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Nanda Malini brings out her 30th CD:

Originality the key to success



Veteran vocalist Nanda Malini

She is a blessed one for she had reigned the music industry and the hearts of the public throughout the years. Despite the waves of change her creations sprinkled with aptitude and meaning have been loved and embraced by countless numbers.

There can be no comparisons between her and other vocalists. Other vocalists peruse music but in Sri Lanka’s legendary vocalist Nanda Malini’s case, music is a relentless devotee.

Trends may evolve overnight and equally rapidly evaporate but when it comes to appreciating quality music, it is clear where the people’s choice lies for she was presented with the prestigious SLIM/Nielson People’s Awards for two consecutive years.

Now music lovers can rejoice once again for she is on the brink of launching a new CD, the 30th to her name, Sinhala-Pali Jayamangala Gatha Naraseeha Gatha Saha Atavisi Budu Guna which comprises three genres of Buddhist sermons.

“All my previous CDs were made up of songs. I was struck by the rapid changes overtaking the music scene from 10 years. Most of the lyrics are meaningless and the tunes and techniques have been borrowed from foreign music which we cannot claim as our own.

Pilgrimages

“This crisis caused me to look around for a different path away from song. I began listening to Pali and Sanskrit stanzas included in the Vandana Gatha CDs which I have brought back with me from my pilgrimages to India. I was especially taken with Indian semi-classical vocalist, Suba Lakshmi’s CD, Suprabathan.

In many homes in India, they play this CD early in the morning because people can free their mind from stressful thoughts and relax after hearing these stanzas. It has a meditative quality and boosts their mind to face a pleasant day.

I was in India for about a year and I too felt the tranquillity offered by these stanzas,” Nanda Malini explained how she came across the seeds of inspiration to her new work.

The CD includes Jayamangala Gatha, Naraseeha Gatha and Atavisi Budu Guna in Sinhala as well as Pali. It comes together with a small hand booklet which includes the verses so that the listener can recite along with the recording.

The CD will be launched at a special function organised by Bandara Eheliyagoda of ‘Events’ which will take place at the BMICH on December 31 at 4.30 p.m. The event will be chaired by Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalarathne while Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha, senior lecturer Ven. Agalakada Sirisumana and Prof. Sumanapala Galmangoda of the Pali and Buddhist studies at the Kelaniya University will speak. Krishantha Dayananda will compere the show while Nanda Malini will recite all the stanzas included in the CD accompanied by Rohana Weerasinghe’s music.

Stanzas


The Sinhala-Pali Jayamangala Gatha Naraseeha Gatha Saha Atavisi Budu Guna CD cover

“This is the first time a CD comprising of Sinhala and Pali stanzas will be launched. I did not wish to launch the work under a label.

It is sponsored by People’s Bank and is not for sale but distributed as a gift by the bank,” she related adding that People’s Bank chairman W. Karunajeeva and its Financial Manager Deepal Abeysekara had been very supportive.

“The three types of stanzas in Sinhala Pali Jayamangala Gatha, Naraseeha Gatha Saha Atavisi Budu Guna contains some of the admirable verses on the Buddha.

The originals are in Pali and it is impossible trace them to the period when they were first scripted because they were done centuries ago. Pali is considered to be the language of the Buddha and we are overcome with a sense of familiarity once we hear the language spoken though we are unable to make sense out of it.

Many of our ancient books preserved at temples have been written in Pali but the public have not been able to benefit from this because they can’t read and understand the language.” Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne had translated the verses of the Pali Jayamangala Gatha into Sinhala while the Plai Naraseeha Gatha had been translated into Sinhala by Kavindra Raphael Tennakoon. Kavindra Siril Hevawasm had translated the Atavisi Budu Guna into Sinhala. “I recited Jayamangala Gatha in 1986 for SLBC’s Miyasiya, a programme based on folk songs.

The response was overwhelming and when Lak Handa was incepted in 1996, Newton Gunaratne requested me to give a recording of the Sinhala Jayamangala Gatha to be played every morning through their radio station. Prof. Ariyaratne rewrote the verses to go along with the Wasantha Thilaka metre, included in the Pali Ashtakaya. Austin Munasinghe did the music then and two verses are still being played each day on Lak Handa,” Nanda Malini mused.

“Naraseeha Gatha includes a set of verses sung by a Buddhist woman relating the admirable qualities of her husband. Many years after Prince Siddhartha left his wife and son to seek enlightenment, he returns to the city of Kimbulwat. On this visit Princess Yashodara sees him from the balcony but she does not feel any hatred towards him for abandoning her.

