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Sunday, 23 March 2003  
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Vision of a samanera

by Padmini Thorakumbura

Samanera Pajalo is an Austrian monk and a photographer with a particular penchant for nature.

He took to photography as a hobby. He has been conducting meditation sessions in Sri Lanka for about 8 years.

Kudumbigala Sitha Pokuna (pond) in moonlight

Samanera Pajalo travels through the forests down south, in Ampara, Lahugala, Kudumbigala, Dhambana, Mahiyanganya. Here he captures scenes known and familiar using natural sunlight as a medium.

"My photographs are not meant to be 'perfect art' but an expression of my attitude towards the world and opportunity to share with others my unusual and colourful life on this Island. I do not go around hunting for 'objects'. Merging with the mood of the landscape, the atmosphere of different light and shadow of day and night and the everyday life of the people, most photos just 'happen' in an unobstructive and spontaneous way.

In some of these photographs I am also the 'object' either because they are self portraits or they were taken by someone else," he says.

Samanera S. Pajalo is planning an exhibition between mid April and mid May.

Ampara - Samangala

He was born in Austria in 1969. After completing his higher studies in a catholic missionary school, he travelled extensively in America, where he worked on organic farms. Yet dissatisfaction with common day to day life and his search for a deeper meaning led him towards Buddhism and a deeper sense of spirituality.

Returning to Europe, he spent several months in Buddhist centres after which he started his journey to Asia. In 1991 he got ordained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand and three years later he moved to Sri Lanka where he discovered his second home.

Besides spending time in seclusion for meditation and yoga, Samanera Pajalo has made photography a tool to explore life. He also writes, publishes and is socially active with his project 'simple wisdom'.


Over 100 competitors to participate in Dancesport

Entries have been flowing in at an amazing rate and to date over 25 overseas couples have confirmed their participation in the championship. There will be competitors from Australia, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. From Sri Lanka, 30 couples have sent in their entries.

Six couples in each event will vie for the championship trophies in the finals. Two events, the seniors over 40 and seniors over 50 events will be a first at the Footwork Championships. Two couples will represent Sri Lanka in both events.

The Amateur trophy is the highest accolade a dancer could receive at the championship. There will be two couples from Sri Lanka for the Latin American Amateur event, namely Yohann Jurie and Manuja Siriwardena from Naomi Rajaratnam's School of Dance and Kevin Nugara and Kaushali Tillekeratne from El Latino.

Arun Dias Bandaranaike, always a familiar face at Dancesport Championships, will be the Master of Ceremonies at the event. The scrutineer will be Lester Gomez and a special scrutineering programme developed by Footwork will be utilized to ensure accuracy. 15 International Adjudicators will officiate at the championship.

Carlsberg and Mobitel are the Principal Sponsors of this event. The Ceylon Daily News and the Sunday Observer are the official print media sponsors, the official TV station is Dynavision and the official radio stations are Sun FM and Gold FM. The official carrier is SriLankan Airlines.

For more details call Footwork on 074408822 or 071777111 or visit


Celebration of inspirational music

Presented by the Senior Students of the Elizabeth Moir school

It is said that 'words are the pen of the heart but music is the pen of the soul.' The excellent selection of songs and music performed by the senior students of the Elizabeth Moir School was truly inspirational and an evening to remember. 'RISE' was a fitting title to this unusual stage production which was performed recently to a packed audience at the Russian Centre.

The show commenced with an audio-visual presentation of breath-taking scenes which set the mood of the show. This was followed by a romantic melody played on the classical guitar by Dooray Paik. The trio comprising Tasha Hettiarachchi on cello, Neluka Seneviratne on violin and Kanniya Pieris on piano also played a lovely rendition of Salut d'amour which was really moving. In fact I would have preferred if more instrumental works were included in the programme.

The instrumental works were followed by some excellent solo performances of famous songs like John Lennon's 'Imagine', Impossible dream and 'Someday' sung by Shaun Perera, Shehan Ranatunge and Tasha Hettiarachchi respectively. At times one forgot that it was a performance staged by young people. However, Nishali Perera who sang 'I hope you dance' should have paid more attention to articulation although she had a very good contra-alto voice. The two main items sung by choir were commendable and displayed a wide range of dynamics and tone quality.

The soloists as well as the choir which performed for the first half of the show were accompanied by the music director Neluka Seneviratne who showed her prowess at the keyboard.

The second half of the concert had a complete change of mood. 'Lean on me' sung as an accapella quartet by Kent Tillekeratne, Shehan Ranatunge, Shaun Perera and Marsh Dodanwella was highly commendable.

The rest of the programme was backed by tracks. Anushka Manamperi captivated the audience by singing Whitney Houston's one time No. 1 hit song 'Greatest Love of all'. 'I will survive' sung by Nadishka Weerasuriya and 'What a feeling' sung by Tasha Hettiarachchi was excellently choreographed and kept the audience toes tapping. Thank you for the music was performed by Nathan Kerner and the choir. It was a grand finale to a memorable musical evening.

Much of the success of this show was due to the untiring efforts of the artistic director Aida Mansoor and Marsh Dodanwella, the producer whose experience made the show highly professional.

The exquisite costumes, choreography and the expert lighting also contributed to the success of the show.

This concert was indeed a celebration of inspirational music which undoubtedly uplifted the spirit of all those present. Indeed, an evening to be remembered. - L.W.


A dedication concert

Internationally acclaimed Concert Pianist, Sujeeva Hapugalla will present a "Dedication Concert" in memory of her father at the Lionel Wendt on Monday 24, March - 7.30 p.m.

The evening's programme is a kaleidoscopic journey through Viennese Classics, the poetic romance of Liszt and Chopin, vivid impressionism of Debussy - 'tour de force' of Spain and Cuba in evocative Latin works by Albeniz and Lecuona - to the rousing rhythms of Jazz, Blues and Mardi Gras with Gershwin.

Sujeeva Hapugalle has been highly acclaimed for her versatile presentations of a wide ranging repertoire and communication in performance that create a special affinity with her audiences. Her word as Solo Recitalist, Concerto Artiste and Lecture Recitalist has taken her to Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and South East Asia - often combined with master classes. Her stylistic repertoire embraces Classical, Romantic and Impressionistic music ... to virtuoso piano transcriptions.

Sujeeva studied at the Royal College of Music, London as a scholar of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. She has been a major prize winner at the RCM and been the recipient of several prizes and awards at National and International awards in the UK.

She has broadcast on Classic FM (UK) and BBC Television - She has recently been distinguished by being nominated an International Steinway Artiste.

Sujeeva has been a popular contributor to the UK Concert Series of the Chopin Society, Sir Yehudi Menuhin's "Live Music Now" Series and the Beethoven Society of Europe who have recently invited her to serve on their committee.

The box plan is at the Lionel Wendt and all proceeds will be towards the Royal College Union Trust. (R.H.)

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