Filipinos love it when other nationalities love and support Pinoy food, films, art, or our original music. PalabasTayo stumbled upon this video of a lady, singing “Sana Ngayong Pasko” by Lea Salonga. We know that she has other videos of her singing but the fact this Russian mommy sings a Pinoy Christmas song means that music really transcends language and race. We had the opportunity to interview her recently to ask more about her. Check it out our conversation below and let us know what you think of her rendition of this Filipino classic.
Who are you and where do you come from?
My name is Katya Tsibrova. I’m a singer from Russia and was born in a small town not far from Moscow.
How did you learn about “Sana Ngayong Pasko”?
I wanted to learn a Christmas song in Tagalog and a friend recommended me a couple. I listened to the Lea Salonga version of Sana Ngayong Pasko and really loved it. I thought I’d have a go at singing it too!
What did you like about it? Do you know what it means and did you relate to it?
The first thing I always do before working on a new song in another language is to dig deep and understand its meaning. It’s very important to feel the song in one’s soul and this one definitely resonated with me. I fell in love with it right away!
Why did you record that song?
I recorded one of my live sessions singing this song to challenge myself and see if I could learn a song in the language of my new home country. The Philippines is my home now and I want to engage with the people and its culture.
What do you do in Manila?
I’m a mother and a wife who followed her German-Chinese banker husband around the globe. We were based in Africa for a while but moved out to Manila just over 4 years ago.
How long have you been singing?
My whole life. When I was 4 years old, my mother dragged me on stage to perform some traditional Russian songs in the village where I grew up and the rest is history. My passion for singing grew and it drove me to study music at school, take part in singing competitions as well as festivals.
What is your background and training?
I studied piano at a music school and after that went to Moscow to attend Jazz College Consort which specialized in jazz vocal.
What are the types of songs do you like singing?
Apart from pop, I love jazz and soul. The songs I am currently writing and singing are more towards the pop genre.
What do you think of Filipino Music?
It’s beautiful. I’m still learning about it, trying to know more and understand it better. Might help taking a few Tagalog lessons!
Do you have other favorite Filipino songs/singers?
I like Unique Salonga and his song “Sino”. I’m also listening to Ben&Ben.
How are you different from other singers? What makes you special?
I don’t really feel myself to be any different from other singers. Every singer is special and has their own style, but I’m a songwriter and of course my songs are different from others because I put my heart and soul into them.
How do you balance being a mother and wife against your desires as a musician?
It sounds like these aspects of my life are in constant conflict with each other when the truth is far from it. Everything is about achieving the right balance and harmony. The way I see it, my role as a mother and a wife, my loving family, these are my creative juices. I can’t see one working without the other.
What are your future plans?
I want to be able to perform more and share my music with others. Live gigs and music videos are a great medium to further that.
How do you intend to share your music?
In today’s world, social media has created a new avenue for independent artists like myself to get heard. For now, this is how I plan to share my music with others – Facebook, Spotify, YouTube… the usual channels, but of course I am open to other means!
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