Guitarist with a fresh and classic touch | Sunday Observer

Guitarist with a fresh and classic touch

Revel Crake performing at the Shangri-La with Denver Barnes – bass (L) Royle de Andrews – drums and Anne Jayamanne – vocals.  Pix – Wimal Karunatilleke
Revel Crake performing at the Shangri-La with Denver Barnes – bass (L) Royle de Andrews – drums and Anne Jayamanne – vocals. Pix – Wimal Karunatilleke

A multi-dimensional guitarist Revel Crake holds the coveted position of being able to play with any musician or singer he wants to. Over the years he has proved it in our music industry. Be it pop, jazz, Latin blues, ballads, fusion or even rock, he is at home with any rhythm. He expresses himself with ease. Quite naturally since he hails from a family to whom music was life. In a spool back he revealed that their home constantly echoed with music from morning through to night. His dad Gerry Crake was an outstanding singer and pianist, highly respected in the early years. And all that music talent was inherited by him, his sister Heather, his brother Warnen and his youngest sister Jacqueline.

It is intriguing to note as to why you chose to play the guitar and not the piano since your Dad was an unmatched pianist and singer?

“The music scene at the time I decided to launch my career concentrated heavily on guitar bands. There were the Shadows, The Ventures, Deep Purple and Grand Funk Railroad and I naturally veered towards it.

“I don’t regret it at all. My sister Heather followed in my Dad’s tracks, Warren my brother turned out to be a popular drummer and my other sister Jacqueline is loaded with music in her, but fights shy of playing in public.”

So in a scenario that screamed Shadows and the Ventures who then were your influences?

“Actually I have to lay that at the door of saxophonist Rodney van Heer. He put me on track to make a career out of being a professional guitarist. There were Peter Prins and Aruna Siriwardhana who encouraged and helped me no end. Globally, the guitarist whom I admire very much is Joe Pass who opened many doors in expression for me. I cannot leave out Charlie Byrd and Larry Carlton; they influenced me to be versatile and well rounded in my playing.”

So then, you were young when you started your professional career, confident of your artistry, with whom did it all start?

“I was 20 years when all the excitement started. I played with a band called Flights headed by Dr. Desmond de Silva, and the other members were Royston de Silva and Jerome de Silva. From here I moved over to play with Mahogany and the Rodney van Heer Quartet.

The musicians were highly talented – there was Cecil Rodrigo, Cathy Menezes, Farook Miskin and Verna McLeod playing with these musicians meant playing for progress and we certainly hit the high spots.

It was an inspiration to play with good musicians and it always gave me something to take home and add to my repertoire”.

Now working regularly with The Barefoot Band on Sundays, Revel Crake is a much sought after guitarist, whether it be in small groups or bigger outfits he has the uncanny knack of fitting in with no prior rehearsals.

He is, as one senior musician voiced “Revel only needs to know the keys of the music that has to be performed; he’ll deliver the goods on stage”.

That couldn’t be more true. Kathryn Farmer from the States who was featured at the Shangri-La Hotel was overwhelmed by his performance. Her conclusion was “he is a born musician”.

So if you have missed out on Revel’s performances then catch him and his Trio when he plays at the Cinnamon Grand also on Tuesdays with Denver Barnes – bass and Royle de Andrews – drums and on Saturdays with Shobi Perera – double bass and Christopher Prins – drums. There’s no denying that you will go home with the melody “What A Difference A Day Made” swimming around in your head!