Umara born to sing | Sunday Observer

Umara born to sing

6 September, 2020

Umara Sinhawansa is truly sensational. Her singing spans many genres and this is no wonder as she is blessed with a unique vocal range of four- and-a –half octaves. (Most Sri Lankans have a vocal range of two octaves). Umara and Umaria, the singing sisters have wowed both local and ineternational audiences for these many years past.

Umara with veteran singer Amarasiri Peiris launched a new song, Sonduru Ganga on August 21, 2020 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo.According to Umara the in fluencers or initiators behind this song were two family friends, a husband and wife duo of doctors,Nilanga and Sanjeewani Perera. The lyrics are by Dr. Prabha Kumara Rajaguru and the music and musical direction was by Aruna Gunawardene . The next step for Umara was to approach veteran singer Amarasiri Peiris whose voice she felt was well suited to the song. He loved the lyrics and readily agreed to partner Umara in the duet.

The song was recorded, mixed, filmed and edited in just three days.The video was shot at the historic Elphinstone Theatre with a beautifully lit , minimalistic set and the two singers performing centre stage Umara feels honoured that veteran singer Peiris decided to come on board to sing with her. Speaking at the launch, Peiris expressed his pleasure at having been able to work with Umara who has captured the hearts of the young.

It can be truly said that Umara Sinhawansa was born to sing. As she herself says her parents, Tony and Ayesha were her early influencers in her musical career. At the tender age of one -and -a -half years Umara stunned family and friends by picking up the lyrics of Always by Atlantic Star and Cherish by Maddona and giving pitch perfect renditions of them.

During her school days at Muslim Ladies’ College Umara was heavily involved in singing and bagged many prizes at singing competitions. She has won many all island singing competitions and some international ones as well. Umara has won singing competitions in the Ukraine , Astana and China.

Umara did her first professional recording at the age of 10 with sister Umaria , who herself is an extremely talented singer and like Umara is now making waves in the local and international arenas. They recorded 21 nursery rhymes for the Genesis label.

An A major milestone in Umara’s life occurred at the age of 16 when her career as a professional singer was kick started through an audition with Shri Shyamalangan.

While still in school and around the age of 15 or 16 Umara joined the popular singing duo Bhathiya and Santhush and worked as an audio engineer with them as well as singing.

Once she started on her singing career Umara has never looked back but has soared from success to success. One major factor in her success is that she had the opportunity to travel with their parents and gain exposure to the arts in foreign climes. This has also made Umara multi lingual in her beautiful singing and she sings in French, German and Italian.

Among Umara’s hits are the ever popular Wassanayata,Shaheena, Sihina ko and Malak Thibuna with Chithral Somapla and Kasthuri. My dreams and When you believe sung with sister Umariya are other chart toppers. Umara has also sung many songs for popular films in Sri Lanka. She has also teamed with artistes like Randir and Ashanthi.

Umara also has the distinction of being the only Sri Lankan female artiste to have collaborated with the internationally acclaimed,legendary artiste Shankar Mahadevan. (Shankar Ehsaan Loy).

Umara is nothing if not versatile. She is an audio engineer too and cut her teeth in this profession at the reputed Sarigama studio.

With her heavy schedule of teaching, concert appearances and international tours how does Umara manage the home front, look after seven year old son Risky and her private life? She plans her day and does not believe in postponing whatever she has to do.

After her marriage to Risky Fahmi, Umara took wing to Hongkong and was domiciled there for seven years during which time she studied jazz under Dylan Lye. Reputed as a RnB and jazz singer she performed in several world class venues in Hongkong.

Whether it be Rn B, jazz , classical, Sinhala or any other genre of music Umara’s unique talent, versatility , hard work and passion for music ensures world class performances from her.

On her return from Hongkong Umara started her academy of music, the Umara Music Studio in 2017 catering to thousands of students. And each and every student is personally interviewed by Umara who says she does not want to enroll students just for the sake of taking in students.

Always concerned about others Umara somehow or other makes time to help those in need. She mentors Ranavruwo and does music therapy for children with autism.

Umara’s plans for the future are indeed exciting Fans can expect many more musical productions from her. She also plans to diversify her curriculum at the Umara Music Studio by intodcuing couses of study relevant to the music industry.

Images: Arantha Sirimanna