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Sunday, 22 February 2009

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A 35 year celebration



 Rohana Weerasinghe
Pic by : Saman Sri Wedage

Locally and internationally renowned music composer, Rohana Weerasinghe had journeyed a long way in his chosen field. In a career spanning 35 years the talented musician had composed music for over 3,000 tunes sung by more then 700 vocalists. With years of experience behind Rohana is ready to engage on a new venture in his tuneful career. The Sunday Observer met the virtuoso to discuss about the turn of events in his life.

“Aadaraneeya Rohana - Panthis Wasara”, an evening of music and dance will be held at the BMICH on February 25 at 6 p.m. to celebrate this ‘long journey’.

“I hope to launch a variety of musical compositions. They are very different from the ones I have composed in the past. I will also launch a collection of songs along with a book including the milestones and interesting facts in my career,” Rohana expressed.

All these events and more will take place at “Aadaraneeya Rohana - Panthis Wasara”, an evening of music held to celebrate his 35 year stint in music. The musical extravaganza organised by Bandara Eheliyagoda of `Events’ will take place at the BMICH on February 25 at 6 p.m. A symphony based on the concept of the river titled `Wewa’ will be first in line of programs featured at the event. This musical composition brings the serene atmosphere of witnessing the beauty of a river from its bank to the listeners. Twenty-five members of the Sri Lankan Symphony Orchestra led by Ananda Dabarae will provide music.

‘Kamatha’, a creative music orchestra piece made of folk music merged with choir music will be presented by Francis Almeda and the choir of St. Joseph’s College. Another event included in the schedule is the `Daskon’ musical ballet and presented by renowned choreographers Channa Wijewardena, Upuli Panibaratha and Ravibandu Vidyapathi.

“We will be presenting the Daskon - Premila romance with a new concept. Premila Devi is deceived to think that Daskon had left the country instead of being killed in our version. The dancers will express their emotions through facial expressions and body movements according to the music,” he explained.

Twenty-six songs set to tune by Rohana along with a continuous string of sections of 10 popular songs for which he had composed music will be sung by 40 vocalists. Visharada Nanda Malini, Sunil Edirisinghe, Victor Ratnayake, Dr. Sanath Nandasiri, Somathileke Jayamaha, Visharada Neela Wickramasinghe, T.M. Jayaratne, Amarasiri Peiris, Visharada Edward Jayakody, Bandara Athauda, Lakshman Wijesekara, Nirenjala Sarojini, Nirmala Ranatunga, Visharada Deepika Priyadarshani, Pradeepa Dharmadasa, Visharada Charitha Priyadarshani, Karunaratne Deulganae, Bandula Wijeweera, Rohana Siriwardena, Nirosha Virajini, Shashika Nisansala, Athula Adikari, Visharada Samitha Mudunkotuwa, Ananda Weerasiri, Dammika Bandara, Dayan Vitharana, Uresha Ravihari, Janaka Wickramasinghe, Krishantha Erandika, Rohan Shantha Bulegoda, Harshana Dissanayake, Nadeeka Jayawardena, Chamika Sirimanna, Lesley Thomas, Ranjan Saliya and Suranji Shyamali will take part in this event.

“Aadaraneeya Rohana - Panthis Wasara” will also feature “Nonchi Akka”, a satirical song based on the “Nonchi Kolama”, penned by Kumaradasa Saputhanthri and choreographed by Ariyaratne Kaluarachchi. The highlight of the evening will no doubt be the launch of Rohana’s latest CD, “Piya Puthu Gee Muthu”. Eight new tracks sung by Rohana along with eight more numbers sung by his sons, Kalindu and Chirath will be included his CD.

“People keep asking me why I am not interested in adding more songs to my list.

I believe that I have not excelled in that sector. I am aware of that as a fact because I have many years of experience in the field. You need to possess exceptional talent to emerge as a vocalist,” he noted.His latest CD comprises a duet with his sons and a duet with Nelu Adikari. It also includes a duet between his son, Chirath and Sunil Edirisinghe’s daughter, Shankani.

