Levi Celerio

Levi Celerio (April 30, 1910 - April 2, 2002) was a Filipino composer and lyricist who was born in Manila, the Philippines. Celerio was a prolific song-writer, with over 4,000 songs to his credit. He is perhaps best-known for being a leaf-player, a feat for which he was put into the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1997, he was named National Artist of the Philippines for Music. He died on April 2, 2002.

Levi Celerio was born on April 19, 1910 in Tondo, Manila. He received a scholarship to the Academy of Music in Manila and became the youngest member of the Manila Symphony Orchestra. He wrote a great number of songs for local movies, which earned for him the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Film Academy of the Philippines. Celerio has written lyrics for more than 4,000 Filipino folk, Christmas, and love songs, including many that became movie titles.

On October 9, 1997, pursuant to Proclamation No. 1114, President Fidel V. Ramos proclaimed him a National Artist for Music and Literature. His citation read that his music "was a perfect embodiment of the heartfelt sentiments and valued traditions of the Filipino."

In his old age, Levi occasionally appeared in public, usually at a concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He was also playing at a Quezon City bar from time to time. Levi was a poor man, so poor in fact that he could not pay for his hospital bills.

He died at the Delgado Clinic in Quezon City on April 2, 2002 at the age of 91, just two days after the death of a fellow National Artist, Lucio San Pedro (who wrote the music for Sa Ugoy ng Duyan). But his death was overshadowed by the death of Rico Yan, a popular matinee idol thus, his death was received with little attention. He was buried with full military honors at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (National Heroes' Cemetery).