DateLine Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Features | Online edition of Daily News - Lakehouse Newspapers <%dim dbpath, pageTle, Section, Section1 %>

Dinesh Subasinghe’s primary work before leaving for top Music Academy in Chennai:

Ravana Nada goes big time

President Mahinda Rajapaksa inspects the Ravanahatha during the release of Ravana Nada. Ven. Athuraliye Rathana, Bhikshuni Kusuma and Dinesh are also in the picture.

Music was already in his blood for he grew up in a musical backdrop. Hailing from a family with a father who played for the Sri Lankan Navy band and a younger brother who possessed a gift to pay the violin, Dinesh Subasinghe’s destiny was pre-determined for him. The talented young musician, so eager to make his mark in the field in a unique nature recently launched his first CD by presenting it to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 23.

Titled Ravana Nada his debut contribution comprises 12 instrumentals and two vocals accompanied with the tune of the Ravanahatha or the Ravanastron, the musical instrument which he excelled in.

“The eloquent tune which derives from the Ravanahatha is believed to be played for the Hindu god Shiva, who was moved by the mellifluous notes transcending from the instrument’s strings as the bow swipes its cords.

Thus it was recorded in the Ramayanaya that King Ravana who was an avid devotee of the god possessed what has now been recognized as the first musical instrument to be played with a bow in the history of world music,” he noted adding that due to Ravana’s strong attachment to the island it is out of the musical instrument made by the orients that the western violin took shape.

Ravana Nada is the first audio product to be launched in the world which includes the music springing out of the Ravanahatha, though it had appeared in movies as a visual item. The CD includes a Hindi song panned by actress Yashoda Wimaladharma and song named Me Aadarae both sung by the members of Dinesh’s popular youth band, Dee R Cee.

Dinesh was recently awarded with a scholarship to attend Academy award winner A.R. Rahman’s Music Academy in Chennai. The opportunity came his way when one of Rahman’s close friends, Abdul Hameed, had witnessed the young musician during one of his gigs.

“This will be the first time that a Sri Lankan had been asked to join the institute. A lot of people have backed me in my success. I wish to express my gratitude to President Mahinda Rajapaksa because he had expressed his desire to help me with my expenses during my stint at the academy.

Dinesh during a violin recital

Ven. Athuraliye Rathana, actors Ravindra Randeniya, Cletus Mendis, Geetha Kumarasinghe and Pubudu Chathuranga, former Chairman of the National Film Corporation, Asoka Serasinghe, B.H. Abdul Hameed, Nimal Lakshapathiarachchi, Ganga Sudharshi, ANCL Chairman Bandula Padmakumara, Maharaja Group head Raja Mahendran, my parents, my Recording Engineer, Pragash Bosco who is the son of well known music director Anton John Bosco and many others have been supportive,” Dinesh said adding that he is making preparations to stride into the new doorway which had opened in his path.

His music venture took off on meeting Stanley Peiris. Noting the great potentiality of the youth, he introduced Subasinghe to professional orchestra. His career was further cemented when Ananda Dabare and Hasini Halpe as they included him in the Symphony orchestra.

Later he joined maestro Premasiri Khemadasa’s troupe and had played for each of his compositions. He leads the orchestra for Master’s Agni opera and had so far composed music for 28 teledramas, five documentaries and 10 stage plays.

He had worked for around 70 music directors and provided music for nearly a 1000 audio songs as well as provided music for 75 teledramas and 25 movies to the music composed by others.

“I have composed music for Sunil Costa and Sanjaya Nirmal’s teledrama Sihina Wasanthaya which is being telecast on Sirasa TV on Sundays at 8.30 p.m. Sriyani Amarasena’s newest teledrama Sivupath Rena and Joseph Jerome’s Ahankara Nagare , both which are slotted to be telecast soon include my music compositions. I composed music for a song in Channa Perera’s new film,” he said.

Dinesh is also working on his second CD, ‘Feel My Heart’, which will include 14 musical tracks. Relaxing melodies with a romantic touch will be included in the CD which will be released by M Entertainments. Though music from the Ravanahatha and the kingiri will also come to play in ‘Feel My Heart’, it is the violin which will take center stage in this album.

“My journey is no bed of roses. I aim to use my knowledge to uplift Buddhism after completing my spell in India. Ven. Athuraliye Rathana asked me to play some meditative music using the Ravanahatha. He even promised to help me build an Institution for this form of music,” he explained.

Dinesh with the Ravanahatha

A Passion CD comprising music directed by Dinesh will be launched at the Bishop’s College auditorium on April 4 at 3 p.m. Visharada Nanda Malini takes the lead in a Passion play along with a troupe from Duwa. Clement Fernando has directed the Passion play for which Dinesh had provided music.

“This is recognized as the second oldest Passion play in the world as the oldest one belongs to Germany’s Ober Ammergau. The team will be staging the creation after 20 years and I have included an opera touch to the music so that it will have more universal appeal,” he expalined.

A strong believer in justice, Dinesh presumes that a hard worker would ultimately achieve what he pines for in life. He assumed the fact that Sri Lankan music can carve a niche in world music through oriental instruments like the Ravanahatha and the kingiri which are yet to assume their identity in the global arena.

“We need to present something unique and not something which had been popularized and borrowed for other nations. Quality and originality are essential to lure the national audience to our music,” said the determined youth who had undertaken the daring mission of reviving the age old musical instrument possessed by king Ravana into the folds of the modern social set-up.

You can contact Dinesh through his email address: [email protected]

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