She sees the admirable qualities of the Buddha and points them out to her son,” she said adding that the translation by Tennakoon had previously been carried by the Rasavahini magazine. “Ven. Thirikunamale Ananda helped me trace this work and we could locate it among Ven. Somananda’s collection in his library.”

Buddhists believe that there were 28 Buddhas throughout Samsara. The Ata Visi Budu Guna includes verses appreciating their sacred characteristics. Around 10 years ago I sang these verses when a Buddha statue was taken from Vajiragnana temple, Maharagama, to the top of the Rosa Thirivana hill at Namal Uyana. The chief organiser of the event, Siril Hevawasam, the former editor of the Hansard, asked me if I could recite the 28 verses he had translated into Sinhala.

These verses were set to tune and I recorded the pieces and gave it to them,” she replied, recalling how they have rerecorded all the verses for the CD.

Feedback

The stanzas are accompanied with soothing music from musical instruments like the flute, esraj and the violin. She had given the first version of her recording to some Pali experts to listen and asked for their feedback before composing the final version.

Queried if fans could expect the third collection of her film songs next year she said that she is not sure what her next CD will be based upon.

“I am determined to launch the final collection of my film songs in a CD but I am also eager to engage in something new and different.

Each of the 29 CDs I have launched in my career is different from each other but I have always catered something positive to the society. I suppose that is why the public still cherish me in their heart,” she concluded.


Swadeshi wins accolade for Karuvala Gedera

Swadeshi Industrial Works PLC, Sri Lanka’s pioneer in herbal personal care products, has once again won approbation for its role as a sponsor of quality teledramas that promote traditional values.

This latest award presented by the Kala Vimansa Ekamuthuwa, an association of artistes, honours Swadeshi Perlwite for sponsoring Sudath Rohana’s direction Karuvala Gedera, which was based on a famous novel by Martin Wickremasinghe set in a village in the southern coast of the island many years ago.

The award acknowledges the catalytic role that Swadeshi has played in bringing Karuvala Gedara to local audiences.

This is the second such award won by Swadeshi in the past three months for sponsoring a teledrama of cultural and historical significance.

In September, the company won an award for the sponsorship of Mahathala Hatana from the Wariga Sabawa, an association of University students. A spokesperson for the company said that sponsorship of Karuvala Gedera is another example of Swadeshi’s commitment to present work that brings out the country’s rich heritage, culture and values.

“One of our objectives is to educate the younger generation on the country’s history, heritage and culture in the hope that the importance of safeguarding them for future generations will be understood” she said.

Among the other teledramas sponsored by Swadeshi are Saradiel and Ambu Daruwo directed by Sudath Rohana, and Bopath Sakkiya by Sathischandra Edirisinghe. Swadeshi also supports many religious activities in the country such as the annual Aloka Poojas of four of the most renovated places of religious worship in Sri Lanka, the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya, the Kiri Vehera and Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya at Katharagama, Saman Devalaya at Rathnapura and Dambadeniya Raja Maha Viharaya.

- PR


Noel at Russian Centre

Noel (2004) will be screened at the Russian Centre, Colombo, on the December 27 at 5.p,m.

On Christmas eve in New York, the lonely divorced publisher Rose Collins expects a miracle to improve the health of her mother, interned in a hospital with Alzheimer. She feels sorry for the patient of the room in front of her mother’s and meets his visitor.

Meanwhile, the Latin Nina Vasquez breaks her engagement with her beloved fiancé Mike due to his suffocating jealousy, but misses him.

Mike is stalked by the stranger bartender Artie Venzuela.

Poor Jules expects to spend the Christmas night in the hospital, where he spent the best Christmas of his life when he was a teenager. The lives of some of these characters cross with others during the night. Noel stars Susan Sarandon, Paul Walker, Penelope Cruz and Alan Arkin. It is directed by Chazz Palminteri.

For further details, please call Russian Centre on 2685429, 2685440.


Rise of Ravihans

Meet Sri Lanka’s youngest professional music film composer and commercial music producer:

Ravihans with his parents Pictures by Saman Sri Wedage

Talent has no age barrier. When he was just a child turning towards music, his passion in life, little did he or his parent dream that he will excel to such great heights in this field of his choice. However Ravihans Wetakkepotha took everyone by surprise when he carved a niche for himself in the music scene and went on to become Sri Lanka’s youngest professional music film composer and commercial music producer, rapper and hip hop artist.

