SOUTHEAST ASIAN BLOGGERS NETWORK

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

THE DIVAS OF SOUTHEAST ASIA









A “diva”, according to Merriam-Webster English dictionary: 1. prima donna 2. Usually glamorous and successful female performer or personality. The word came from the Latin word “divus” which means goddess or a female deity.

The word came to the English language in 1883 and used for operatic prima donnas that time. The contemporary term “Diva” is believed to have started with Maria Callas – the Greek-American opera singer who earned worldwide fame in the 50s. Then there was Googoosh of Persia, Edith Piaf of France, Rocio Jurado of Spain and many others.


BISEAN will list and feature the divas of our great region.

How will we do it?


To lessen "subjectivity" like voice quality, singing style, fan-base, etc. -- We came up with the 5 most common criteria of a Diva. These will be the objective principles to be used in our pursuit to list the region’s ultimate divas:

1. Fame. Her name is known to at least 3 generations; a confirmation of her staying power.

2. Signature Song. A song that only her name is attributed to. No other singer dares to sing it without acknowledging her name.

3. Cultural contribution. Her music represents her nation’s identity and heritage; made an impact to the local music industry.

4. A goddess is never always available. She has no fan-base but commands respect from the public and fellow performers. Appearances are rare.

5. Real tragic drama. Her personal life is one big spectacle itself. The raw emotions of her real life resonate through her songs.


We need our reader’s involvement.

We have already prepared a short list, but we welcome contributions to list the Divas of Southeast Asia.


****

59 Comments:

Mongkol said...

For Cambodia, I would go for Ros Serey Sothea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ros_Serey_Sothear). Despite over 30 years since her death, she remains an everlasting diva to all generations of Cambodians.

innocent 色男 said...

wait wait wait... is that Dulce in the mini banner???

Miong21 said...

For the Philippines, it's no other than LEA SALONGA

Ambisyosang Diva said...

For the Philippines, It's Regine Velasquez. She spent more than 25 years in the business, her very inspiring life story has touched millions, her signature style is all-out belting which by the way has established a trend in the local music scene and her personality which is admired and respected not only by her fans but her colleagues as well.

eyronn said...

i think pilita corales, siti nurhaliza, tata young

that's my vote if we are required to vote haha

Jerick (the former Curbside Puppet) said...

hi sofia! i missed you!

for the philippines, its regine velasquez or pilita.

i can't think of any other malaysian except for siti.

dp said...

in my country, i just want to keep it real. it's pilita corales and dulce.

3 generations. signature songs. impact to the local industry. and the drama.

Allen Yuarata said...

I suggest Pilita Corales or Lea Salonga.

Anonymous said...

SHARON CUNETA...

1. Her name is known to at least 3 generations... With utmost staying power in show business...

2. A lot of songs are attributed to her name... And without a doubt, she's acknowledged...

3. Most of her filipino songs were written by premier filipino composers who are also national artists...

4. She's not available to everyone... Very elusive... Her rare appearances are valued by her colleagues...

5. We all know the drama in her personal and public life... And her life resonates through her songs...

Nothing More but A True Diva!

Anonymous said...

SHARON CUNETA

And 20 years from now, her star will never fade... Because, she has achieved far greater heights than Pilita Corales or Dulce or Lea Salonga... With respect to the three... :)

her name is me said...

Diva??? well, then no doubt its anggun, from indonesia..=)

Jack said...

NO DOUBT! It would be REGINE VELASQUEZ for Philippines. When yo say Philippine Music Icon, she's the first female that will come to your mind. She is dubbed as the Asia's Songbird after winning the 1989 Asia Pacific Singing Contest in Hong and became one of Asia's best selling recording artist. She's the first Filipino to perform in MTV Asia Awards, after her single with international star Jacky Cheung topped MTV top charts and reach multi-platinum world status, one of the fisrt in Asia. She can belt any song from any genre.

REGINE VELASQUEZ, Philippines

A TRUE DIVA. . .

angel said...

REGINE VELASQUEZ. . .SHE'S THE MOST POWERFUL BELTER IN THE PHILIPPINES. HER PERFORMANCE IS ALWAYS ANTICIPATED BECAUSE IT IS VERY RARE AND IT IS ONLY HER CAN DELIVER. SHE HAS A VERY UNIQUE VOICE, WHEN SHE SINGS EVERYONE LISTENS. PEOPLE HAS SO MUCH RESPECT FOR HER. SHE IS THE INSPIRATION OF EVERY SINGERS, YOUNG OR OLD. SHE IS THE EPITOME OF PERFORMANCE LEVEL.

HER STYLE HAS BECOME THE STANDARD OF "VOICE QUALITY" IN THE PHILIPPINES.

Jake said...

It's gotta be Anggun of Indonesia. Fame equates her name.

chotz said...

hi.. i'm a first timer here...
for malaysia dive, i voter for SHEILA MAJID & SHARIFAH AINI..
sheila majid is best known her jazzy kind of style of musics, very popular in early 90's, still active in singing.. her songs still popular & well known by our multiracial malaysians.. my favourite songs: Lagenda, Sinaran, Antara Anyer & Jakarta, Ku Mohon, Jentayu (duet with Nora), & all o them.. erggh, cannot choose!!! i love all of em..

Sharifah aini - no doubt she's the evergreen singer in malaysia..

Sofia for BiSEAN said...

THANK YOU for the inputs guys! You are all making us busy with research.

Most of the Divas mentioned here are already on our list. Except Anggun (now, why we didnt think of that?), Ros Serey Sothea (Thanks, Mongkol) and Sharon Cuneta (Thank, anony)... we'll research on them.

Now sweeties from the Philippines, what is the drama behind Lea Salonga? We cant find any. Help pls. Thanks.

And the drama behind Siti Nurhaliza too pls Malaysians. Terima kasih.

Anonymous said...

Hi again... I LOVE LEA SALONGA... She's in a totally different universe... WORLD CLASS... None of the Divas mentioned above even come close... Or did I miss reading in the criteria - WORLD CLASS? If it was not mentioned... Let's not degrade her... PEACE!

Jigoku Shonen said...

well as they said pilita corales,lea salonga,sharon cuneta and regine velasquez are my picks, but Jaya is also deserving Philippines' Soul Diva... really love her songs

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

See what Anonymous (after Sofia) has just commented? This is the type of FANATICS we DONT welcome here.

Fans who cannot tolerate other people's opinion and resort to self-glorification.

Anonymous, if you aint got something nice to say, please stay away.

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Anonymous, by the way...
could you define World Class for us and its importance of being a Diva?

I have just emailed 10 people from Europe, 10 in America, 10 in South America, 10 in South Africa, 10 in the Russian Federation, 10 in Belgium, 10 in France, 10 in Japan...total 100 emails to the highest ranks of World society...

96 emails came back... none knew Lea Salonga. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the remaining 4.

My point is, we will feature Lea Salonga to glorify her and introduce her talents to those who haven't heard of her.

But you Anonymous is a moneky without balls not to leave a link. Thank you for coming and stay away.

nocamal said...

Well, I think Anggun will be a strong candidate here.
Based on your criteria, I think she had it all.
1. He is famous since the late 80's (locally), 90's and 2000's
2. Snow on the sahara will be song that attributed her internationally and Tua-tua keladi will be the locally one
3.Check out intro of "A Rose in the Wind", She use some ethnic music there, and it's not the only song that got indonesian music
4. I'm not sure though about those, but her performance in Indonesia is quite rare.
5. I don't know about this, i'm not into gossip

Anonymous said...

Sorry Pisanu... My Bad... Won't happen again... :(

Anonymous said...

