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PLANTING RICE (Magtanim Hindi Biro) -KATY DE LA CRUZ


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\"Magtanim Hindi Biro\" is a popular Tagalog Folk Song. Presented here is the interpretation of Katy de la Cruz with a mix of English and Tagalog lyrics. Audio from a vintage 78 RPM shellac phonograph record publish by RCA Victor (USA). Recorded initially for Filipinos in the United States, it carried the English title \"Planting Rice\". This is Katy de la Cruz's first known recording. A copy of this recording is presently up for sale at Ebay for 5,000 pesos! Grabe!

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KATY DE LA CRUZ
(1907-1997)

Katy De la Cruz was born on February 13, 1907, in Intramuros, Manila. Even as a young child, Katy would be hired to sing at town fiestas, and at intermissions during cockfights and boxing matches. Her formal schooling ended at the third grade.

In 1914, when Katy was seven, she was hired by the owner of a Manila film theater to sing to the audiences in between movie screenings. Such performances were typical in Manila theaters during that period, and from those routines would emerge a distinct genre eventually known as 'Bodabil'. Katy learned her songs through listening to phonograph records, and mastered the English language with the help of her brother.

By the age of thirteen, Katy was a rising star in the 'bodabil' circuit, performing alongside other leading stage performers such as Atang de la Rama. She soon became a solo headliner, performing in Manila's largest theaters such as the Savoy, the Palace, and the Lux. By 1925, Katy was the highest paid entertainer in the Philippines. She fell in love, and later married, the piano player of her stage show. Some of the chorus girls who performed alongside her onstage, such as Chichay, Etang Discher, Patsy, and Mary Walter, later become prominent entertainers in their own right.

Katy was acknowledged as a proficient performer of torch songs who drew comparisons to Sophie Tucker. Initially, her signature tune was the bluesy ballad St. Louis Blues. After jazz became popular in the Philippines in the 1920s, Katy adapted her singing style and soon mastered the art of scat singing, which became a trademark of hers. By the 1930s, Katy would be most identified with the song 'Balut', a fast-paced jazzy tune written by Jerry Brandy. Katy's take on the song, which afforded her to showcase her scatting ability, has been described as impish and rustic, rounded out by her low, playfully dragging key. A slightly bawdy take on the notorious Filipino culinary delicacy, 'Balut' remains popular to date, with versions performed by the Mabuhay Singers, New Minstrels, Pilita Corrales etc.

Katy occasionally acted in films, most prominently in Inspirasyon (1953), for which she received the FAMAS Best Supporting Actress Award in 1953.Many of her films were for Sampaguita Pictures.

As 'bodabil' slowly declined, Katy concentrated on concert performances and international tours. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, she was a top-billed performer at the famed Forbidden City nightclub in San Francisco. In 1961, she starred in her own stage show in Las Vegas. Katy also performed concert tours in Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and Hawaii.

Katy eventually retired to San Francisco, California,though she would occasionally perform until the late 1980s. In 1989, she visited the Philippines to attend the premiere at the Cultural Center of the Philippines of 'Katy!', a highly-publicized stage musical based on her life. Ill health caused Katy to retire from public life in the 1990s. She died on November 10, 2004, at the age of 97.

REFERENCE:
Cultural Center of the Philippines Encyclopedia of Philippine Art. Vol VI pp. 287. ; Vol VII pp. 68--70.


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