Backtracks: Jocelyn Gonzales

On this second BACKTRACKS offering, The MMiXdown’s Jocelyn Gonzales tells the story of a love song that echoes through her childhood to the present day. It’s a tune that, for her, has come to symbolize her cultural heritage and her parents’ devotion to each other.

Teddy and Felicitas Gonzales, Manila, Philippines ca. 1967

Listen to her audio essay below:


This classic Filipino kundiman that Jocelyn remembers was written in 1938 by Miguel Velarde Jr. for the movie, Bituing Marikit. In the film, the song was performed by matinee idol Rogelia de la Rosa, known as “The King of the Philippine Movies”. In true Filipino fashion, Rosa switched over from acting to public office, later serving in the Philippine Senate and as a diplomat under Ferdinand Marcos.
In 1964, Tom Spinosa and Mike Velarde Jr released an English/Tagalog version of the song, greatly increasing it’s familiarity in the United States. On the Tri-World Records release, Cora and Santos Beloy performed the song. Of this version, the original composer Velarde remarked:

“Sometime in 1960 a famous US singer who made a personal appearance in Manila presented me a contract seeking authority to record ‘Dahil Sa Iyo’ in the States. The five figure offer was fabulous but I turned it down – simply because she wanted to change the title to an American title. I couldn’t, and wouldn’t sell the identity we are trying hard to establish. The merits of the song is its identity.”

Patrick Grant

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