Born: June 15 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Recognized as one of the most individual and creative jazz vocalists in today's Japan jazz circuit. Acclaimed by critics, musicians and audiences as one of the most powerful and talented artists, she has definitely notched a place for herself in Japan's exclusive music world, and is now gaining note abroad. She has ten albums released with most recordings done in US, Canada and Brazil.
Her highly personal and expressive vocal style incorporates the breadth of her musical interests, from straight-ahead soulful ballads to hard-swinging grooves and improvisational adventures. Her approach is fresh and invigorating, paying tribute to the jazz tradition while interacting and exploring, always seeking to express herself in the moment.
In Ms. Nancy Wilson's words, The first time I heard Charito, I physically and emotionally embraced her and thought myself BEAUTIFUL, that came from the heart and the soul. She has a warm way of presenting a song and she represents what a singer really is, a song stylist. This Girl (1990)
Her career began its highlights after her first album This Girl was launched in 1990 by Nippon Crown, being the first foreign artist under their label. This opened more doors for her followed by her next albums commercial successes.
More than anything, her experiences working with top notch musicians in the likes of Harry Whitaker, Alex Blake and Wallace Rooney on Swing My Way (1991/NIPPON CROWN), Maurice White on Shades of Love (1992/NIPPON CROWN), collaboration with Cornell Dupree, Buddy Williams, David Espinozza on Love of My Life (1993/NIPPON CROWN), added prestige to her work and has helped in making her a figure in today's music world.
In projecting herself as an artist, she included in her albums two famous Philippine love songs partly to affirm her roots as a Filipino. She promotes a more positive image of her country and continuously helps bring about cultural awareness through music. For her efforts, she was honored with an award of commendation as Ambassador of Goodwill, in acknowledgment of her support to the promotional activities of the Philippine department of Tourism in Japan.
This talented artist has already entranced the North American audience during a 1995 tour in Chicago, New York, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal as vocalist for the Asian Jazz All Stars headed by Terumasa Hino, Japan's foremost jazz trumpet player. In 1996, they also toured Korea, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan, capped by a performance at the Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival held in Yokohama Japan.
Charito also performed for the first time before a 70,000 audience at the Montreal Jazz Festival in July 1996 (a first for a Philippine artist). This was followed by the release of her album Forevermore (1995/ NIPPON CROWN) and later in Canada and the US under Lost Chart label making her mark as a world class act. In 1997, she was part of the Lost Chart Ensemble, a French Canadian group for a tour in Canada and for a second time at the Montreal Jazz Festival. During this period she did recordings for two new albums, A Time for Love (1998/LOST CHART) and To the Beat of Your Heart (1999/TOP CHART) for international market.
In 1998, she toured several major cities in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, Chengdu) as featured vocalist of the Lost Chart Ensemble for the Beijing Jazz Festival showcase, followed by shows in Tokyo, as part of the promotional tour.
In 1999, she performed at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in Kuala Lumpur with ASIANA, a group formed by Jeremy Monteiro composed of some of the best Asian musicians in both jazz and traditional instruments. They played an interesting blend of music mixing ethnic sounds with jazz harmony and improvisation.
The year 2000 was highlighted by several performances outside Japan. She was vocalist for World Jazz All Stars, a group of renowned jazz musicians formed by Terumasa Hino for inaugural concerts and workshop series held at the newly opened LG Arts Center in Seoul, Korea.
2001 was a turning point for Charito when her attention was diverted towards charity work. She formed Because We Care Group using music as the key channel to take meaningful actions and effective programs to increase awareness among concerned citizens by helping those in need, especially the children. Charito has since then held annual concerts and charity shows where proceeds have gone to various centers and organizations working for children in the Japan and the Philippines.
2002 brought on more international collaboration at the Jazz Club in Hongkong, performances with Lonnie Plaxico and his New York band, gigs with Brazilian Paulo Gomez and friends, highlighted with a special guest performance with the world renowned Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.
In 2003, They Say It's Wonderful (2003/CT MUSIC) was released , which she co-produced with Lonnie Plaxico in New York featuring jazz greats Mulgrew Miller, Lewis Nash and Jeremy Pelt. In this recording, Charito once again ventured into a new challenge using unique arranging ideas she helped conceive and then written by Manabu Ohishi, the music director in her band. This year was also highlighted with performances at the Kuchan Jazz Festival, Asahi Jazz Festival and NHK session 505.
2004 marked a new turning point in Charito's career when she teamed up with world famous musician Ivan Lins and released the album Non-Stop To Brazil Charito meets Ivan Lins (2004/CT MUSIC) recorded in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Thick, rich, sensuous - jazz-pop vocal arrangements by Ivan and Charito makes this Afro Latin rhythm album very special. This album won her the Swing Journal's Gold Disc Award.
This same year she was invited by and performed with Jan Jarczyk's group at the Krakow Jazz festival in Poland representing Japan. She was also invited as faculty for the first time at the Chodziez International Jazz Workshop teaching Polish and international students. Her work earned her much credit and has certainly opened a lot of doors for in Europe, she has been officially invited to do more concerts and to be part of the workshop in the coming years. Charito runs her own voice workshop in Tokyo.
In 2005, Charito's career was off to a good start with the Best Vocal Award 2004 by the Swing Journal for her album Non-Stop to Brazil. But Charito is not one to rest on her laurels. Charito continues to perfect her craft and wow audiences in Japan and internationally.
Charito and her Latin Jazz Funk Band was featured as one of the highlights at the Tokyo Jazz 2005 at Tokyo Big Sight where many big name artists from Japan and around the world converge in one stage to bring a dream performance crossing generations and borders. She also performed as part of the Super Unit Session led by Herbie Hancock with Marcus Miller, Ivan Lins among others.
2006 brought on great excitement with her New York recording with the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra. Arranged and conducted by David Matthews, this album was the very first MJO collaboration with a vocalist.
Nica's Dream (2006/CT MUSIC) CD launch in June also marked the first club gig ever performed by MJO with Charito. She was also guest at some shows for their SWING, SWING, SWING! Japan Tour 2006, then highlighted at the performance in Suntory Hall in Tokyo. This album received great reviews and was awarded the Swing Journal Gold Disc.
This year she also performed for the first time in Augsburg, Germany for the Augustana Hall's jazz series with overwhelming reviews. Here she also conducted a master class workshop for voice students at the Downtown Music Institute. Germany has warmly welcomed Charito and plans to invite her again for festivals and events in the coming year.
In January 2007, Nica's Dream received Swing Journal's won Best Vocal Award 2006.
Awards:Swing Journal Jazz Disc Awards 2006 Best Vocal Swing Journal Gold Disk- Nica's Dream Swing Journal Jazz Disc Awards 2004 Best Vocal Swing Journal Gold Disk - Non-Stop to Brazil (2004 DDCJ-1002/CTmusic)
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.
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