festivals in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
With 11 albums to her name, recorded in Tokyo, New York, Brazil, and France, she probably has set
history and trends in becoming a first to collaborate with so many respected international icons in the
business. For one, she is the very first vocalist in the world ever to have been accompanied by the
Manhattan Jazz Orchestra as attested by her Nica's Dream album. She has either collaborated in
recording or performed with a powerhouse group of caliber musicians such as Ivan Lins, Sarah Vaughn,
Herbie Hancock, and Marcus Miller. Nothing less can be expected from someone who has performed in
front of a 70,000 audience in Montreal or one who actually conducts a workshop in Poland for one of
the most disciplined genres of music. At home, she has been featured in ABS-CBN's Bravura and other
documentaries before being a pioneer guest of the Philippine International Jazz Festival where she will
appear again in March 2008. Shortly after promoting her latest album Now and Always, she produced
and appeared in a Christmas Concert last December as part of the annual project of her Because We
Care foundation geared to help complete its own village for the homeless in the Philippines. This was
done with her own Voice Club group that she would, by the way, be spearheading again for their next
series of workshop performances.
Charito is a world-class talent. And as such, a very busy one. Still, her schedule (mostly booked even
half a year in advance) still juggles to accommodate charity works and supporting jazz awareness in the
Philippines. She is every inch an international artist yet every millimeter a Filipina at heart. And we are
very fortunate to have her based here closer to us!
It would take an entire biography to cover her every single triumph. We have visited her wesbite
(www.charito.com) and know personally that it's still a humble chronicle of her inspirational feats.
Jeepney Press has featured her twice and reported countless updates on her but here we are again, still
at awe and with so much to share with our readers as the streams of her formidable stints and charity
works are as consistently forthcoming as the artist herself.
Charito's albums are available in HMV, Amazon, and Tower records. After her big band release, her
latest album, Now and Always is dearly personal to her as it is a special edition that embodies her best
moments in her music career. The album also is a synergy with her band she fondly refers to as the
Music Virus. Carrying past works with Terumasa Hino, Wallace Rooney, Toki Hidefumi, the album
features some of the best interpretations of standard songs.
2008 is expected to be a grand year for Charito. Even with lined up European tours, international jazz
festivals and recordings, she is already in the works with new international collaborations and other
exclusive initiatives that would further solidify her position in the international jazz arena.
They say that a sure way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. With
a tower of talent like hers, Charito's challenge is to find time to rest. But as
a steward of jazz, an international persona, and a flag bearer for us, Charito is simply doing what she
enjoys best anyway.
And for this, Charito is an artist. A true one.