Throwback Thursday: Fra Lippo Lippi's Per Sorensen performs with MPO, Dec. 6, Resorts World Manila
Back in the late 1980s, as a newbie associate editor joining managing editor James Saspa at Jingle music magazine, I remember a nerd-looking guy named Edilberto Sulat Jr. applying as a contributing writer in the record reviews section. He was then still in college at the University of Santo Tomas, but demonstrated confidence and style in his writing, which he bylined with a stylized Bert Jnr.
The fun and fulfillment of writing in Jingle was that individuality and total freedom of expression were encouraged, such that Bert Jnr. could get away with his British colloquialisms and slang. At times I couldn’t dig his idiosyncrasies. But now, looking back, I realized that, somehow, he was simply plunging head-on into the type of music he preferred, including the language and culture of the people who were making it.
Bert loved listening to post-punk and new wave. It seemed he knew a lot about, for instance, Joy Division and its post-Ian Curtis incarnation, New Order, as well as virtually most contemporary European music artists. I remember one particular group he wrote about was the Norwegian band Fra Lippo Lippi.
The band became a big hit in the Philippines, on the strength of its melodic, brooding songs that were played on heavy rotation on FM radio station NU 107.
Fra Lippo Lippi has long disbanded, but its lead singer, Per Sorensen, is still active performing in select gigs. He has performed lots of times in Manila, and is returning on Dec. 6 for a one-night show at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila.
What makes the show different is that Sorensen will be accompanied by the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra with maestro Rodel Colmenar conducting.
Inquirer Lifestyle had a chat with Sorensen:
The last time we talked some years ago, you said you had suffered from depression.
Yes, I suffered from depression a number of times, and the last one was over six years ago. There were many reasons. But I managed to deal with it through therapy.
But you’re still active performing.
Yes, every now and then. I’m also teaching piano, guitar and drums to kids in Norway. I’m writing new songs, though I haven’t recorded anything since the 2015 live album with the Norwegian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
You’re playing for the first time with the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra.
Yes! It would be exciting for the fans to hear it. I have (orchestral) arrangements for 10 of my songs, plus more band-based ones and solo numbers for the rest of the gig.
Manila Philharmonic Orchestra
I don’t know if Bert Jnr. will watch the concert, but I want to thank him for turning on the Jingle editors to the music of Fra Lippo Lippi a few years before it became a huge success in the country.
Per Sorensen with the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, Dec. 6, 8 p.m., Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila