THE DAY EL DUO CAME TO TOWN
(This article was published July 23, 2010. I republish this as a tribute to my friend D.K. Valdez.)
It had all the makings of a fairy tale. Once upon a time, not many months ago, two Filipino boys wandered into the town of
looking for work as a singing duo. They
sang in a few small beer bars and taverns around town but soon were given a contract
to sing at Café Royale, one of Pattaya ’s
leading piano bars. Their job was to
develop a regular clientele of nighttime customers, which was not an easy task for the entertainers. Many tourists come to Pattaya to be
entertained but not necessarily by two young boys in a piano bar. Thailand
Soon the news spread about these two handsome, young singers, and the name El Duo became a popular name around town. They performed well and the audience grew. The management of Café Royale was pleased with the singing sensation, and soon El Duo was offered an extended contract.
The two young singers brought with them a level of talent and professionalism that is rarely found in a city the size of Pattaya. Their singing ability was exceptional, but it was the way they used their talents that put them in a class above other entertainers. They had developed perfect harmonies and had acquired a timing that, as a singing duo, was faultless.
The secret to their success was a combination of talent and stage presence. Their on-stage performance was a delight to see and a pleasure to hear. They not only had the talent to sing well, they also had the unique ability to make each person in the audience feel important. Both young and old could relate to their music. However, they specialized in familiar classic songs that appealed to an adult audience.
They were gracious performers and were always willing to share the spot light. Not only could they sing “The Green Grass of Home” and “Unchained Melody,” but they could perform contemporary music for the delight of a younger group. As an example, minus the glitz and glitter, they could perform Lady GAGA’s “Better Man,” as well as the lady herself.
Then one day a stranger came to town. He was riding in a big, black, limousine, wearing an expensive pinstripe suit, and smoking a big cigar. He causally wandered into Café Royale for a night cap and was impressed by the performance of El Duo. He happened to be the right man, and El Duo happened to be in the right place at the right time. Soon all of Pattaya knew that the singing sensation of El Duo had been offered a big contract for a European Tour.
The management of Café Royale rightfully decided to promote a going-away party to celebrate El Duo’s upcoming tour. The boys performed to a sold out, standing room only crowd. There were other entertainers, but the night belonged to El Duo.
During a break between sets, many of the regulars took the opportunity to speak personally to Richard and DK. They offered congratulations and best wishes for the tour and hoped that Pattaya had been as good for El Duo as El Duo has been for Pattaya.
It was no surprise that their last set was a five-star performance. With maturity and intelligence, they used the occasion to speak to their audience with musical lyrics. It was no accident that DK and Richard chose the songs whose messages said, “When you walk through a storm hold your head up high” and “If birds can fly over a rainbow, then why can’t I,” both as a tribute to an audience that had supported them well.
Even though they were excited about their tour, there was a bit of sadness in their voices as they sang the last two songs. They chose “I Can’t Live If Living Is Without You.” Then, for the last song of the evening, they sang the blockbuster hit from the 1997 movie Titanic, Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Richard and DK will go on, and soon the world will come to recognize the talents of these two outstanding young men.
Make no mistake about it, El Duo will return to Pattaya. Their families are in the
but their hearts are in are Pattaya. Philippines
(EL DUO did return and performed to the delight of their many fans. It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of my friend D.K. Valdez. Make no mistake about it, DK, your heart will go on.)