By Lorenzo Paran III
There was something refreshing about Nicole and Carlo David’s concert at Art Share in Los Angeles on Friday, July 25, 2014.
No doubt the occasion itself had something to do with it. The two – children of illustrious L.A.-based singer Mon David and a singing duo since 2008 – were launching their debut CD, aptly called “Simula.” There was also the crowd of about 80, consisting of family, friends, Mon David’s music colleagues, and other supporters who had gathered to watch the two. And then there was the hip and handsome performance space that was Art Share’s concert hall: a deep and cavernous auditorium that was a perfect complement to the pair’s voices and the sound of Carlo’s acoustic guitar.
Refreshing too were the songs that Nicole and Carlo chose to sing that evening. Whether it was a cover of a Jason Mraz number or one of their own compositions, there was always a positive note in the lyrics, a sense of optimism.
Maroon 5’s “Daylight,” their opening number, speaks of a decision to cling on to a treasured moment, while Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” and John Legend’s “All of Me” speak not only of love but also of total devotion.
As for their own musical creations, Nicole and Carlo, who are based in Manila but are seen on L.A. area stages when they are in town, often sing of a choice to be optimistic in the face of emotion and confusion.
In “You Make Me Feel,” they sing “I choose to live in positivity / And believe in the goodness of humanity / I choose to be free, free to be me.”
“Sana” and “Tinakda,” with music by Carlo and words by Nicole, are similarly hopeful.
Most of their songs on Friday connected with the audience, but these were the tunes that really struck a chord, helped by the pair’s endearing rapport on stage and by their candor about their own “struggles” as they pursue a musical career. Their resolve to move forward despite those struggles is often the inspiration behind their songs.
There were many highlights in the show.
Classical guitarist Ric Ickard joined the two for a couple of numbers. Ner de Leon, who produced the album, also joined Nicole and Carlo for “You Make Me Feel,” a track in the album. The saxophonist never takes more than one tune to impress an audience, and this evening was no exception.
Finally, a poignant moment came when proud father Mon David joined the two on stage for a number. The choice of song was sublime: “The Glory of Love,” not the Peter Cetera song (which is a fine tune in itself), but rather the beloved ditty from the Great American Songbook, composed by Billy Hill and popularized by such iconic singers as Jimmy Durante, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin and Bette Midler. Its refrain goes: “You’ve got to give a little, take a little / And let your poor heart break a little / That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.”
The three reworked some of the lines to say: “As long as there’s the three of us / We’ve got the world and all its charms / And when the world is through with us / We’ve got each other’s arms.”
And as they sang, one couldn’t help but feel they were singing about themselves, the evening, and the musical adventure that Nicole and Carlo have embarked upon.