The young lad was born in Colombo in 1987 and began turning towards the path of his destiny at an early age. He took keyboard lessons beginning from the age of five before pursuing greater spheres like percussion and drums.

He took up the tabla when he turned eight and was a student of maestro P.V. Nandasiri. He was also at the forefront of the scene when his alma mater, D.S. Senanayake College, won the All Island National Music Championship in 1999 for Ravihans wad the leader of the college’s orchestra.

He formed ‘Paradox’ the instrumental band who emerged victors at the Talent Search Competition in 2003. Having studied applied music, the talented young man experimented with ethnic music and production techniques and brought a whole new outlook to the Brass Monkey Band.

During this period he was also evolving into a record producer under the influence of European sound designer and producer Andreas Lowas. Ravihans took up the complex and essential aspects of making commercial music and balancing natural composition and blending electronically moderated sounds.


Sangeeth Wijesooriya performs the debut performance of Sonduree which is set into melody by Ravihans

Ravihans during the event

While studying at the University of Nottingham he met Hasan Jawad, the founder of the renowned hip hop and RnB sensation ‘One Step Ahead’ (OSA) which was the first international music act to cross the boundaries of the Asian music industry.

Their latest news include singing a major record label and beginning operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunai. Core members of OSA, Ravihans, Hasan Jawwas (alias Angel Rock), Amjad Mansoor and Keshan Perera, will be launching their debut album on December 24 in Jakartha, Indonesia and Kualalampur, Malaysia.

Though it is barely three months since he entered the Sri Lankan music industry, Ravihans had produced commercial hits like Nelum Vilen Pana featuring Dushyanth Weeraman and Premi with Samitha Mudunkotuwa.

Currently he is working as the music director in many projects like Wasantha Dukgannarala’s maiden cinematic venture Kashyapa based on the historic tale of the late Segiri Kashyapa while being involved with Chamara Peries’ tele creation Ayal.

He has also signed to work for two more movies while working on par with Eshantha Peiris on his first musical Thw Kuweni which will be launched in April 2009. His website www.ravihans.com is under construction and will be launched soon.


Reviving folk tales


Some scenes from the tele series


Director Tusitha with the crew

Throughout the years folklore had been related and passed on from one generation to the other. These witty stories, centering on all types of characters, are not targeted at mere entertainment but embody an inspiring message for its listeners, making it an enjoyable past time among the young and old.

Tusitha de Silva’s new tele series, Mahev Ratey, coming on the mini screen every Saturday at 7.30 p.m. on ITN is based on these all time favourites. These one-episode dramas are scripted by popular teledrama script writer Somaweera Senanayake. Mehev Ratey is the first local tele creation to be based on folk tales.

A whole line up of veterans as well as up coming actors have joined hands to revive the age-old stories descending from the past. Suminda Sirisena, Janaka Kumbukage, Grace Ariyawimal, Anton Jude, G.R. Perera, Sandun Wijesiri, Anuraddhika Paddukkage, Ravindra Yasas, Daya Tennakoon, Saman Hemaratne, Lal Kularatne, Ananda Atukorala, Susila Kottege, Ratna Sumanapala, Piumi Shanika, Medha Jayaratne, Berty Susiripala, Sanet Dikkumbura, Malkanthi Jayasinghe, Gamini Jayalath, Anura Bandara Rajaguru, Mahendra Weeraratne, Somasiri Kolambage, Seetha Kumari and Vinnie Vetthasinghe comprise the star cast.

Music is by Rohana Weerasinghe, make up by Tharanga Rukmal, art direction by Rohitha Hevawitharana and production coordination by Kamani Rajapakse. Chathurika Fonseka is the editor while Ananda Rajapaksa is the production executive.

Camera and lightening is by Thisara Thulvan. The assistant director is Keerthi Ruwan. Mehev Ratey is produced by Dr. P.A. Kirivandeniya on behalf of Sanasa Development Bank and coordinated by Creative Circle Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.


Invisible R e a l i t y

Bishop’s College, Colombo, held a three-day Science exhibition titled ‘Invisible Reality’ recently. The event was open to the public and students from many schools visited the event to upgrade their knowledge on Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Astronomy and IT.

Consultant Paediatrician to the Chest Hospital, Welisara, Dr. Philine Peiris, and Head of the Department of Physics of the University of Colombo, Prof. J.K.D.S. Jayanetti attended the event.

The exhibition came to a finale on the ‘Science Day’ on which lecturers of the Department of Chemistry of the University of Colombo, Prof. Nalin de Silva and Dr. Rohini de Silva took part.

- RJ

Moments from ‘Invisible Reality’

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