For those about to rock, The Rock Company
Four years ago a company of music loving folks thought what would be
the destiny of Sri Lankan rock music in time to come. Will the local
talents in rock music rise from the long held practice of playing other
people's songs or cover songs to play their own, thought they...
Will we ever be able to make a name in the international music sphere
by playing songs of international rock
Suresh of Stigmata
artists. How can we make the best use of potential scope in
international rock music for our advantage...? These were but a few
issues that need to be resolved.
There was hardly anyone to take the matters seriously as Ajith Perera
who saw the importance of initiating some action with an aim to promote
a local rock industry with an identity of its own with much emphasis on
Thus the forming of the club, The Rock Company, the mandate to rock
in Sri Lanka raising its head in 2003 in a more organised stature.
The Rock Company will hold its latest rock show on May 6 at Clancy's
with Paranoid Earthling, Stigmata, Fallen Grace , Thilak Dias and Friend
and Ritual to rock the house .
I asked Ajith Perera, the founder of
The Rock Company, who are the office-bearers of the current Company of
All the leaders of rock bands that make their own music are regarded
as its office-bearers, he explained.
There ain't no place for those playing cover stuff because we are
working towards an aim. We want to promote original music.
We are planning to reach the international music scene with talented
bands in Sri Lanka. It is for those rock musicians who pursues a path of
creativity in what they do. The Rock Company do not want them to resort
to copying other people's music.
It is through originality that we may be able to make lucrative
profits from the international music industry.
What are the bands and musicians that
the company is relying on to play a major contributory role towards
reaching its targets?
We have about 24 bands registered with us. They include star bands
such as Stigmata, Whirlwind, Paranoid Earthlings, Independent Square and
Soul Skinner. What has the Company done towards welfare and development
of these bands?
We have already introduced several CDs with their musical creations
to the international market. We believe what we have started today will
bear fruit at some point in time in the future.
We released the "Rock Company Compilation" CD one in August 2003, and
the "Rock Company Compilation " CD two in April 2005 . The CD one has
been exported to Australia, India, Pakistan and Germany. The CD two has
been sent to reputable record labels in the international music scene.
Morbid Indiscretion, an EP by Stigmata with three original tracks by
the band has sold over 350 copies. The CD " Hollow Dreams " with heavy
metal tracks by Stigmata has been released to the international market.
Stigmata , from a live show of Rock Company
EZRA's EP "Nazarene" sold 350 copies.
The release of "Veedana" , a CD by Whirlwind with ten rock tracks in
Sinhala has also been released for the first time by us.
The Company has established a music practise studio at the self
sustaining club house for these talented bands to practise at a very
nominal fee to develop their creations which otherwise would not be
And towards their popularity and
public awareness of their existence?
Well, that is why we hold monthly rock events such as Rock Unplugged
at Clancy's on the last Sunday of every month, the much-awaited-by-fans
event Rock Saturday in Colombo, and other special events.
Rock Saturday is held every last Saturday of the Month at CR and FR
Clubhouse in Colombo 7 to enjoy all genres of rock music.
This is the only place where locals rock bands are to be found
playing their original singles.
Rappers in spotlight over racism uproar
The national outcry in the United States over racist remarks by radio
host Don Imus has triggered a fresh debate over the use of misogynistic
language beloved by rap artists.
As civil rights activists held victory parties following the sacking
of Imus over his racial slurs, other black commentators began
soul-searching over epithets such as "ho" and the portrayal of women as
sex objects in rap videos.
For some, Imus's use of the phrase "nappy-headed hos (messy-haired
whores)" to describe the mostly black
Rutgers women's basketball team was an inevitable consequence
of rap argot entering common usage by osmosis.
"The language from the rappers and comedians has seeped into the
culture to the point that Don Imus thought it was okay to call black
women 'hos,'" said Carol Swain, a professor of law at Vanderbilt
In a blog on the Huffington Post, commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson
said rappers like Snoop Dogg shared responsibility for the Imus furor,
and accused black leaders of tolerating sexist rap lyrics for too long.
"Imus demeaned a basketball team, Snoop and his pals have demeaned a
whole generation of young blacks, and especially young black women, and
blacks have let them get away with it," Hutchinson wrote.
