|Sunday, 5 September 2004|
Exciting vocalist & guitarist
When you speak of Rukshan Perera you immediately associate him with the Golden Chimes and the Super Golden Chimes. But there's another facet in his music career which reveals his accomplished artistry in the Western music scene as an exciting guitarist and vocalist, and he is equally at home in both idioms. See him perform on stage and you are rooted to the fire in him. Off stage Rukshan is friendly, full of humour and quite modest about his talent.
It is history now the success of the legendary Golden Chimes and Super Golden Chimes and what is amazing is that Rukshan was a member of both these groups while he was studying for his O'Levels and A'Levels respectively.
"I left the Super Golden Chimes in '77 and joined the Esquire Set led by Nihar Hamid of Friends fame. We were contracted to perform at Afghanistan and were settled comfortably, until the Russians came and we had to leave! Soon after I joined Raj Senewiratne and Indra Raj and their band Serendib. We performed only in Europe and I enjoyed myself. Thereafter I left for the States in 1980," unfolds Rukshan.
In the States, Rukshan took a break from music threw himself into an academic career, acquired a Bachelors Degree in Information Systems, added a Masters in Business Administration, and joined the consumer product company Philip Morris as an IT Manager.
But the music vibes within him constantly stirred him into action. At a concert in New York sponsored by Philip Morris he played along with well known jazz names. He was the only novice and he survived creditably and then performed on an off including a gig with the Sri Lankan bassist Hussain Jiffry.
Heavily influenced by the music of George Benson and Santana, who are idols to him, Rukshan proudly claims that he introduced for the first time acapella singing in Sinhala performances at the re-union Super Golden Chimes concert in 2002. He followed it up at the recent re-union concert in August with his arrangement of Gamen Liyumak and the medley of Clarence's songs Pasal Kale / Kimadanawe.
"I'm sure it will catch on. Because lot of people like it and they asked me what its all about," says Rukshan. With no formal training in music, Rukshan hails from a family of musicians. He grew up to the strains of vocal harmony floating around his home. His mother is the well known music teacher Trila Perera of Princess of Wales College, Moratuwa and church organist who trained children between the ages of 8 yrs and 14 yrs and held many concerts. Quite naturally acapella comes easily to Rukshan, who was used to hearing harmony sung at home every day.
He's back home for a long, stay, in fact to put down his roots again. "I'm going to take it easy. Music wise I won't join a band as such, I intend to free lance. Recording labels have contacted me to record Sinhala songs. I'm considering the offers," concludes Rukshan Perera.
Produced by Lake House