I sincerely apologize to all who were offended by the comment I made. I'm so sorry. :(

gus said...

unfortunately i don't know of any "diva" in SEA. i did see Lea Salonga both in London and New York broadway. and I saw her name on the marquee both in Germany and Hongkong. she seems so pure though so i think she leads a very conservative life with her family. no drama.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Lea Salonga fit to be a diva there's no drama in her life she was more active in the field of musical theater like Broadway back then yes she earned prestigious award from Tony, Olivier etc...she's known in playing Kim in Miss Saigon and Eponine in Les Miserables but if you talk about fame I think it's still not enough co'z there's a limit to her fame I can't explain maybe it has something to do with her always out of the showbiz light or out of the country.

Jake said...

I'm sure there are also talented singers out there in the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia worthy of being given the title "diva" (but not so much in the Western sense) in light of their cultural contribution. I wish there are Laotian and Cambodian friends out there who can help in this exciting search.

rollane12 said...

Watch the whole video, especially the last parts. It says it all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8RoR3U_sh4

Jerick (the former Curbside Puppet) said...

the other anonymous is right. lea salonga doesn't have all the dramas a diva should be having.

and this comment box sure feels like the old times!

Anonymous said...

Sharon Cuneta and Regine Veasquez!

tagskie said...

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danyhael said...

lol. the anon-wars and the kissa$$-wars are funny.

diva hmm...

i love anggun but i hardly know her life so...

pilita, her voice is soothing so...

dulce, no fan-base but the voice, just wow.

so i dunno...

acosicris said...

Regine Velasquez for the Philippines.

For Indonesia, uhm... Anggun's snow on sahara is great.

>btw. did u just saw the top 15 of ms. universe '09? No Asian candidate make it to top 15..(wink)

Lawrence said...

For the Philippines, I think Lea Salonga and Kuh Ledesma are good candidates.


For Indonesia, Anggun is one. I also think Melly (who sang "Butterfly") is a good candidate.


Not too familiar with the others in the region. Stefanie Sun maybe for Singapore?

Zaim Salleh said...

I guess for Malaysia it has to be Siti Nurhaliza..

For Philippines it has to be Regine Velasques..

For Indonesian it has to be Kris Dayanti or Melly Gloeslow...

For Singapore I guess Stephanie Sun should be on the list....

Well for Siti the drama that occured to her is when she married to Datuk K.. Many of the fans disagree with the wedding as she is marrying a widower... In one of her album Transkripsi most of the song is about her love story with Datuk K... Even she denies it at first but most of the song is about her love life... The most famous song is Biarlah Rahsia * Let it remain a Secret*... (this my personal opinion... )

Nguyen said...

the video when regine won the ASIA PACIFIC SINGING CONTEST mainly participated by southeast asians.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnXx1ay6Qtw

WATCH IT.POWERFUL! DIVA!

Daucus Sebastian Isaac said...

Pilita Corrales pls? and Dulce who sang "Maala-ala Mo kaya". my lifetime favorite.

thanks!

Musikero said...

If I remember it correctly, Lea's life has all been full of drama. Correct me guys if I am wrong, but Lea Salonga and her brother are illegitimate children. Her family is her father's third family. Making her mother the 2nd mistress of her father.

BTW, Lea Salonga is the only true-blooded Filipina who was included in People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1991.

danyhael said...

so?

"she's an illegitimate child."

come on! so what?! and dude, it's not cool. you posted it like she and her brother are lesser humans.

not cool. get a life.

Anonymous said...

for philippines - it's Regine
for indonesia - it's anggun
for malaysia - it's jacky or sitti

H A F I Z A N said...

i think jaclyn victor for malaysia isn't suitable yet to fill the place of diva. by winning Malaysian Idol title in 2004, 5 years is not enough to put her as a diva...i think from Malaysia, u should put Sheila Majid (Jazz Diva), Sharifah Aini (Evergreen Diva) Anita Sarawak (No Doubt Diva) and of Course Siti Nurhaliza (the new primadona)

Banshee said...

Anita Sarawak is Singaporean not Malaysian (I think). She is very popular in Malaysia nonetheless.

I agree Anita Sarawak could be classified as a Diva.

chubskulit said...

Lovely divas!

Hope to see your footprints..

Marveling Memories
Etcetera Etcetera
Spice Up your Life!
Obstacles & Glories

Musikero said...

