Music and drama high on her list | Sunday Observer

Music and drama high on her list

Devashrie de Silva
Devashrie de Silva

Perhaps, like me you may have been wondering that you haven’t heard singer Devashrie de Silva for quite some time and was she bitten by the travel bug (like it happens to most of our musicians) and gone abroad to seek greener pastures? You were right that she was abroad, for some time but now she’s back once again to be a part of our music scene. I was lucky to run into her during one of her performances and requested a day with her to have a conversation.

It’s good to see and hear you after a lapse and in a spool back can you briefly tell us how did performing in the Sri Lankan music industry commence with you?

“Actually family, church and school are my roots to music and performances. My parents are musically gifted and have composed a number of hymns that are widely used today. During this time there were many all island talent contests if you remember, and these spurred me to take part and also win them! This I must say opened the doors for me to sing more professionally.”

So with which band did your professional career commence?

“Billy Fernando at that time was leading Ezra a gospel-rock band and I was happy when he invited me to sing with the band. My roots were church music and gospel was just up my street. I was very happy singing with that band. But I ventured out and collaborated with various other up and coming established artistes at that time tending my voice to the new wave of Sinhala R&B music like that of Ranidu’s Ahankara Nagarey, Infaas’ Surangana Kirilliye among others and also with Iraj and Rukshan Mark”.

Therefore what are your preferences in music?

“Blues, Gospel, Soul, Jazz, R&B and Sri Lankan music. I cannot leave out Musicals - Broadway and West End.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, did you not involve yourself in a solo career as well?

“Yes I did. I performed as a solo artiste at many corporate events, voiced a number of commercials and a few Sinhala films. But I had a long stretch with Mahesh Denipitiya’s band. I was with them for nearly 10 years whilst pursuing my solo career, releasing, my original Sinhala songs – Heenayak Vagey, Ranwan, Nidhahasey Inna with Umaria Sinhawansa.

My love for Western music was always pursued through performances at events, with Mahesh’s band, gospel music, and also with involvement in musical theatre productions. I performed in Phantom of the Opera by The Workshop Players, Next to Normal by Theatre Junction and Cinderella also by Theatre Junction”.

You were out of our country for a period of time; was it for a singing contract or for higher studies?

“I have always wanted to understand the technicalities and theories behind performing arts, so that a more holistic approach to performance is achieved. I love the world of drama, meeting musicians and I wanted to widen my tool box especially in musical theatre. Whilst in UK I applied to audition for a Master’s course in this field and was grateful to be offered it. It was 15 months of intensive training, completely immersed in the craft and I am absolutely grateful.

It was challenging to say the least but it has been the best experience of my life so far, and for what I have learned and the opportunities it gave me. I will cherish it and keep working towards it.

That she expresses herself better through music there is no doubt. In her career she has caused more than a few ripples, so don’t forget to catch her next performance which we believe is going to be soon.