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Antoine Reynaldo Diel was born into a musical family in Manila, Philippines and grew up singing in church and at community events. After the family moved to Los Angeles, he studied vocal arts in both high-school and college. He’s done opera, musicals, solo and choral concerts of both sacred and secular music and performed regularly with the Three Filipino Tenors, Vaud and the Villains and the Orchestre Surreal.
Antoine had made the move to New Orleans in 2013 to get involved in the local music scene when Panorama clarinetist Ben Schenck heard him at the Spotted Cat with his band The Misfit Power. They struck up a friendship and Ben, enchanted with Antoine’s tone (and it’s notes of honey, velvet and liquid gold) eventually brought up the idea of a collaboration. Antoine suggested they record "Dahil Sa Iyo" ("Because of You") and, although it took a couple years, Ben began studying the song, imagining a Panorama take on it and organizing a session.
"Dahil Sa Iyo" had its original premier in the 1938 Filipino movie "Bituing Marikit" ("Marvelous Stars") and represents a traditional form of Filipino serenade called Kundiman. It crossed over to the US largely due to the English lyric by Tom Spinosa and has been recorded by Nat King Cole among others.
Antoine first sings it in the original Tagalog (the national language of the Philippines) then delivers an English version. He suggested we set it in the tempo of a Cuban bolero (with Doug Garrison overdubbing bongos) while Ben envisioned the sound of a National Steel guitar (played by Georgi Petrov) to evoke a bit of a South Pacific tone. This session also marks the only time since our first album in 2003 (Another Hot Night In February) where we’ve recorded using string bass (here played by Martin Masakowski ) instead of tuba.
Sa buhay ko’y labis
Ang hirap at pasakit,
Ng pusong umiibig
Mandi’y wala ng langit
At ng lumigaya, hinango mo sa dusa
Tanging ikaw sinta, ang aking pag-asa.
Dahil sa iyo, nais kong mabuhay
Dahil Sa Iyo, hanggang mamatay
Dapat mong tantuin, wala ng ibang giliw
Puso ko’y tanungin, ikaw at ikaw rin.
Dahil sa iyo, ako’y lumigaya
Pagmamahal, ay alayan ka
Kung tunay man ako, ay alipinin mo
Ang lahat sa buhay ko, dahil sa iyo.
Because of you, there’s a joy in living.
Because of you, life is heavenly.
I never lived before, never felt a single thrill before,
My heart stood still before, Darlin’ I’m in ecstasy.
Because of you, love is sweet and tender.
And this my love I will offer you:
If you will care for me, all things to you I’ll be.
My heart is ever true because of you.
English translation of Tagalog lyric:
Long have I endured in my life.
The pain and sorrows from Love arise.
Then you came and redeemed me, my dear,
My only hope in my darkest fears.
Because of you, I yearn to be alive.
Because of you, ‘til death (you) must realize
In my heart I know there is only you.
And ask my heart, you’ll know that this is true.
Because of you, I found happiness.
That to you I offer this love that is so blessed.
Though indeed I may be a slave for loving you so true
It matters not to me, ‘cause everything’s because of you.
from Song-of-the-Month Club: Good Music For You ,
track released October 1, 2017
Recorded May 10, 2017 at Oak Street Recording, New Orleans, LA
Antoine Diel with the Panorama Jazz Band
Antoine Diel – Vocal
Ben Schenck – Clarinet
Tomas Majcherski – Alto Saxophone
Charlie Halloran – Trombone
Michael Ward-Bergeman – Accordion
Georgi Petrov – Tenor Guitar
Martin Masakowski – String Bass
Doug Garrison – Drum set, Bongos
Music by Miguel Velarde Jr, Lyrics (Tagalog) by Dominador Santiago and (English) Tom Spinosa
and arranged by Ben Schenck (Snack Daddy Music/ASCAP) and Antoine Diel (AN21DLMusic/BMI). Recorded, edited, mixed and mastered by Lu Rojas at Oak Street Recording, New Orleans, LA
Photograph of Antoine Diel by James Demaria.
Graphic design by Ben Schenck
Extra special thanks to New Orleans fret-man Matt Bell for the loan of his new National Steel tenor guitar before he even had a chance to get his hands on it!