Music heals

Who do you turn to in your darkest moments?

The  pandemic cloaked the globe with fear and uncertainty. But for Rochelle Venuti there was more to worry. Her family was shaken with another challenge, a health crisis.

Alone in a dimly lit hospital watcher’s lounge, anxious and soul-weary Rochelle Venuti found solace in listening and humming along to devotional music. It was soothing, peaceful. The lyrics were sang as if every line was meant for her. The Lord’s words in music guided her out of her misery.

“I believe in divine intervention. In one of those nights, the idea of making a calming piano music album came to mind. I can share my curing process, help others heal their mind and soul in whatever state of emotion they’re in,” said Rochelle.

She proposed to produce a solo piano album to a good friend, pianist Daphne Cabaguio Jocson. Rochelle got the nod.

Good friends. The album’s producer Rochelle Venuti with good friend, pianist Daphne Jocson

Daphne was in the same plight. She battled her personal trials and anxiety with the ivory keys, and created one hundred days of song and music, a collaboration with theater performers. The videos were posted on social media.

“I said yes to Rochelle’s idea of an all-inspirational piano album. This kind of music is apt for these trying times. ‘Reflection, Inspiration, Healing, Worship’ would make a good sub-title. It will be a reflection of my personal journey, too,” shared Daphne.

But since Daphne is a collaborative artist, she requested Rochelle if she could invite singers to join her.

First on the list was Asia’s Timeless Diva, Dulce. After several pandemic-period collaborations in 2020, a closer relationship was established, both professional and personal. The musical tandem will carry on in this new project.

Pianist Daphne Cabaguio-Jocson and Asia’s Timeless Diva, Dulce

Dulce, a devout Christian and widely knowledgeable in inspirational music, was also the ideal resource person for the best praise and worship songs for the 10-track album.

From a list of songs, making it to the final cut are “ Blessings”, “Still”, “Above All”, “I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel” (Daphne’s personal request), “Amazing Grace”, “We Live on Borrowed Time”, “Made Me Glad”, and three OPM songs, “How Did You know” by Cecile Azarcon Inocentes, “Huwag Mo Sanang Isipin” by Ricky Sanchez, and “Dakilang Katapatan” by N. Arnel A. De Pano.

Each piece from the curated inspirational album relates to the performers. For Dulce, “Dakilang Katapatan” has a great impact on her. “It speaks to me about my relationship with the Lord. This is the very first time I’m singing it solo. When we recorded this, I broke down in tears in thanksgiving and worship. In the current situation we’re in, there is that great hope and assurance that the steadfast love of God is present.”

In the course of the planning, Daphne realized that instead of asking different singers to guest in the album, why not request Dulce to do the whole album with her instead. Luckily, Dulce didn’t give it any second thought and said yes.

The singer was thrilled with the offer, “It has always been my dream to record songs that’s ‘stripped down,’ not full-throated. It will be a departure from belting, my usual style of singing,” she confessed.

In the performing arts where rehearsals are a must, Daphne said the ‘new normal’ did not give them the opportunity to rehearse together—not even once. What the pianist did was to record demos of the songs for Dulce to use as practice material. After 10 days, on March 6, Daphne and Dulce were in the recording studio.

The duo performing for a fundraising event

The album was recorded live, a feat no longer executed these days. All 10 tracks were recorded in just one session. “In my books, it’s a big achievement,” said Daphne.

Dulce said they gave their best, “The songs may have not been recorded perfectly. There are sharps and flats. But I believe it’s the emotion and the heart that are more important than perfection.”

On April 9th, “Daphne & Dulce – Piano & Voice: Reflection, Inspiration, Healing, Worship” was launched on all streaming platforms.

Rochelle Venuti, Daphne Cabaguio Jocson, and Dulce want to dedicate the album to everyone. All songs are very special to these women and it can also touch everyone’s lives.

“The pandemic is an equalizer. Rich or poor, famous or not, everyone is experiencing a personal struggle, hardship, pain. The album is for everybody who needs to be inspired and be encouraged,” expressed Dulce.

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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