Levi Celerio, National Artist for Music

by Freeway, 2012
Levi Celerio Bio

About the National Artist

Levi Celerio (April 30, 1910 – April 2, 2002) is a Filipino composer and lyricist.

He received a scholarship to the Academy of Music in Manila and became the youngest member of the Manila Symphony Orchestra. He wrote several number of songs for local movies, which earned for him the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Film Academy of the Philippines. Celerio has written lyrics for more than 4,000 Filipino folk, Christmas, and love songs, including many that became movie titles.

Known for being a good lyricist, his songs cherish life, convey nationalistic sentiments and utter grand philosophies. Celerio wrote more than 4,000 songs, among them are popular pieces, which many consider to be immortal. Some of his popular love songs include: Saan Ka Man Naroroon?Kahit Konting PagtinginGaano Ko Ikaw KamahalKapag Puso’y Sinugatan, and IkawO Maliwanag na BuwanDahil Sa Isang Bulaklak,Sa Ugoy ng DuyanBagong Pagsilang, and Sapagkat Kami’y Tao Lamang, while his folk songs include Ang PipitTiniklingTunay na TunayItik-ItikWaray-WarayPitong GatangAko ay May SingsingAlibangbangAlembongGalawgawCaprichosaAng Tapis ni IndayDungawin Mo HirangUmaga na NenengIkaw Kasi, and Basta’t Mahal Kita. Celerio also wrote nationalistic songs such as Ang Bagong LipunanLupang Pangarap, and Tinig ng Bayan.

Celerio  is probably best recognized for being a leaf-player, an achievement where he was place into the Guinness Book of World Records as the only man who could play music with a leaf. On October 9, 1997, he was proclaimed National Artist for Music and Literature.  His citation read that his music “was a perfect embodiment of the heartfelt sentiments and valued traditions of the Filipino.”

He died at the Delgado Clinic in Quezon City on April 2, 2002 at the age of 91.

Continue reading about Freeway x Levi Celerio National Artist Collectors Series Fall 2012 here.