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Jazzamatazz II

Jazzamatazz, a show produced
and directed by Sureka Buell
founder/artistic director of
Danceworld School of Modern & Jazz Ballet, will feature contemporary, modern and jazz dances performed to well known songs inspired by Broadway, Musical Theatre and ’60s style jazz. The show is co-produced/directed by Jith Pieris, a veteran in the world of theatre.

The great jazz musicians of yester-year almost come to life, as their music accompanies entertaining ’40s and ’60s style dances that are pure jazz from the very roots of the exciting style that sets America apart from the rest of the dance and musical world.

The programme will also include amongst others strikingly beautiful dances choreographed to the songs Shadow Land and Reflection which blends the vocabulary of jazz, ballet and modern styles, performed by the senior and intermediate students.

Broadway and musical theatre

Broadway, Musical Theatre and ’60s style jazz have been the inspiration for the choreography of three of the main items. The finale is inspired by Broadway’s dramatic style of Chicago in the 1920s. This highly energetic dance performed to Steppin’ To The Bad Side is guaranteed to have the audience jumping off their seats with contagious excitement.

In keeping with all the items, the fabulous costumes are created by Mitabi Gunawardena.

Danceworld School of Modern & Jazz Ballet was founded in September 2005. The school provides its students a comprehensive and complete jazz dance programme based on classical technique, built on ballet exercises which address line, placement and aesthetics.

 The school has grown from 10 students at its inception to 58 students at its first show last year, to over a 100 this year. However, Sureka says that she prefers to keep her school small and not overcrowd the classes to ensure a high level of performance.

She says that "it has been both challenging and exciting putting this show together within six months, with so many new students to train. They have achieved a very high standard in a short period of time through an organised and systemised programme of weekly practices.

"The programme was created to instill the choreography, develop the stamina and strength of the students while minimising the strain on both students and parents. Some of my seniors have been very supportive and their commitment and enthusiasm have been a great strength to me."

"If there is ever a motto for my school it will have two distinct words i.e. commitment and consistency."

Dates: October 4 and 5

Venue: Lionel Wendt Theatre

Time: 7 p.m.

Tickets: Box plan opens at the Lionel Wendt Theatre on September 29

Inquiries: 0777 558349


• A short story

July Smoke

"Damn good for the ba...rds!"

Jayantha said softly to himself as he watched the smoke. The smoke, dark and grey, rose like great furry balls from the flames that sprouted from the top of the roof of the house down the road. It fascinated him how they appeared as if conjured by magic at the tips of the flames, fully formed, huge balls of fluff. He marvelled at the sight of the balls packing on top of each other as they rose in to the evening sky, as if jostling each other in a race, albeit unhurried, to reach the sky.

He had been waiting for this moment for the last few hours. Ever since he heard that the Tamil shops and homes were under attack that morning he had wanted to see this — the house down the street on fire.

It would not have been an exaggeration to say that he had been waiting for a moment like this for the last couple of years — from the time a Tamil family had moved into that house. Every time the woman walked past dressed in her finery, head held high, eyes fixed directly in front of her without so much as acknowledging their presence, he had wanted to see some calamity befall them.

Bloody Tamils, he had told his wife who hated them equally strongly. Bloody Tamils showing off to us. They shouldn’t be here in the first place.

Mended shoes

A few times he had seen the man at the bus stand, some files in his hand, obviously on his way to work. He had tried a few times to smile faintly with Jayantha — faintly — like someone who did not want to bother with something more substantial. Not at all like the man who mended shoes and slippers at the top of the road.

That Tamil had always smiled broadly and respectfully when Jayantha walked past even though Jayantha never gave him anything to mend. The obnoxious neighbour simply attempted to smile, without any effort. And Jayantha had always responded by looking away, feeling pleased with himself that he had given the pompous Tamil his due treatment.

And now their house was on fire, sacked by the gangs of marauding youth. Jayantha had seen them walk past, crowbars in hand, some carrying wooden chair legs obviously picked up from their previous target, laughing raucously and whistling and jeering.

He had smiled knowingly at them as they went past, instinctively closing the latch in the gate at the same time at seeing such a gang for the first time that morning. He had heard a lot about how such bands of men went on the rampage. But he had not seen any until then, having stayed home from work that morning due to a slight back pain he was having and missing all the sights and sounds of the mayhem unlike many of his friends who had rung him excitedly since morning to give news of sweeping destruction to Tamil property.

Fire in their eyes

Now when they were in such close proximity he felt slightly taken aback, seeing the weapons in the hands and the fire in their eyes and even as he smiled at them he was glad that they were passing. And they had gone straight to the Tamils’ house as if they knew exactly where they were going and what they were looking for.