@Danyhael - Oh Danyhael... Did you read the entire thread? They are looking for drama in Lea's life so she will fit as a diva. And that's what I said... you are overreacting...

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danyhael said...

@Musikero, how come it's a drama. being a child out of wedlock is a drama?

^_^

suck it up.

Anonymous said...

isnt Diva supposed to be like Callas? Joan Sutherland?

Anonymous said...

So this does not includes those who died prior to bisean's criteria, huh?

Anyway, in my country Philippines, I consider Honorata dela Rama as a diva. Also known as Atang, she brought the Pilipino folk song known as Kundiman to the greater Filipino masses. Died in 1991, she today is honored as national artist for theater and music and her life was also made into a theatrical act some time between 2007 and 2008. And I do consider her one of the pillars of our Filipino-ness.

Pilita Corales, who still lives today, is dubbed as "Asia's Queen of Songs" (that needed citation knowing that here in the philippines we have to put titles like that to a singer for more "star power" purposes) for having more than 100 albums under her name (that again needed citation). Aside from Yoko Ono, I think she is the only Asian who performed as front act for the Beatles (yoko ono is an asian however had she performed as front act for the beatles prior to meeting john lennon? give me an insight please hehehe). Her signature song "A Million Thanks To You" will sure entice you with her 120°-bend-backwards-and-lower-please signature performance while reaching the highest possible note at the end.

Lea Salonga is the only Asian who won the Tony Awards as best actress for one of Europe and probably the world's most celebrated theatrical acts, Miss Saigon. BTW, the original plan of Miss Saigon is to get... Guess what? A Vietnamese actress for the play. I remember her last album titled Home, though performing as Fantine in again one of the world's most celebrated stories that made in theatrical act Les Miserables in New York, reached platinum few weeks after her departure despite one TV promotion that happened. She is the only Asian btw that performed in Les Miserables twice (First as Eponine then Fantine which were considered as important roles in the that story). Her signature songs were dated back during her childhood years that were considered as songs of hope and as graduation songs today. She was also considered as Asiaweek's 25 influential artist during 90's.

Sharon Cuneta is considered by Time as one of the most influential people in Philippines and Asia, dubbed as Philippines' Commercial queen. She, a bratinella, is the only daughter of longest serving mayor for 50 years of one of Metro Manila cities. She become an immediate household name because of her father when she entered show biz and become a multimedia personality. Her albums went platinum and movies were all box office hits. Her songs were all intended for teeny boppers until she married at 18. Her marriage is one of the Philippines' hot topics that still reverborates this day because she became annulled at that same age. Up to this date, though she only makes movies and albums once in a while, those are sure fire hits. Her movie last year raked in US$2.2M (peso converted to $), second only to her daughter's who also entered show biz that raked in US$2.8M! According to some rumors, she is paid at least US$1M for every commercials she deals with!

That's it for now! Hahaha!

Anonymous said...

Oh hey i got other people in our country whom I consider as "diva" here in phil.

First would be Kristine Bernadette Aquino-Yap, known as Kris Aquino, the daughter of 2 of the Phil. icons of democracy Sen. Ninoy and President Cory Aquino. Her name rose to popularity as she gave speech to the untimely demise of her father who was politically gunned down during the Marcos' dictatorship. As she grow up, she became contrary to her parents' legacy to the Phil. According to some, she is the karma of her parents. Her father is known for his straightforwardness, yet Kris' straightforwardness always results to tactlessness and while her mother is known to speak only as the need arises, Kris would blabber things even the smallest unimportant details of her life. Being like that, she became one of the well-loved and hated as well personality that shapes up our culture. Aside from her family background, she is known as the "queen of talk" for doing many daytime TV programs and her regular showbiz entertainment news program, the "queen of game shows" for hosting off-beat game shows when many international game shows infiltrated Phil TV until the TV station she works now succumb to the growing number of intl game shows she is still faved as a host, and the arch-rival of Sharon Cuneta for the throne of "Queen of Commercials". Most of the time, when she has a game show she would always opt to give her one day salary to charities whenever the contestant playing for a cause hasn't got the jackpot prize.

