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Sunday, 19 April 2009

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Dinesh on a successful mission:

Reviving the tunes of the past

Not many in this ever changing world of melodies and styles would take up the task of reviving the tunes of the bygone era, but energetic young musician, leader of the popular youth band Dee R Cee (originally `Dinesh and Friends')is one who does not fear to take up a challenge. The talented musician is on the mission of instilling the ancient musical strands evolving out of history into the modern setup. With primeval Lankan instruments like the Ravanahatha (Ravanastron) and the Kingiri, two locally based products which are yet to gain recognition and acceptance in the global music arena, Dinesh had set on a mission to unveil the truth which had lie hidden for centuries: the origin of music is rooted in the Ravanahatha.

"The first ever reference made to music is unscripted in the Ramayana. Legend has it that King Ravana, an strong devotee of the Hindu God Shiva, used to strum heart rendering notes by swiping the codes of the violin-like instruments with a bow to express his undying zeal to the God.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa inspects the Ravanahatha at the release of `Ravana Nada’, while Ven. Athuraliye Rathana and Dinesh look on.

Thus this age old musical device played by the origins and made using coconut shell and bamboo is noted as the first musical instrument to be played with a bow in world music history," Dinesh revealed.

Taking a less trodden path the gifted musician recently emerged with his debut CD, `Ravana Nada'. He presented his work comprising 12 instrumentals and two vocals to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 23. The CD including the first collection of tunes to be played by the Ravanahatha and compiled in an album is made up of a Hindi song penned by actress Yashoda Wimaladharma and a song named `Me Aadarae'. Both these tracks are sung by the members of Dee R Cee.

"Ven. Athuraliye Rathana took me to meet the President. I presented the Ravanahatha, related the tale linked with its origin and demonstrated a piece for him. He expressed great interest towards the matter," he noted.

"Ven. Athuraliye Rathana also asked me to play some meditative music using the Ravanahatha. He even promised to help me build an Institution for this form of music."

Dinesh was recently awarded a scholarship to attend Academy Award winning musician of the `Slumdog Millionaire' fame, A.R. Rahman's Music Academy in Chennai. He was given this unique opportunity after one of Rahman's close friends, Abdul Hameed, had witnessed the youth performing during an event before dropping a word to Rahman. Dinesh is the first Sri Lankan to be offered the chance to study at the prestigious institute.

"President Mahinda Rajapaksa had expressed his desire to contribute to the expenses during my stint in India. I also wish to thank Ven. Athuraliye Rathana, actors Ravindra Randeniya, Cletus Mendis, Geetha Kumarasinghe and Pubudu Chathuranga, former Chairman of the National Film Corporation Asoka Serasinghe, B.H. Abdul Hameed, Nimal Lakshapathiarachchi, Ganga Sudharshi, ANCL Chairman Bandula Padmakumara, Maharaja Group Head Raja Mahendran, my recording engineer Pragash Bosco (son of music director Anton John Bosco), my parents and many others who had been my pillars of strength," he added.It all began from childhood. With a father who played for the Sri Lankan Navy band and a bother who was a promising violinist, Dinesh's link with music was pre-determined. His thirst to carve a niche for himself in the musical scene emerged later as opportunities to play for the professional orchestra under the guidance of Stanley Peiris, the symphony orchestra through Ananda Dabare and Hasini Halpe and leading the orchestra for maestro Premasiri Khemadasa's `Agni' opera came his way. He had contributed to each of Master's musical compositions and composed music for 28 teledramas, five documentaries and 10 stage plays. In addition the artiste had worked under around 70 music directors and provided music for nearly 1000 audio songs as well as provided music for 75 teledramas and 25 movies to music composed by others.

"I have composed music for Sunil Costa and Sanjaya Nirmal's teledrama `Sihina Wasanthaya' . Sriyani Amarasena's newest teledrama `Sivupath Rena' and Joseph Jerome's `Ahankara Nagare', both which are slotted to be telecast soon include my music compositions. My first music composition for a song in a film, Channa Perera's second movie and Sirasa's program `Punchi Pahe Mang', is also on the list," he noted.

He is working on his second CD, `Feel My Heart', an M Entertainment product which will hit the market soon. The album is made up of relaxing melodies with a romantic aura. Around 14 musical tracks played by the violin will be included in `Feel My Heart'. Music provided by the Ravanahatha too comes into play, he said.

Always eager try his hands at something new, the old boy of St. Peter's college, Bambalapitiya, recently directed music for a passion CD.

Visharada Nanda Malini along with a troupe from Duwa staged a passion play, directed by Clement Fernando with music directed by Dinesh, during the event. The passion play taken up by the team was noted as the second oldest passion play in the world after Germany's Ober Ammergau. Staged after 20 years the music had been redesigned to take form of music similar to that found in operas. This is done so that it will suit the modern society while appealing to the universal audience, he noted.

"My aim is to use my talent to uplift Buddhism. Many individuals linked with the Buddhism helped me in many ways," said the artiste who hopes to fly to India within the next few months. He could be contacted through his e- mail address: music.dinesh@gmail.com For further information visit www.deercee.com

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