Still in good company

FORMED in July 1985 by the alumni of the Ateneo College Glee Club, The CompanY initially performed as back-up vocalists for the pop stars of the 1980s before becoming professional recording artists.

Now dubbed as Asia’s premiere vocal harmony act, The CompanY is the most awarded vocal recording group in the Philippines which has shared the stage with the likes of The Manhattan Transfer, Jim Brickman, Michael Bublé, Noel Pointer, John Ford Coley and many more.

Much has changed since this vocal group burst into the scene. The world may have not become more “harmonious” (just open your social-media pages and you’ll see a lot of in-fighting among friends and relatives) but The CompanY still remains in-sync and—dare I say it?—fresh as evidenced in their new album, titled Gitna.

Gitna is The CompanY’s stamp in proving its  musical versatility. The album is a collection of multi-genre songs that tackle different themes of love and highlight the group’s amazing vocal harmony.

 With its exploration of pop, jazz, electronica, dance and acoustic folk, The CompanY’s 29th studio album—its first under ABS-CBN’s Star Music—delves into the length and breadth of vocal harmony in modern music styles showcased by equally talented members Annie Quintos, OJ Mariano, Moy Ortiz, and Sweet Plantado.

 Its album title also serves as its key track and references the group’s core and centeredness amid the changing tides and disruptions in music and modern society.

During the album’s virtual launch, Sweet said they chose Gitna as the key track for its uniqueness. “We chose a lot of songs from Star Music’s catalogue but we decided to zoom in on this because it’s not the usual love story, and the way it combines the lyrics and melody is different. Moy also had this idea to make it a duet so when he gave it to me and OJ, it brought a different color to the song.”

 Since The CompanY is composed of multi-talented members, Moy also served as the vocal arranger for all the songs and likewise co-produced some tracks in the album.

 Asked about the challenges of making the album which features both seasoned and younger songwriters, Moy said, “The challenge was with the songs of the new-generation songwriters, the way they compose music now is not so much formulaic—you can’t predict where the structure and melody of the song will go, and this is evident in Gitna.”

 Meanwhile, an accompanying mini-documentary on the making of the album has also been released on YouTube.

Besides the title track, other standout songs of Gitna are their remake of “Kamusta Ka,” a jazz-and-soul rendition of this Pinoy pop classic and the old-school jazz compliments their voices very well; and “Sa May Bintana,” a composition of National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab first recorded by erstwhile Smokey Mountain member James Coronel, about one’s growing interest and yearning for a special someone. Annie Quintos takes the lead vocals in this fresh OPM offering. As someone biased to funk and disco, “Disco Plantito, Disco Plantita” is a fun track to listen to.  The closing song, “Sang Tawag Mo Lang” is quintessential The CompanY which is easy to listen to with melodies that really stick to your head.

The CompanY’s latest album Gitna is out now on various digital music platforms, while the music video for  “Gitna” can be viewed on Star Music’s YouTube channel.