Another person I consider would be Ana Bayle. If you asked every Filipina model whom they look up to, they would probably put Ana Bayle on the top of their list. I admire this woman so much for she is our first Filipina supermodel who sashayed her way to every important runways in an era where caucasians predominate and asians and black models are all but a taboo. Many has it say that she was the teacher of some of the world's supermodels like tyra banks and naomi campbell (although citation is needed). I remember her story while she was interviewed that many fashion experts in new York and Paris find her beauty a classic, yet they have to reject her for she is an asian which hurts her so much yet she still thrived to be the best on her craft until one fashion day some designers planned to have asian and black models in their show and the rest is history.

Last would be Imee Marcos, the daughter of former Phil. dictator Ferdinand and so-imeldific Imelda Marcos. Though her mother is a diva herself IMO, Imee Marcos exudes what it has to be a Marcos-elegant, graceful, eloquent and survivor. A London-educated woman, still squandering in the aftermath of the EDSA People Power Revolution some 2 decades ago, she returned trying her luck in doing some theatrical plays and movie acting where she gained respect from many people. Grown into a family of public servant, she tried her luck in politics where she is now the representative of their home town (Ilocos Norte). Her signature act always happens during her TV interview as when she speaks, she could manage to deliver every words as eloquent as possible while keeping her teeth close! (betcha gonna do this too!)

I'm glad i could share these insights of mine with the rest of SEA. I'm going back to work now hahaha!

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danyhael said...

@fsudhu

you're not pleasing anyone. you need a doctor.

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Niko Pascual said...

I think the wiser choice for the Philippines is miss Grace Nono.

rom said...

bisean wake up, stop counting your money and girlfriends. its time for another article. its october already, my birthmonth. can't think of another topic? how about my birthday?

eng samnang said...

really agree to Mongkol, that Ros Serey Sothea really the everlasting Diva in Cambodia.
1.Since her missing during 1975 to 1975 (Surely to be killed under khmer rouge), Ros serey sothea still deiliver a voice that nobody can't compare and no people can't even forget. She been lived through only 50s to 70s, possible for over a generation but still get through the following generation to now.
2.Over hundred of her song still available. Her song '' I'm sixteen'' considered one of best which remake in to several times with credit her name. However the original will stick into the audience's heart after all. Hang meas production, the largest one in the country recently remake'' I'm sixteen'' last year. Some of her record can found in aboard such as USA, vietnam, Thailand and other. Her song had concluded in Hollywood film, The city of ghost and be used in Thai film as well.
3. The Khmer king had labeled her as the queen of Khmer music which she gave the pure rock and roll that really popular in that period. Herself had make the regconition for Cambodia to the world.No only khmer, alot of nation know her at that time. Her legacy had confirmed such as The Los Angeles band Dengue Fever, which features Cambodian lead singer Chhom Nimol, covers a number of songs by Sothea and other singers from the short-lived Cambodian rock and roll scene.
4. She intially value at her first time class to sing at her friend and then catch the attention from other respectively. Can't said that her appearance are rare as she super popular at that time but finallly, no regular people can be see her at all and no invitation to her would accept except the king.
5. Hundred of thing influenced by her life. We never forget her tragic life like drama. Her earlier life, rose to fame, personal story and death certain the climax that give everyone to tear, happy and emotional. The film called the Golden voice is based on her life.

The Zen Bitch said...

wondering why her name hasn't been mentioned when she surely fits in all of the criteria mentioned: MS NORA AUNOR of the PHILIPPINES!!!

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Anonymous said...

The best singer in asia I think is Theresa teng she is Taiwanese singer she sang, Chinese song, Japanese song, indonesian song all of that song are very famous but she died young at the age of 42 RnP Theresa teng voice are so hypnotizing so soft and beautiful.. regin Velasquez has a powerful voice she can sang very high I remember her long time ago when she join tanghalan ng kampion hosted by pilita corales but her voice no charisma ..

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