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DateLine Saturday, 23 August 2008

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In Tune

with Chamikara Weerasinghe


Performers hoodwink public with technology - Mariazelle

Mariazelle Gunatilleke , perhaps is the most-demanded Sri Lankan female vocalist on stage in Sri Lankan pop. She has survived in the music industry for over three decades and she continues to maintain her stardom unaffected and singing lively as ever.

If she did anything to baila , she attracted some decent Western audience into listening to Sinhala baila songs by singing them with a lot of discipline, which may have been the result of her knowledge in Western music.

Mariazelle studied Western classical guitar under Winston Jayawardena and she had her voice trained under Estelle Deniese.

But in reason, Mariazelle Gunatilleke was hurled to stardom because of the happy-go feel in her voice which was to have been complemented by the artiste's dashing appearance on stage. The audiences were also impressed by the dress sense of the artiste.

If you want party type music, you can always go for Mariazelle's non-stop CD or a cassette. Mariazelle is Kandy Lamissi as she was lovably called by her fans since the release of her song titled Kandy Lamissi, in 1977.

How do you like being called Kandy Lamissi by your fans after all these years?

That's ok, that's the popular punch, she said smiling.

As they say it everywhere, in TV stations, radio stations and on stage Ashanthi is the Queen of hip hop in Sri Lanka, I do not see any wrong in Mariazelle being called the Queen of Sinhala Pop in Sri Lanka. Anyway hype is part of hip hop. I like the way which Mariazelle fielded Kandy Lamissi because it is a true popular title given to her by the public, and one of respect too.

The following is an interview by In Tune with Mariazelle Gunatilleke on her life and music.

Are you selective about the lyrical content in a song when you take one?

Yes. I am concerned about it. I do not take songs that are slanderous, political or using nasty language. But I do not mind singing songs with some humorous content.

Tell us about your songs. How many song albums have you released so far?

I've released six EPs during the period between 1977 to 1980, six CD albums and 40 cassettes, some of them are non-stop party type. I have recorded many songs of them songs like Rahasai Sonduru Jeeve, Yovun Sina Loke were major successes.

Have you done songs with new generation artistes?

Yes. I've recorded a song with Bhatiya and Santush recently, titled Sita Handuwawe.

How do you describe music?

A form of expression.

As of today it is done in all three languages, rap content in English, verses in Sinhala and chorus in English, Sinhala and Tamil. Isn't this disturbing?

I am not against all the three languages included in a song since we are a multi-ethnic society but this does not mean that all these songs are good.

Do you think that it is effective to use Sinhala lyrics on an originally English song?

It can sometimes give an ugly awkward effect. But a good musician can always do a better job. Kandukaraye Seethale, the Sinhala adaptation of the song By The Rivers Of Babylon is a good example.

Do you like the changes you see in new generation music today?

Music is evolving. Change is inevitable. Hip hop is a part of change which is the result of developing technology.

But has music evolved or developed in Sri Lanka as a result of these technologies. Isn't it true that it is very difficult as of today to replace players as there is a scarcity of musicians who can actually play a musical instrument?

That is true. This is because technology has taken the better of us. We are not using technology to better our music or musicianship.

Now a person who cannot sing could be made a singer with the use of technology by using what is called a pitch-corrector.

There are persons who pose as musicians by virtue of computers, who do just a cut and paste, a drum loop from somewhere, a violin loop from some other place.

They just put these together. They do not create anything, but go boasting that they are musicians. Performers are made musicians or singers overnight with the help of technology by actually robbing from other musicians.

But when it comes to perform on stage they just mime. Because they cannot sing or play because they are not musicians or singers.

Isn't it unfair by the public who come to see live performances?

It is a great injustice done to them. These guys hoodwink the public and themselves.

What do you think should happen? Isn't technology good?

Technology is good. Provided that you do not let technology rule you . You should use technology to better your music and yourself so that you can benefit the industry.

Dixon Gunarathne and Rukshan

Rukshan bags award for playing lead guitar

Rukshan Karunanayake studying in Grade 11 at Gampaha Bandaranayake College has bagged the All Island Winner Award for his lead guitar playing at the Sri Lanka Annual Competitive Festival, organised by the British & International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance & Speech.

He competed under the the 15 year old category for Electric Guitar. The event was held in July at the Colombo New Town Hall.

Ruikshan said, he is a big time fan of late guitarist singer Clarence Wijewardene.He got his first guitar from his grandfather..

"I started learning guitar under Ananda Waidyasekera. I was taught by some of 70s musicians like Annesley Malawana, Sunil Malawana, Dixon Gunarathne, Sri Kantha Dasanayake, Rukshan Perera, Wijith Peiris, Shanaka Perera, Elston Dharmarathne, Cumar Peiris, Mr. Paul Perera, Chandral Fonseka,. Nimal Punchihewa, Sooriyakumar Weerasingham, Jagath Devapriya and Kamal Perera," said Rukshan.

"I have learnt a good deal of guitar techniques from Dixon Gunaratne , the lead guitarist of both Golden Chimes and Super Golden Chimes." Dixon is residing in Switzerland. "I have met him several times in Sri Lanka and have learnt from him," he said.

Kandy Lamissi at OTSC

Mariazelle Gunathilaka will be the star' attraction at the Old Thomians Swimming club, monthly club nite to be held this month on Saturday (30). The events will take place at the club house from 8 to 11 p.m..

Mariazelle will sing a selection of Sinhala pop and Baila Hits on this day. She will also sing Western oldies. Wild Flowers led by Batison will provide backup music. Brain Thomas will be the host. It's open to all members, their families and guests, says the social secretary of the OTSC Tusita de Alwis on 0723276502.

The stature of reggae

A group of men set right a statue of reggae music icon Bob Marley in the village of Banatski Sokolac, 90 kilometers north-east of Belgrade on August 21, 2008. The Serbian village is set to reveal the sculpture next August 23, 2008 and so join other towns in the region already boasting or planning celebs-in-bronze. The Marley statue created by Croatian artist Davor Dukic .AFP



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