December Avenue tips hat to Rico Blanco with version of ‘Umaaraw, Umuulan’

Published September 3, 2020, 8:32 AM

by Jojo Panaligan

December Avenue

Pop-rock band December Avenue is in the music project “Rico Blanco Songbook.”

The band was revealed by Viva Records recently as first of many acts that have recorded re-imagined versions of Rico Blanco’s most memorable songs.

December Avenue did their version of Rivermaya classic “Umaaraw, Umuulan.” Zel Bautista, lead singer of December Avenue, said it’s always been their favorite as everyone in his band thinks it is one of Rico’s best works. Keyboard player Gelo Cruz especially likes the positive lyrics.

“‘Umaaraw, Umuulan’ is a reminder that life isn’t just a smooth sailing sea. We’ll always be ravaged by storms. To succumb to it would yield nothing, braving it would lead us to a better and sunnier place,” he said in a statement sent to Bulletin Entertainment.

Zel recalled being approached by Viva Records for the project.

“We were excited and honored to pay tribute to one of OPM’s greatest songwriter,” he said. “Rico is one of my musical heroes. Growing up listening to his songs heavily influenced my passion for music.”

December Avenue drummer Jet Danao echoed that the former Rivermaya frontman is one of his inspirations too.

Gelo found the experience of recording the Rico Blanco tribute track was “fun and nerve-wracking.”

“Rico played keys too, he wrote the song, he knows it by heart, so I did my best to serve the song and not ruin a masterpiece,” he said.

Guitarist Jem Manuel’s approach was more intrinsic. “Its special when you become honest with the music. When you serve the song.”

Bass player Don Gregorio said it simply but powerfully: “Isa si Rico Blanco sa pinakamahusay na songwriter, singer at performer sa Pilipinas.”

“Umaaraw, Umuulan” by December Avenue is set for release on all streaming platforms on Sept. 4.