In addition to this a book comprising a collection of the milestones of his career will also be launched along with another volume containing some Western and Eastern musical scores he had composed for songs sung by other vocalists. Rohana’s official website www.rohanaweerasingheonline.com will also be launched at `Aadaraneeya Rohana - Panthis Wasara’. People’s Bank, Lottery’s Board and Development Lottery will sponsor the event.


Nav Pratibha 2009 :

Abundance of talents in display

Though none of them were Indian, it seemed beyond doubt that they have mastered their chosen art form whether it is Indian classical music, dance or instrumental music, with their fine-tuned subtle nuances. What manifested here was the sheer amount of hard work and dedication on the part of students to master an art form and their teachers unyielding strive for excellence.

They were the students of the Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo and Nav Pratibha 2009 was their talents display in Indian classical Dance and Music which was held recently at the Kularathne Halle, Ananda College.

The colourful evening began with a Sitar Recital, Sitar Sandhwani (a symphony). It was a composition by Dr. Nirmala Kumari Rodrigo based on raag Hansadhawani and played with Madhyalaya Teen Taal on Sitar.

The item was accompanied on tabla by Shastrapathi Chanaka Peiris and Shastrapathi Chandralal Amarakoon. It was one of the best items in the evening performance. Among other things, students of Dr. Nirmala Kumari Rodrigo displayed their talents with a mastery of the instrument Sitar. Perfect performance was the result of dedicated practice and understanding among the players. In fact, the raag Hansadhawani set the mood for the concert.

The Carnatic Vocal music recital with its two parts of Keerthanam and Bajan, offered a glimpse into the world of Carnatic music which grew up along with Hindustani music in India. Keerthanam (Sri Vicknarajam in ragam Nattai and thalam Misra Chapu) and Bajan (Shri Ram in raagam Yaman Kalyani and Thaalam Adi). The item was presented by students of Arundathi Sri Ranganathan. This item was accompanied on mirudangam by V. Jambunthan, on violin by S. Thibakaran, flute by Kumara Liyanawatte and on ghatam and morsingh by Ratnam Ratnadurai.

It was a rare occasion where Sri Lankan audience was able to listen to Carnatic music with authentic flavour. The players were able to evoke the age-old sentiments hidden among the notes and thalam.

Violin Sandhwani and the item based on Raag Bilawal was presented on violin by a group of students. The item was accompanied on Tabla by Shantha Senarath Yapa. Once again the violin recital showcased the budding talents. Fine recital of notes in their proper sense manifested the hard practice which enabled them to play the Sandhwani with facility.

The attentive response from the audience who would have thoroughly enjoyed the violin recital, also testified to the successful performances. Here the teachers should be praised not only for excellent performances of their students but also for having trained the students in the right posture of both sitting and playing the violin. Significantly this right posture and the right manner of playing was also practiced by students who played the Sitar recital.

However, the Hindustani vocal music recital and the Bharatha Natyam recital were not as impressive as some other items of the concert such as Kathak Dance Recital and the Bharatha Natyam recital which in fact was the last item of the concert.

The Tabla recital, in which the diverse playing techniques of the instrument such as uthaan, mukhada, tukda and gat were demonstrated by students, was one of the attractive items. Students belonging to different age groups showed that each and every one of them had mastered the diverse aspects of playing the instrument of Tabla. Another important aspect was the well-synchronised coordination among the players and from the performance. It was obvious that the students enjoyed playing Tabla avoided it becoming a mechanical performance.

Kathak dance recital by group of students, once again, belonging to different age groups, was marked for it sheer beauty and mastery on the part of the performing students of intricate foot movements which constitutes an important character of Kathak style of dancing.

The out-of-ordinary costume designed for the item, had added much-needed allure to the performance. Teachers should be commended for imparting the finer craft of Kathak to the students who in turn, have mastered it with passion. The performers not only excelled as exponents of Kathak but also in adapting appropriate gesticulations and facial expressions that made it one of the loveliest and colourful items of the concert.

Nav Pratibha 2009 was marked for its colourful disposition of Indian classical dance and music and for introducing budding talents to the Sri Lankan music arena. The Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo which presented the concert should be commended for offering Sri Lankan audience with authentic Indian classical dance and music and producing a generation of artists who can take rich cultural elegancy to posterity.

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