Within minutes he had heard the sound of glass breaking and soon the smoke had begun to rise, thin strands of grey before the big balls of fluff emerged from the flames.

He wondered where the Tamils were, the man and the woman and their son, the boy who went to school past their house with his eyes cast on the ground. Walks like a mouse but I am sure he will grow into an arrogant ba...rd like the parents, his wife had said more than once and Jayantha had nodded in agreement adding that it was young ones like that that were killing their soldiers in Jaffna. They all need to be taught a lesson he had thought.

And now as the lesson was being taught he wondered where the family actually was. He had not seen the man walk past their house that morning and he had also not seen him return from work. Perhaps he stayed home too. Perhaps, the cunning Tamils had some information that something was going to happen. But he had not heard anybody screaming or running away from the house. Did the mob kill them?

Destitute and scared

He had heard that in some places mobs threw Tamils in to burning fires. Did they do that to those Tamils too? That would be a little too much he thought. It would be taking it just a bit too far. He hoped it had not happened and that the Tamils had simply fled somewhere. Destitute and scared out of their wits, yes, but with their lives intact.

"Are you trying to get burnt? Come inside!" He heard his wife call from the front door. Jayantha smiled at his wife’s propensity for drama. How could one get burnt by a fire two hundred metres away?

"I will come in a minute", he said, glancing at her. His wife made a face and went inside the house.

Just then he heard a noise to his right. He turned and saw someone, a boy, in a pair of shorts, struggling over the side wall. As he watched in surprise the boy lost his grip and fell among some bushes at the foot of the wall, letting out a slight shriek as he fell. Then as he rose and looked at him Jayantha recognised the features of his Tamil neighbour’s son in the dusty face.

Looking out for danger

"Uncle……." The boy said in a small voice. Jayantha could now see the stains of tears smudging the dust on his cheeks. The body, bare and thin, was also covered in dust and bruises. He must have run and crawled all the way across the gardens that separated his house from mine, Jayantha surmised as he stared at the slender chest heaving violently. The boy sniffled loudly while his eyes darted around, looking out for danger.

Jayantha stood rooted to the ground unable to say or do anything. He simply could not think what he should do. This was a totally unexpected turn of events. Was the boy alone? Where were his parents? Were they climbing the wall behind him?

Channa Wickremesekera

To be continued

About the writer

Channa Wickremesekera was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1967. He obtained a PhD at Monash University, Australia in Asian History. He has published four books so far, Walls, Distant Worriors (fiction), Best Black Troops In The World, and Kandy At War (non fiction) and is committed to writing, both academic and creative. The themes of his novels range from aspects of sexuality to communal politics in a disapora setting among expatriate Sri Lankans.


Vijitha Yapa Bookshop wins World Bank award

Vijitha Yapa Bookshop has been awarded the Best Overall Performance for sales in South Asia by the World Bank. 

For the first time, Sri Lanka beat other south Asian nations, including India, to achieve the best sales record for 2007. World Bank books will be on sale at the World Bank stall at the BMICH during the Colombo International Book Fair which began on September 20.


Nation by Terry Pratchett

The sea has taken everything. Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne — a girl from the other side of the globe — is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave. Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe.

Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne’s sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives — all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down.

In this newest YA novel from admired fantasy author Terry Pratchett, he steps out of his usual setting of Discworld and writes a story that takes place in our own world, though sometime in the mid-1800s. But like other Pratchett novels, it is written in third person omniscient and goes between several characters, though mostly through Mau and Daphne. Although this may seem like a simple re-telling of the flood story in a more recent time period, it is a lot more than that — this book questions beliefs, class and ethnic differences, and many more.

Pratchett knows how to make his readers think while reading his novels, and does a great job at it. Hopefully, that hasn’t scared people off yet because along with the thinking and the questioning, there’s also the humour. Pratchett’s novels are filled with humour, though not usually the slapstick kind (of course, an occasional slapstick scene is put in because those are funny too).

His humour is more subtle and is something many enjoy while reading his books – the wit doesn’t overpower anything else, nor does it feel forced to make the story lighter despite all the tragedy happening around it. It is put in effortlessly and is weaved throughout, keeping it commonplace and not out of place in any way. There’s also some fantastic action scenes in this book, more notably toward the middle and end, and all of these together make this book a highly recommended read.

One sidenote though, for people who are already Pratchett lovers — if you like his footnotes, don’t look here for them because they are very few (only five in the whole book and four of them are used by page 90).


