Impressive from start to finish | Sunday Observer

Impressive from start to finish

I’m borrowing a thought from Eric Segal as to where I should begin to congratulate singer/saxophonist, Dr. Gananath Dasanayake, his band En Route including Dr. Kovindu de Saram and Bimal Wimalaratne, not forgetting the comeback appearance of singer Shanelle Fernando – they collectively pulled off a concert that flowed one item into the other and kept the audience interest in tact. This was Volume 3 of The Great American Songbook concert that was held at the Hilton, Colombo two Sundays ago.

En Route the band opened with a nice stride swinger before Gananath Dasanayake moved in to invite the audience to ‘Come Fly With me’ with a sax solo threw in as well. From that point Gananath with his vocals backed by his enthusiastic band took the capacity packed audience on a musical journey that was delightful in its content. There was ‘For Once In My Life’ with an interesting guitar solo by Ramesh Nonis.... I’ve Got You Under My Skin, with a sax solo by Gananath and then in ‘All Of Me’ all, the members of the band having an opportunity to showcase their artistry when Maxwell Pietersz started off the song with his double bass solo Dilip Seneviratne with his wizardry on the keys, Charith Fernando on the snare and cymbals and Ramesh Nonis on guitar. With tempo changes ‘All Of Me’ got a well deserved round of applause.

The surprise appearance of singer Shanelle Fernando moving in from the back of the hall singing the last lines of Young at Heart which Gananath started off on stage was acknowledged with enthusiasm by the audience. In her inimitable style she sang ‘It Had To Be You’ with Gananath and went into an up-tempo of ‘Orange Coloured Sky’ heard after a long, long time – Crash, bam, alagazam and memories of Doris Day.

There were more nuggets that jogged one’s memories and appreciation – Charlie Chapline’s ‘Smile’ ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’, which hooray was sung with the verse, Swing Low Sweet Chariot with tempo changes, Mack the Knife, My Way, Fly Me to The Moon, Beyond The Sea and New York, New York which the audience clamoured for as an encore.

But I will not sign off without mentioning how the audience including me enjoyed the hilarious skits and vocalese by the two stalwarts Kovindu and Bimal. It was amazing how they fitted in like a glove, enhancing the entire performance with their skit expertise. There may have been rehearsals but they worked it out on stage as impromptu acts. Kudos to them. Kovindu with his Italian tinted accent and his introduction before he sang That’s Amore, Volare and My Kind of Girl with Gananath. Bimal’s discordant attempt to sing Blue Moon and being dragged on the floor out of the stage, by Gananath and Kovindu, before any outrageous disaster! If you missed the concert – blame yourself. It was a concert to remember.