"That's why Imus is their Frankenstein."
Snoop Dogg, who this week received a suspended prison sentence and
800 hours of community service after pleading no contest to drugs and
weapons charges, dismissed the argument that hip-hop was to blame.
"It's a completely different scenario," the rapper told MTV.
"(Rappers) are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have
made it to the next level in education and sports.
"We're talking about hos that's in the 'hood, that ain't doing shit,
that's trying to get a nigga for his money. These are two separate
But for Hutchinson, the language Snoop used in his defense only
serves to provide further evidence of the problem.
"In one grotesque sentence in his knock against Imus, Snoop managed
to get in all the ancient stereotypes about black women," Hutchinson
wrote, calling on leaders like the Reverend Al Sharpton to boycott the
rapper's next album.
Sharpton meanwhile has insisted that sexism in any form should not be
tolerated. "We will not stop until we make it clear that no one should
denigrate women," he said at a news conference in New York on Thursday.
"No one, even in the name of creativity, should enjoy a large
consumer base when they denigrate people based on race and based on
Film-maker Byron Hurt, whose recent documentary "Hip Hop: Beyond
Beats and Rhymes," looks at sexism and gender stereotypes in mainstream
hip-hop culture, meanwhile took aim at music videos populated by
scantily clad women. "You're seeing repetitive images of woman as boy
toys, as sex objects. I think that's a problem," Hurt told CNN.
But Russell Simmons, a record executive and leader of the Hip-Hop
Summit Action Network, a group which aims to promote the music, said
rappers were only guilty of reflecting the world around them.
"We're a violent country. That's our sad truth. And rappers are a
reflection sometimes of our sad truth," Simmons said, rejecting
comparisons and Imus and the hip-hop community.
"Hip-hop is a worldwide cultural phenomena that transcends race and
doesn't engage in racial slurs," Simmons said Friday in a statement.
"Don Imus' racially motivated diatribe toward the Rutgers women's
basketball team was in no way connected to hip-hop culture."
Vanderbilt academic Swain meanwhile expressed hope the Imus furor
would force the black community to address the sexist portrayal of women
"If we engage in a broader dialogue and hold members of our community
accountable then that will be a positive for the whole affair," she
Milroy, Madhushani form duo
Milroy Fernando has been in the local music scene for over thirty
years now. He lives alone in his Moratuwa residence conducting guitar
classes for young music talents around him.
Milroy does not seem to get tired teaching or playing or singing.
The former member of Calypso bands of fame, like the Skylarks and
Supertone, Milroy is as energetic as ever.
He was playing the guitar and was singing when I met him last week at
his residence. He was singing La
Milroy and Madhushani
Ceylonean's favourite "Tharuna Jeevithe Ape Vinodayen."
When I asked him if he had retired from his music career, Milroy
burst into laugh and said, " How can I stop when so many folks invite me
to sing and entertain them at weddings and parties," he said. "But you
do not have your good old friends to assist with any more, " I pointed
"Yes, but I have an exuberant female vocalist to make my job easier
as well as more interesting ," he said as he glanced at the young girl
who was sitting on a small armchair to my right.
She held a guitar in her hand. My first impression was she was shy
and timid. She politely introduced herself to me with a gentle smile and
said that her name was Madhushani.
Madhushani said that she was learning guitar from Milroy and that she
was a student of oriental vocalist Neela Wickremesinghe.
Madhushani is a manageress of a computer software company. She's got
beautiful artistic fingers. I asked her how she started her music and
I started learning music at the age of ten. I have taken violin
lessons , guitar and piano.
I like music and I am looking forward to do well in music. I like to
have a bigger audience.
I learned to play these instruments at my school, Vishakha. Neela
Wickremesinghe was my guru. I did a diploma in violin with Anil
Madhushani says she is yet to discover what suits her best in terms
of finding her own style of singing, but said she likes oriental
Then she sang the coda of Neela Wickremesinghe's "Bodhiye Viharaye"
as Milroy backed the song with a guitar accompaniment. I am sure anybody
would want to listen to her singing once heard. According to Milroy she
is a fast learner and the duo have already had a few successful musical