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Sunday, 31 July 2005    
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A fund-raiser for Richmond Fellowship

by Mahes Perera

Nimal Mendis

Remember the song Master Sir which became a standard and an evergreen in the Sri Lankan music repertoire? In town today is Nimal Mendis the well-known song writer, folk singer and pianist who was responsible for creating this gem of a song.

He is here today to stage a concert to launch his Tsunami Sri Lanka song The Sea Speaks To You, Earth Mother Crying, War on the Environment, Shanti Town, The Forgotten People and of course Master Sir. His participation is towards a fund raising campaign for the Richmond Fellowship Lanka who are dedicated to rehabilitating the mentally ill with a view to integrating them to the family and society.

This concert will be held on August 7 at the Global Towers, Marine Drive, Wellawatte, 7.00 p.m. A crusader for creative and original song writing, using the Sri Lankan folk idiom, Nimal Mendis was successful in influencing many a young lyricist and music composer in acknowledging the wealth in Sri Lankan folk music and adapting it with western overtones, to bring about a new identity in music.

On a Decca folk album of Nimal Mendis, Record producer Ray Horricks says "His work combines an awareness of western melody and harmony with great originality in his story ideas, while there is a very exotic eastern flavour about his choice of words. Also he features several unusual rhythmic feelings..."

Also on this day Sunday, August 7, the Richmond Fellowship Lanka will hold an exclusive Exhibition and Sale from 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m., which will be on till Tuesday, August 9. The exhibition and sale which will also be at the Global Towers, Marine Dive, is an endeavour to promote the craftsmanship of our urban and rural brothers and sisters. Designers from Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh along with the urban and rural folk have created the most beautiful and fashionable silks, cottons, textured fabrics, saris, kurthas, shirts, jewellery, handicrafts, paintings, table and bed linen and more.

As the saying goes seeing is believing! The residents of the Richmond Fellowship will have on sale the Hope Lamp, specially created and designed by them during their therapy sessions.

All proceeds from the concert by Nimal Mendis and by the Exhibition and Sale will go towards the building of the new home at Bopitiya for which two million rupees is required to complete the construction of the residency, and to enable the Richmond Fellowship to rehouse their residents after their home was affected by the tsunami.

Contributions could also be made in favour of Richmond Fellowship Lanka' Account No. 318207-022951-4 People's Bank, Pamunugama.


Rare artistry

If you are on the look out for a nightspot sans crashing guitars, then step into the lounge of Trans Asia any evening of the week and enjoy the distinctive artistry of pianist Claude Fernando, who entertains his audience from 6.30 p.m.-7.30 p.m.

Claude Fernando. Pic by Priyantha Hettige.

The one hour is priceless, because Claude without exaggeration is the only musician we know who has a repertoire of more than a thousand songs culled from the period of World War I to the present day. He doesn't need to refer to music sheets, his memory is amazing and he'll oblige you with requests catering to every age and every musical taste.

Claude has been featured at the Trans Asia lobby for more than twenty years without a break, ever since the inception of the hotel, which at that time was known as the Ramada Hotel. The hotel since then has changed its name thrice, before it became Trans Asia but fortunately Claude continued as a solo pianist and is unparalleled today.

In his musical journey, he has collected many credits along the way. He won the Sunday Observer Golden Clef Music Awards for his piano artistry. Composer, arranger he recorded Oriental songs for other musicians and as he tells us he was responsible for using the electric organ for the first time in Sinhala pop music when Paul Fernando recorded his hit Mala. Another 'first' that he is proud of is the introduction of his King Claude Show in 1985 which ran on ITN for 52 weeks focusing on young amateur talent many of whom are established musicians today.

Of Spitfires fame in the early years and later of his own group Claude and the Sensations, Claude has just released two catchy originals in Sinhala one of which is a duet with the popular actress dancer Nilanthi Dias.

As a solo pianist Claude has been featured at many cocktail parties coffee morning and dinners and now he has decided to break new ground and introduce his singing act as well accompanying himself on piano, or with his trio Vintage Vine. With a repertoire of a thousand songs, comprising favourites of over a hundred years there's no denying he will capture the popularity stakes.

- MP

ANCL TENDER- Platesetter of Relief Rehabilitation & Reconciliation)

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