‘Bringing our hearts close to Christmas’: Jose Mari Chan’s classic hit gets revamped in wake of COVID-19

‘Bringing our hearts close to Christmas’: Jose Mari Chan’s classic hit gets revamped in wake of COVID-19
Jose Mari Chan receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award on Dec. 3, 2012 at the Manila Hotel on this photo from his official Facebook page. (Photo from Jose Mari Chan via Facebook)

Singer-businessman Jose Mari Chan uplifted Filipinos’ spirit amid the COVID-19 pandemic with his 2020 rendition of one of his classic hits “Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile” with different lyrics to fit into today’s context.

The so-called Christmas icon of the Philippines sang it with a changed title, “Can We Just Stop and Chat Awhile,” in the context of instant messaging and video calls as everyone is urged to be housebound in light of the public health crisis.

Some of the altered lyrics include the lines “alone in the crowd” which was modified to “in my internet” and “now who would mind” to “or to Facetime?”

Here are the revised lyrics, based on a local news outlet:

Fancy meeting you in my internet
Couldn’t help but notice your smile
While everybody else around us is surfing about,
Can we just stop and chat awhile?

I’ve been often told our world’s growing old
And that friends are harder to find
Do tell me more about yourself
We could share an hour or two
or to FaceTime?

Maybe then we could go and surf
Places that we’ve never seen.
Getaway from this gray
And lonesome days of our quarantine

Early yet to say what lies ahead
It’s the first day of the rest of our lives
Can we just stop and chat awhile
Get to know each other
I really love your smile.

Love could be waiting at the end
Of this quarantine
Let’s stop and talk awhile
Let’s stop and talk awhile

The 75-year-old singer sang the updated version of his 1973 ballad last April in celebration of Easter and to raise funds for families affected by the pandemic in partnership with Caritas Manila‘s “Project Damayan” before.

His video went viral when The Philippine STAR uploaded it on social media in honor of the beginning of the “-ber” months wherein Christmas carols and renditions would start to play in malls and commercial establishments to usher the Holiday season.

September, specifically September 16, starts the 100th-day countdown to Christmas Day which falls on December 25.

The “-ber” months are also associated with the beginning of cooler months as the La Niña season arrives in the tropical country.

Meanwhile, the social media post featuring Chan’s video prompted his name to enter local Twitter’s top trending list on Monday morning, along with the keywords “Christmas,” “1st of September” and “Good morning September.”

Filipinos expressed their appreciation of his revamped version released amid quarantine period wherein there are increased reports of depression and anxiety among the public.

“The new lyrics of Mr. Jose Mari Chan’s fitting the new normal is sooo nice… Lord pls. give this man a long, long long life. I can’t just keep smiling looking at him singing. He’s always smiling, genuine, warm and sincere. Memes aside, he’s respectable (and) brings so much positivity,” wrote a Twitter user with a heart emoji.

“Jose Mari Chan! Let’s appreciate him because despite being (in)  lockdown for almost 7 months now, we still remember to have that ‘Christmas spirit’ and find ‘happiness’ and makes us laugh!!” exclaimed another online user.

“Bringing our hearts close to Christmas amidst this pandemic is fantastic. Thank you Jose Mari Chan! Just when everyone needs it,” another Twitter user responded to his video with a heart emoji.

Chan in a recent interview with a local news outlet said that the pandemic shouldn’t stop Filipinos from celebrating Christmas as he believes that the spirit of the season is “in the hearts.”

“I would like to think that Christmas will be the same. Because Christmas is in the hearts,” he said.

“The word is hope. Let us hope that soon this virus will be blown and we will go back to our normal lives,” Chan added.

“Essentially, Christmas is family, especially to us Filipinos. Because our lives revolve around our family. So we should continue to do that. Even in the time of pandemic, let us remain close to our families,” he likewise said.

Chan is famous for his bestselling 1990 album “Christmas in Our Hearts” which features Holiday-themed songs that are usually played in public places as early as September.

Due to his popularity, it has earned him the nickname “Father of Philippine Christmas Music,” although he believes it should go to Levi Celerio, the composer of “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” and “Pasko na Naman.”

Some of Chan’s famous songs in the album include “Christmas in Our Hearts,” “A Perfect Christmas,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “Give Me Your Heart for Christmas” and “Mary’s Boy Child,” among others.

Apart from being a singer, Chan is also a businessman in the sugar industry who has a “small” interest in estate development, according to a 2019 article of PUSH.— Source: interaksyon.com / Jeline Malasig

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