The CompanY goes experimental in new album

 The CompanY goes experimental in new album
The CompanY

VOCAL group The CompanY explores musical styles with new renditions of familiar songs in their latest album, Gitna.

The CompanY was formed in 1985 by its original members who were from the touring batches of the Ateneo College Glee Club. It was named after Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical Company. The group performs contemporary jazz and a cappella music. The CompanY initially performed as back-up vocalists for pop stars in the 1980s before becoming professional recording artists themselves. They have shared the stage with The Manhattan Transfer, Jim Brickman, Michael Bublé, Noel Pointer, and John Ford Coley.

The group currently consists of four singers — Annie Quintos, and Moy Ortiz who are remaining founding members, as well as Sweet Plantado and OJ Mariano.

Gitna — their first release under ABS-CBN’s Star Music – is The CompanY’s 29th studio album. It showcases pop, jazz, electronica, dance, acoustic folk, and indigenous instruments.

The album key track is also titled “Gitna.”

TALKING GITNA

During a press launch held online on March 22, Mr. Ortiz said that they decided on Gitna as the name of the album because of the term’s ambiguity.

“There is old-school OPM and new OPM [in the album]. In a way, it is like you are crossing the middle — half foot in tradition and comfort music and the other is looking forward and progress,” Mr. Ortiz said.

Ms. Plantado said the group chose the song “Gitna,” composed and originally performed by Davey Langit (2019), as the key track for its uniqueness. Their rendition is a duet and the bridge has the theatrical texture of sung and spoken lyrics.

“We chose a lot of songs from Star Music’s catalogue but we decided to zoom in on this because it’s not the usual love story and the way it combines the lyrics and melody is different,” Ms. Plantado said of “Gitna.” “Moy also had this idea to make it a duet so when he gave it to me and OJ — it brought a different color to the song,” she explained.

It references the group’s experience amidst the changing tides and disruptions in music and contemporary living.

“It’s always good to look back [at the past] and learn from that. Take what you have learned, leave the pain, and carry on,” Ms. Plantado said.

The music video of “Gitna” premieres today at 8 p.m. on Star Music’s YouTube channel.

“When we were doing the confrontation rap part, may kakaibang gigil na nangyari (there was a different overwhelming feeling),” Mr. Mariano said about shooting the music video, adding that he and Ms. Plantado — both also stage ac-tors — were eager to act again.

OLD SCHOOL, NEW SCHOOL

The 10-track album consists of previously released songs “Sumakabilang Puso,” “‘Sang Tawag Mo Lang,” “Disco Plantito, Disco Plantita,” “Sa May Bintana,” and “Walang Sayang.”

The other songs are The CompanY’s versions of “Kumusta Ka” (written by Rey Valera), “Hideaway” (composed by National Artist Ryan Cayabyab), “Sukob Na” (penned by Edgar Frasco Mortiz and Alexeeb Flores), and “Ambon” (written by Nica Del Rosario).

Mr. Ortiz also served as the vocal arranger for all the songs and co-produced the album. It was a new experience to arrange a new styles in music production he said.

“The challenge was with the songs of the new generation songwriters, the way they compose music now is not so much formulaic — you can’t predict where the structure and melody of the song will go, and this is evident in ‘Gitna,’” Mr. Ortiz said.

“It was always about finding our way in the music industry. I think it’s only now that we know ourselves more, we know our music more, what we can give, and what we need to work on still,” Ms. Quintos said.

Gitna is now available on various digital music platforms. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman