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Sunday, 9 October 2005    
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Sirasa super star program boosts artistes - Jagath Wickramasinghe

Multi talented music composer Jagath Wickramasinghe, says that the ongoing Sirasa Super Star Programme, of which he is one of the three judges including Rukantha Gunatilleke and Nirosha Virajani, has become the subject of much controversy.

He said that the Sirasa Super Star Program would culminate with the selection of a super artiste to be selected from seven finalists in the final round. It envisaged much scope where the finalists could vary in type. Judging was done by the panalists on the basis of performance and invariably in three different ways, but importantly it centred mainly around pitch, rhythm or tempo, pronunciation and of course other background details of the performing artists.

But Wickramasinghe said that sadly there was a disgruntled section including certain artistes who had been critical of the judging when in fact 'they are trying to do something good for the cause of music in the country?' But the fact remained that unlike other such programmes where artistes are informed through the post of how they had fared, the Sirasa programme was unique in being practical by conducting the judging then and there announcing their verdict direct to the participants.

Therefore, it was still sad and disheartening that today most people were ready to believe what is conveyed indirectly to them, be it the truth or a lie. Critics were saying that judges should be around 75 - years- old. But the gospel truth about music is that experience is derived not by age, but by practice and experience.

Wickramasinghe also said that all three panalists - Rukantha, Nirosha and himself had come up the ladder the hard way. At 39 years of age he (Wickramasinghe) had ended up as a music composer having given up an engineering career to follow in the footsteps of his parents who were musicians and started his career as a music artist at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.

He said that instead of being appreciated for their endeavour to serve their chosen fields that brickbats were being hurled at them from certain quarters.

The sorry state of the arts was such a detrimental set up which hindered its progress.

In fact, the Sirasa program should be lauded because it was constructively so different to other such t.v. programs which were 'chat program' where it was lamentable that the participants were detrimentally not music artistes but were from entirely different fields. Some were trying to mix Western music with Eastern music, but the fact is that the west would always be the west and the east always the east, Wickramasinghe said.

- Ranjan

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