Musically and visually– the show was a stellar | Sunday Observer

Musically and visually– the show was a stellar

Ray Pereira and Andre Serreri in performance on the Carolina Queen
Ray Pereira and Andre Serreri in performance on the Carolina Queen

Make your tracks to the Mount Lavinia Hotel this morning and catch the vocal artistry of Ray Pereira who is back in Sri Lanka from Uncle Sam's country to avail himself of another holiday which he and his family have been looking forward to. Ray is no stranger to our music scene – in fact his vocal stylings has been a gift to him and he knows how well to keep his audience with him whether it be for a short while or for longer hours.

At the Mount Lavinia Hotel he will sing with the band Norma 'N Jazz as a guest singer and you can bet your bottom rupee that it will be a rewarding experience for you.

There's no denying that Ray Pereira is an outstanding singer. Hailing from a musical family, a nephew of Erin de Selfa who was an icon in our music scene in the early years, Ray has inherited her sense of rhythm and sensitiveness in putting across a song. When he comes to Sri Lanka on a holiday, he looks forward to joining Jean van Heer and sing with her group which comprises Rodney van Heer-on saxophone, Kumar de Silva-piano Shiraz Nooramith on drums and Denver Barnes – on bass.

You are stationed in North Carolina and like you told us, when you were around there, that most of the clubs invite you to sing with their respective bands. No doubt you enjoyed the stints but is there anything special you'd like to share with us this time?

“Yes, I was invited to sing on a cruise ship with holiday makers for the summer season, and I enjoyed myself tremendously. I sang with a guitarist only, his name is Andre Serreri and our repertoire was varied. We performed standards, songs that are in the limelight now, a selection of Bee Gees songs, Bill Withers hits and songs that hit the soul charts.”

Singing with only a guitar backing did that restrict your style, since you have all along sung with drums, piano, bass and horn backing?

“Actually no. I have learnt the art of putting across a song without added accompaniment. If the instrumentalist is versatile and Andre Serrari is well accomplished I did not have any worries. I have told other musicians here in Sri Lanka not to worry if another musician backing you is not as well accomplished as you are. What is important, is for you to sing with confidence and you'll find that he will latch on without disrupting the performance. This similar advice I have expressed to musicians as regards the balance of the instruments. Once the sound check has been done, don't go constantly adjusting the sound. Go through with the balance – something I've learnt from singing on the American stages.”

No doubt coming from you with all your experience it is something that has to be taken into account. Was your appearance on the Carolina Queen your first to make the Summer holiday makers happy?

“No, I've been on these cruises before and it is another feeling and another experience and I enjoyed singing to the holiday makers. They sure know their music and they live affluent lives.