Darius Razon=Balladeer of the 70s

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It was in the middle of ‘69 when the loyal Dariusians and Dariusettes sprung forth to life. The object of their affection was the unassuming singer who, everybody came to know via “Everybody Knows.”

“That song made me,” says Darius Razon, top balladeer of the 70s and now, a councilor of Mandaluyong City. “Ako ang pambato ng Alpha (Records) noon. Sa babae, si Nora Aunor.”

He is Darius Apacionado in real life. But when he joined showbiz in the late 60s, he was given the screen name Darius Razon by Alpha’s top honcho Buddy de Vera. “Natuwa naman ako dahil rhyme na rhyme,” he says.

Becoming a successful singer was a childhood dream of Darius. “Nag-a-awol ako sa eskuwela para sumali lang sa kahit anong singing contests, kahit sa mga piyestahan. Kahit nakakatuwa itsura ko, hindi ako nahihiya noon kasi talagang gusto kong maging singer.”

“Lola’s boy ako,” he admits. “Hindi ko naranasan ang pagmamahal ng kapatid at magulang. My grandma from mother side, Lola Miling took care of me. She was very solicitous, and she taught me the value of hard work. At times, nagtatampo ako dahil istrikta but now, I appreciate her style of discipline dahil inihanda niya ako.

“When she learned that I was fond of singing, she requested me to sing in her birthday held at Roxas Boulevard. Nakita ako nila Berlin Villapando, a veteran music arranger and Sandy Contreras. They brought me to Channel 11. Libre lang ako doon. But when they saw that the audience liked my singing, they gave me fifty to 100 pesos. Noong araw, malaki na yon.”

His first recording, “Shadows of the Night” later evolved as the theme music for the promo girls’ spots in between TV programs. “Among my songs, my favorite is ‘And I Love You So.’ I recorded many singles, like ‘El Condor Pasa,’ ‘In the Middle of An Island,’ ‘Beautiful Sunday,’ yung ‘Never Say Goodbye’ revived by Sex Bomb, yung ‘Ibigay Mo Na’ revived by Jessa Zaragoza, akin din yun.

“When ‘Marsha,’ the first adult film was shown here, pumasok pa ako sa sinehan para makuha lang ang lyrics ng kanta. Noon kasi, most of our songs were adaptations of popular American music.”

Darius is also among the first batch of artists who became exclusive talents of a TV network. “Dati walang contract stars ang TV studios. Kauna-unahan kami noon sa ABS- CBN. Kami nila Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Perla Adea, Rhodora (Silva) and Geraldine.

“My first films, dalawa agad, ‘The Sensations’ and ‘Pen- Pen de Sarapen’ starring Efren Montes. ‘The Sensations’ was the first local movie shown in Cinerama, which is occupied by Isetann now. Ang laki-laki ng screen noon. It was also the first local film that was done partly in color. Before that, puro black and white ang pelikula.”

His was an easy ride to fame. He was a part of reel and real love triangle with Rhodora Silva and Geraldine (Atencio). “We’re the younger version of Pepito (Rodriguez)-Rosemarie (Sonora)- Ricky (Belmonte) love triangle. Kasabay namin yung loveteam nila Rudy Fernandez at Aurora Salve,” he continues.

“I realized that I was already famous when fans started to frequent our apartment in Sta. Ana. Noon, nag-e-excursion ang fans not on TV stations but at our homes. Dudungaw ka lang sa bintana at kakaway, tuwang-tuwa na sila.”

To this day, Darius treasures his fond encounters with his followers. “When I had my personal appearance somewhere in Bulacan, the stage collapsed due to the swarm of fans who wanted to shake my hand. Damang-dama mo talaga ang pagmamahal ng fans.”

On DZXL, he did “Tall, Dark and Handsome,” the “Wow Generation” with Manolo Favis and “Everyday Holiday”. On TV, he appeared in “Stop, Look and Listen” and the award-winning sitcom “Pamilya Kontra – Partido” that starred Martin Marfil on Channel 5. “Lumalabas din ako sa mga drama-drama noon nila Liberty Ilagan, yung ‘Salamisim’ ni Lupita Concio and ‘Mama Cita at Mary Rose,’ also on Channel 5.”

That time, when regional films became a fad, he did “Ang Bikolana” with Aurora (Salve) a native of Sorsogon, and Rhodora (Silva), who hails from Itogon. “Ako naman, I was an adopted son of Tabaco, Albay,” he adds.

“While I was in showbiz, I was also studying. I was an honor student of Don Bosco. I also attended Thomas Earnshaw Elementary School. When I was in school, I’d win in oratorical and declamation contests sponsored by Caltex and the Knights of Columbus. I was determined to finish school, just like Espie ( Judge Esperanza Fabon).” Darius finished Business Management at Jose Rizal College

“Alam mo naman kung ano nangyari sa buhay ko,” he says. “ Now I can say that my life is blooming again. Aside from being a public servant, eto ako ngayon, unti unting lumalabas sa TV. Ang akin lang, maipakita at mai- share yung kakayahan ko. Noon kasi, akala basta kumakanta lang kami, pa-tweetums, pa- cute. Now, fans are rediscovering us. My directors even joked that if what they wanted was a man who could cry a bucket in a snap, ako yun. Kasi, malalim ang pinaghuhugutan ko.”

Darius is a regular talent in ‘Daisy Siyete.’ He also wrapped up two episodes for “Count Your Blessings” on Channel 4. And after doing the indie film, ’Telebisyon,’ another indie project is in the offing.

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“Nagulat din ako na inilabas ng Alpha ang aking first CD,” he continues. “Dati kasi, rpm record lang tayo. Alpha just released 24 cuts of my songs in ‘The Best of Darius’. I was told that abroad, there are demands for old-timers like me. I may visit Canada for a show but before that, I’ll do the ‘Jukebox of the 70s’ concert on November 29 at Metro Bar. It will reunite me with other idols of the 70s like Victor Wood, Tirso Cruz III and Edgar Mortiz. Nag -commit na ring dadalo sila Vilma (Santos), Perla (Adea) and Espie (Fabon).

“Above all, I’m happy because I have custody of my two aponitas, the two daughters of Denver. Natutuwa ako sa mga blessings sa akin. Talagang marunong ang Diyos. ‘Pag binigyan ka man ng problema, talagang gagawa din siya ng paraan na maayos muli ang buhay mo,” he says.

For comments, send e-mail to gypsybaldovino@yahoo.com)

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