More laurels for Dinesh Subasinghe in Sri Lanka and
Lankan musician catches India's eye
Remember Dinesh Subashinghe, the Sri Lankan musician who set off on a
scholarship to Oscar Award winning musician A.R. Rahman's Music Academy
in Chennai? He is back in the island for a brief spell.
"Meeting Rahman is the highlight of my career. I presented my CDs,
Ravana Nada and Feel My Heart, to him and he was delighted with the
work. Das Daniel, one of the main musicians who coordinate with cinema
music in South India, he was impressed with my music and gave me the
opportunity to play some of my
Dinesh Subasinghe with his main musical instrument, the violin
recordings in AM Studio, Chennai. I played Tamil and Telugu movie
music composed by G. V. Prakash," the enthusiastic young man unraveled
his experiences in Indian soil.
He was later invited to join the South Indian Cine Musicians Union
which compromises some of the most talented musicians in the country.
By attaining the membership Dinesh set another milestone in Sri
Lanka's music history and his own career by becoming the first Sri
Lankan to join the union.
"I received a number of opportunities to try my hands at different
streams of music. Our lecturers were mostly from USA and Europe. They
taught us the origins of musical history, theory, music appreciation,
audio technology, conducting, sight, singing, and choir. I chose the
violin as my main instrument," he noted, expressing his passion for the
stringed instrument played with the bow. He also focused on Hindustani
music as a secondary subject as he wished to better his knowledge and
skills in different genres of music so that each of his pieces will be
nurtured with diverse forms of art from around the globe.
Speaking about his teachers in general Dinesh revealed that his
history and harp music teacher, Alison, was the music score writer for
Danny Boyle's hit movie 'Slumdog Millionaire'. She had also worked as an
Assistant Music Director for many projects.
Another teacher, Edith Martin, performed the cello for Yashraj movie
Yuvvraaj which starred Katrina Kaif. He noted that the mesmerizing
melodies which haunt the film, played by Kaif's delicate hands as seen
on screen, actually transcended from Martin's cello.
"Many globally renowned musicians come to harness budding musicians
at the academy. Rahman's dream is to bring the school to match the
levels of some of the top Music Academies in the US. He also plans to
establish a symphony orchestra encompassing the most gifted musicians of
the era," Dinesh expressed some of the ideas that India's music maestro
had shared with them.
Dinesh had met seasoned vocalist S.P. Balasubramaniam and reputed
percussionist Sivamani during his stint in India. Balasubramaniam had
been in acquaintance with maestro Premasiri Khemadasa and had even
rendered his voice to some of his tunes in movie background vocals.
With A.R. Rahman and the students at his Music Academy
He had been devastated to learn of the Sri Lankan music genius'
death. Similarly Sivamani too was shocked to receive the news of past
friend, Sri Lankan percussionist, Nelson Thiagaraja's death. It dhows
that Sri Lanka and India have had decades of a tuneful friendship.
"I performed with M. Kalyan, Narasimhan, Srinivas Murthy and Shekar.
All of them have played significant roles in Rahman's pieces. I'm
grateful to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ven. Athuraliye Rathana, my
family, friends and the media for helping me to achieve success," he
Though he was away from home the gifted musician had not lost contact
with the local art scene. He had composed music for Sirasa TV's upcoming
teledrama Chandratna Mapitigama's Sundarai Premaya during his stay in
India. Sahil Jeeth and Priya Andrews, students of Rahman, have rendered
their voices for the song backed by a chorus.
The track was arranged by talented pianist Rachintan Trivedi.
Significantly Dinesh had included the harmonica for the first time in
his music compositions. This is played by Anand Veer Singh.
"Priya is the great granddaughter of Indian emperor Akbar and empress
Jodhaa. She is an immensely talented vocalist. We are planning to get
together with Sahil and another student who is a gifted drummer, to
start a band," Dinesh elaborated his plans for 2010.
He clinched the award for the best music director at the Signis (OCIC)
Awards for the tunes he composed in the 2008 teledrama Siri Sirimal
recently. The teledrama directed by Sunil Costa was based on Mark
Twain's novel 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer'.
"I am continuing studies on Sri Lankan music and have composed the
melodies for Sriyani Amarasena's new teledrama Thumpath Rana which is
telecasting on TV. Sanjaya Nirmal, Sunil Costa, Joseph Jerome and
Mapitigama have also expressed their desire to work with me. I am
looking forward to giving the best of myself for music," the energetic
musician concluded with a smile.
All these triumphs and well wishes are en encouragement to the youth
who pioneered the process of bringing the island's age old musical
string instrument, the Ravanahatha or the Ravanastron to the modern
musical sphere. Dinesh will return to India for his second session at
the Rahman's Academy at the beginning of January 2010.