Sri Lankan talent breaks through to Asian high
Works by singing sensations Bathiya & Santhush and Iraj Weeraratne
have been featured on Channel V, one of India's most wide based music
channel. But at what cost?
The cover image of the album
At a grand launch recently in Colombo of the album 'No.1 hits from
the continent' by Universal Music India it was revealed that the
producers of the album has included in it among others 2 local hits
Neththra by Bathiya & Santhush and Run-Run-Run by Iraj Weeraratne.
Both songs have been doing well recently on Channel V, "Which
reflects the tastes and attitudes of a huge youth audience in Asia"
according to Raja Kakar, Managing Director of Universal Music India who
was present at the occasion.
Both songs have been picked up from albums distributed by M
Entertainment. "The company which besides being a distributor of CDs and
VCDs have taken on the role of creating and managing celebrities in the
local music industry" according to Pradeep Maharaja, Director M
He further stressed that the company's tie-up with Universal Music
India has helped them in widening their goals overseas.
Pradeep Maharaja, Director, M Entertainment addressing the gathering
launching the album ‘No. 1 hits from the sub-continent’ by Universal
Music India. Pictures by Sudath Nishantha
International stardom is a notion that goes through all contemporary
music makers, specially the young. Kalakeerthi Premasiri Khemadasa who
was guest of honour at the launch of 'No.1 hits from the sub-continent'
said that music should be expressed from within one's body giving it
rhythm and expression. But if the maestro watched close enough (the
performance that evening by Iraj and his young set) he would have
realised that these youngsters had those qualities in abundance. What
they lacked was a sense of direction.
Music today has become a global language than ever before but what
should be realised is that there should be some individual identity
tagged on to it to differ from the rest. To state that both Neththra and
Run-Run-Run sounded more products of India than our own in more aspects
than one, this is putting it lightly.
The fact that one has to break loose from tradition and fine nuances
of one's culture to produce modern music can be stated as a bigger a
myth today than ever before. All the modern features that are used by
young musicians today has opened more doors for them to study the
multitude of methods that can integrate the past rhythms of their soil
with their compositions.
This brings us back to the statement made by maestro Khemadasa with
regard to "music has to be expressed from within ones-self" Yes! but the
urgent necessity to be original, specially when harbouring into
territories where music is celebrated in mega proportions becomes
The 2 albums which have already broken into the Indian music scene is
surely a giant step for our young music makers who are talented in many
modern features which are demanded when composing music to impress youth
While these artistes need to be congratulated for getting a slot on
one of Asia's top music channels and also for being included in 'No.1
hits from the sub-continent' along with many other pop stars of the
region, M. Entertainment and Universal Music India that were responsible
in bringing about these events to reality is worthy of admiration.
However looking at the two Sri Lankan clips on the day of the launch it
was a difficult task to believe the fact that our artistes had the
courage to produce something that looked and sounded so remote.
They can take cover behind the fact that music is a universal
language but an impression should not be created in our young musicians
that the only way to enter international charts is to arm themselves
with compositions devoid of any rhythm and verse based on Sri Lankan
values or else they will all face the inevitable fate that can be sensed
which will befall upon are artistes that are making headway through
'Channel V' in India.
To cite an example 'Sri Lanka he Bathiya Santoshye' the line that is
uttered as an introduction to Neththra is all that will be remembered
for its Sri Lankan identity.
Competition for young musicians
The seventh Biennial Concerto Competition, organized by the Symphony
Orchestra of Sri Lanka (SOSL), is scheduled to take place in May 2006.
This series of competitions was established by the SOSL in 1994, for the
purpose of exposing and highlighting talented young musicians in Sri
Lanka, while encouraging them to strive for excellence in the field of
The competition is open to any instrumental musician under the age of
30, or vocalist under the age of 35. Applications fall into four
categories - vocalist, pianists, those performing on stringed
instruments, and wind instruments.
The competition consists of two rounds: in the first, applicants
perform a selection of solo works for their particular instrument or
voice, chosen according to guidelines set out by the SOSL. Those who
pass the initial round will perform a concerto or pieces for voice and
orchestra (with piano accompaniment) of their choice at the final round,
and the winner in each category will be invited to perform as a soloist
with the SOSL at its "Young Soloists Concert" in July 2006.
The winning competitors will also be awarded a cash prize of Rs.
25,000 each, and all finalists will be awarded certificates at the
"Young Soloists Concert".
Judges for both stages of the competition are carefully selected for
their musical experience and expertise, The SOSL has maintained the
practice of inviting at least one foreign judge on the panel, thereby
ensuring that standards of performance are in keeping with international
standards. Competitors are judged not only on technical ability, but
also on musicianship, stage presence and decorum.
Entry forms, rules and regulations, and performance guidelines can be
obtained at the SOSL office - 204, De Saram Place, or on the Orchestra
Website - symphonyorchestraofsrilanka.org Entries close on December 31.
Yugandaraya examines backdrop to '71 JVP uprising
Maurine plays the role of a tormented mother whose husband has been
shot by a British planter during 1915 Sinhala/Muslim riots.
Thrishuna Perera is the child actor.
Yugandaraya (story of an era), a teledrama directed by Somachandra
Wijesuriya explores the turbulent post '56 times and betrayals that led
to the first armed uprising of youth in 1971.
The teledrama shot in scenic Rattota in 57 days has reached the
editing table. It is based on Somachandra's controversial English novel
'First Rising" published in 2002 and depicts the tragedy of a fictional
Sinhala Schoolteacher family in Kegalle during the 1956-1971 era. The
family decays and collapses on the eve of 1971 due to economic stress.
Finally, the son of the teacher leaves home and marches to join the
Rupavahini Corporation has reviewed the screenplay by Somachandra.
The reviewers have commented that Yugandaraya will enlighten the present
day youth on many socio-political facets of the '71 uprising.
Maurine Charuni plays a lead role and other roles are played by Wimal
Jayakodi, Nimal Yatiwella, Wasantha Pali, Helapriya Darshana, Madhuka
Gunatilleke, Somaweera Gamage, Chanaka Fernando, Krishna Kumar, Dilruk
Risantha and British actor Daniel Collins. The role of Gunasoma who
marches to the rebellion is played by Tushara Godage of the new
generation of young actors.
Ratnasiri Paranavithana, Keerthi Ratnayake and Shama Okandapola have
assisted in direction. Camera work is of Kithsiri Hewage. Editing is
under Lalantha Jayakodi and Ashoka Sellakapu functioned as art director.
Make-up artist was Ranjith Wickramasinghe assisted by Priyankara Tilak
Ratnayake Co-producers are Kausalya Films (USA) and Somachandre
The 1971 Southern uprising is a dividing line of the country's
political history. Lessons of history revealed in Yugandaraya will be of
interest to present day youth as well as adults who are unaware of the
reasons for the uprising. Many discriminating viewers who have read the
novel 'First Rising' are awaiting the release of the teledrama.