In terms of singing chops-honing experience and cachet-boosting exposure, her recent stint as little Cosette in the Manila and Singapore staging of “Les Miserables” is an impressive addition to Esang’s continually expanding body of work.
Is this a cautionary case of too much, too soon for the adorable singing moppet? Not really.
It’s hard to begrudge Esang her share of the performing spotlight—after all, it isn’t like she only started trying her luck in Tinseltown last year.
In fact, it’s been five years since Esang first ventured into singing competitions (at age 4)—and she just turned 9 years old last February!
Esang refuses to rest on her laurels, however. Her latest triumph comes in the form of her solo debut album, “Ako ay Kakanta,” whose age-appropriate, Vehnee Saturno-penned songs prove that relative fame hasn’t spoiled her or her disarmingly unaffected, no-frills singing style.
Esang sings about character-forming relationships forged through the years (“Your Angel,” “Friend”) and issues that kids her age can relate to—from the unquantifiable pleasure she gets out of singing (“Ako ay Kakanta”) to what children think about conflict in the complex world they inhabit (“Pag-ibig ang Sagot,” “Batang Makulet”).
If you think there’s only so much that children and tweens can sing about, you’ve got another think coming: “Nanay Ko, Tatay Ko” examines the ties that bind young kids and their OFW parents, who grudgingly leave their cash-strapped families behind to give their heretofore bleak future a fighting chance.
The eight-track album’s only cover, Charo Unite and Ernie dela Peña’s enduring “May Bukas Pa,” is a pleasant addition to the lineup because, devoid of excessive gimmicks, it’s easy to appreciate what its message is truly about when there aren’t potential distractions that can dilute its lyrical and melodic appeal.