BIOGRAPHY AND WIKIPEDIA: Legendary singer and “Queen of Kundiman” Sylvia La Torre has died at age 89 KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Thursday, December 1, 2022

BIOGRAPHY AND WIKIPEDIA: Legendary singer and “Queen of Kundiman” Sylvia La Torre has died at age 89

Legendary singer and “Queen of Kundiman” Sylvia La Torre has died at age 89.

Her death was confirmed by her granddaughter, actress Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, in an Instagram post on Friday, December 2.

Anna said that Sylvia died on December 1 at 7:02 am in the presence of her husband of 68 years, Celso Perez de Tagle, and their children Artie, Bernie, and Cheche.

“My grandmother was my first inspiration when it came to singing and acting. She was my first vocal coach and taught me all of her kundimans. Thank you for passing on your love of music to me and I will surely continue your legacy,” Anna said.

“Gone too soon but always in our hearts. Your song has ended but your melody will linger on. Love you Mama Cita,” she added.

Born in 1933, Sylvia started her singing career at the young age of five, when she won a singing competition in Manila. She appeared in her first film at seven years old, in 1941’s Ang Maestra, and made her stage debut two years later, soon becoming a regular performer at the Manila Grand Opera House.

Even as a working singer, she sought out a formal education in music at the University of Santo Tomas’ Conservatory of Music, where she was a scholar.

In the 1950s, she began recording what would amount to over 300 songs, including the folk songs “Sa Kabukiran,” “Mutya ng Pasig,” and “Waray Waray.” For this she was dubbed “Queen of Kundiman.”

Eventually, she found her footing in radio and television, making her mark as the co-host of the TV show Oras ng Ligaya in the ‘60s, earning her the moniker “First Lady of Philippine Television.”

“RIP to my grandmother, Ms. Sylvia La Torre Perez de Tagle. First Lady of Philippine Television, Queen of Kundiman and Tandang Sora Awardee, devoted wife of Dr. Celso Perez de Tagle, loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, caring auntie, and affectionate friend, died peacefully in her sleep on December 1st at 7:02 am. At the time of her death, she was with her husband, of 68 years and her children, Artie, Bernie and Che-Che, “ she wrote.

Balik Samahan, the Manila-based organization of veteran artists, also mourned the death of Torre. 

“Nakakalungkot,” Pempe Rodrigo told ABS-CBN News, citing the passing on this year of their colleagues Susan Roces, Gloria Sevilla and earlier on Lilia Dizon, journalist Ricky Lo and other affiliated members of the group. 

“I knew her since we were very young. Napaka-natural niya at hindi plastik,“ Rodrigo said. “We would have a reunion every time andito siya sa Manila. Nakakalungkot, nabawasan na naman kami.” 

Best known for her crystal rendition of Manuel Velez and Levi Celerio’s 
 “Sa Kabukiran,” Torre started as a child singer on film in “Ang Maestra” in 1941 and went on to become an actress in several comedies in the 1950s. 
Torre also recorded hundreds of kundiman and Pinoy novelty songs including “Waray Waray,” “Mutya ng Pasig,” “No Money No Honey,” “Alembong,” “ Sa Libis ng Nayon,” “Kalesa,” “Peksman,” “No Touch, Filipino Kostum,” and others. 

She also became a household name in the 1960s in the long-running ABS-CBN early evening variety show “Oras ng Ligaya” as well as other TV programs.

She continued acting in film until the 1990s in such movies as “Jack n Jill” with Sharon Cuneta, and “Ligaw Ligawan, Kasal Kasalan, Bahay Bahayan” and “Biyudo si Mister, Biyudo si Mommy”. 

Torre continued her singing career when she and her family migrated to the United States, constantly advocating for the preservation and promotion of Philippine music. 

Her granddaughter, theater musical artist Anna Maria Maria Perez de Tagle, joined her in many stage appearances for Filipino-American communities. 

“My grandmother was my first inspiration when it came to singing and acting. She was my first vocal coach and taught me all of her kundimans," recalled Anna Maria.

"Thank you for passing on your love of music to me and I will surely continue your legacy. Gone too soon but always in our hearts. Your song has ended but your melody will linger on. Love you, Mama Cita. “ 

The Tagle family has yet to finalize memorial services for the kundiman icon. 

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