A special San Michele Latin vibe | Sunday Observer

A special San Michele Latin vibe

“No more blues, I’m gonna

back home
No, no more blues, I promise
no more to roam
Home is where the heart is
The funny part is my heart’s
been there right all along....

Contrary to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s thoughts, Sri Lankan fans of San Michele will surely miss her enthusiastic Latin vibes when she jets back to Melbourne after more than two years here, enjoying herself singing with many of our well-known bands.

She is happy that she made a quick decision to come back to her homeland and perform along with the musicians who have made a mark in the music industry, and whom she had only heard of.

Q. So what would your comment be of our Sri Lankan musicians’ artistry?

A. “I have been privileged to work with many talented musicians in Sri Lanka – the best of the best really. I thank them all for ‘giving me a go’. Many a beaming smile has been put on my face by their skill and emotion shown while playing. Truly wonderful!”

Q. No doubt you enjoyed yourself here and quite naturally, my next question is when do you hope to come back?

A. “Right now I can’t say when I’ll be back as I’ve signed up with an Entertainment Agency in America who will be marketing me worldwide for concerts. In fact, over the last month or so I’ve been doing an audio and video recording for this Agency.

Sri Lanka is my homeland so I will be back.... who knows, I may make it my home base.

Q. Let’s turn back the pages on your career and clue us in as to why you were “hell bent” on a music career?

A. “Was I singing in Sri Lanka before I left for Australia? Being an only child – and a very shy one at that – it took me quite a while to take my singing seriously.

In my teens, I remember that I used to sing to the records that I loved so loud, whenever Mum and Dad went out shopping. I used to do quite a lot in my head – not having many people around makes you do that – So I quite often used to go on “Mind journeys” and saw myself making a small difference to the world we live in.

In my case it was through music. I began singing lessons when I was 24. I was extremely nervous but thankfully I hung in there and didn’t give up.

Q. Australia in the radar of Sri Lankans is “a land of plenty” and I’m sure your thinking is the same, and believe you started your singing career with Sri Lankan musicians domiciled there, how did you break in?

A. “I began my career in Australia singing with my cousin Guy Joseph. We called ourselves The Kitchenettes, because we took what we were doing in the kitchen, which is where we sang a lot, onto the stage. We were an R+B band and I learnt a lot about performance with him.

I’ve also worked with saxophonist Arden Nelson and drummer Geoff Labrooy – you know them, they were well-known names in Sri Lanka.

I also worked with David and Tilarney Senn – Mr. Briefcase a funk band.

As for Australian bands per se, I was the lead singer for the band De Ja, backing vocals for the soul-funk/jazz band ‘Small Talk’.

I enjoyed working with Valentino, a flamenco guitarist, this was a duo performance – flamenco – jazz fusion called Aire.

Then of course with my band ‘The San Michele Quintet’.

San Michele’s performance gigs in Australia saw her entertaining guests and fans at Dizzys, Limerick Arms Hotel, Mathew Flinders Hotel, Geebung Polo Club, Cherry Hill Hotel, The Flower Hotel, the National Gallery, the list is long.

She has a 21-year vocal experience performing Latin, jazz and soul. What is attractive in her style is that her singing and her improvisations bring out the free-flying harmonics of each tune. She uses “Syncopated rhythm percussively to merge with the bass and drum”.

San Michele was a familiar figure at leading night spots in Sri Lanka, her Latin vibes had a special San Michele label.

The music industry will miss her, yet, we are keeping our fingers crossed for a quick return. Safe travels San Michele.  

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