Farewell Ralf and welcome Udo

Mount Lavinia Hotel bids farewell to Director Kitchens Ralf Vogt and welcomes another German Chef, Udo Gross.

Chef Udo takes over the kitchens to continue to produce the culinary masterpieces that have become synonymous with Mount Lavinia Hotel over the last decade.

Udo was born in the quiet countryside near Frankfurt in Germany. He apprenticed in a well known family hotel where the owner was very much from the old school. He then went on to serve in the military for two years as a corporal only to return to hoteliering.

He spent four years in Switzerland honing his skills and absorbing the high standards of Switzerland.

He went onto Southern Sun Hotel in South Africa where he also learnt English. He travelled onto Syria and joined Sheraton as sous chef.

He was the youngest executive chef in the Sheraton chain at 28 years old in Abu Dhabi. The hotel boasts large state banquets, and a very popular seafood dinner, well known in the region. Chef Udo’s record of 623 covers in one night still stands. Here he received two Presidential Awards during his five years of service.

Soon after, he moved to Brisbane Sheraton, Australia for two years and received yet another Presidential Award. Udo felt homesick thereafter and returned to Germany. Five years later, he once again joined the Sheraton in Yemen. His move to Bahrain Gulf Hotel thereafter for almost six years was a highlight in his career.

He managed large banquets, nine restaurants, outdoor catering etc. He then moved onto the very similar Sheraton Doha for two years again with large banquets, five restaurants etc. His next destination was Egypt as corporate chef to transmit his experience to a local company.

Next stop was Pakistan and Avari Hotels, setting standards in hygiene and service and training the local staff in continental cuisine.

He believes in the old German saying "the guest is the king’’ and his hobbies are reading, chess and swimming.

He likes to focus on solutions and not problems. He considers himself easygoing, flexible and fair.

He helped bring Bahrain Octoberfest from 400 covers to finally 1200, the best and biggest in the Middle East. Udo also lays claim to cooking the biggest rice dish in the world in Bahrain (12.5 tonnes).

Udo is married to a Sri Lankan lady — a pastry chef who has worked overseas for 17 years.


7th agm of the Burgher Association

The 7th Annual General Meeting of the Burgher Association will be held on Saturday, October 4, at the Lion’s Activity Centre Hall (Chandra Wettasinghe Hall), Sri Jayewardenepura Parliament Road, Etul-Kotte commencing 5.30 p.m.

The meeting will be chaired by its Acting President Trevor Ludowyke. Ambassador of Netherlands Leoni Cuelenaere, will attend the ceremonial session as chief guest. Renewal of membership and admission to the venue will take place from 5 p.m onwards. Elections will be held to elect a new president and the executive committee for the period October 2008 to September 2009.

The AGM will be followed by a member’s Sundown Get-together with music provided by DJ Outburst. Members who attend the AGM will be issued free entrance tokens from 5 to 6 p.m. to the Sundown Member’s Get-together. Food and drink stalls including dinner will be available at affordable rates.

The crowning of the AGM Queen 2008, dancing competitions and exciting entertainment with prizes and surprises have been organised for the evening. All members are welcome to the AGM, while their guests may accompany them for the Sundown Members Get-together.


Reflections in Colour

Jayani Pinnawala will conduct yet another oil painting exhibition at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery. With her exposure both at national and international exhibitions, knowledge gained on leading painters and influenced by quotes from great personalities like Oscar Wilde she has developed her own style of painting.


Pinnawala believes that paintings are related to you, your life, the surroundings, people and nature. In every painting there are one or more of these features which are part of our lives. In life, we do face challenges - so is it in paintings too. She believes that whatever you paint initially, it becomes a challenge, but finally becomes an accomplishment.


Pinnawala, a product of Visakha Vidyalaya, Bambalapitiya, had excelled in studies and later joined the Sri Lanka Administrative Service. She served the government as an administrator and had also served the Foreign Service. From her school days she was interested in music and drama.

 She was a member of the school choir and took part in plays including Visakha Geetha Natakaya. She also took part in Dr. Sarathchandra’s Sinhabahu while studying for her degree at the University of Peradeniya. She started oil painting much later in life.


She studied oil painting under a British painter and teacher for a short period. Her paintings were displayed at joint exhibitions held at the FAO headquarters in Rome. Her first oil painting exhibition was held in the Isle of Capri, south of Italy.


Pinnawala plays with colours and shows the influence of her experiences abroad, especially her stay in Italy, visits to UK, Middle East and Asia.


She goes for subjects that deal with the positive side of life, the warmth of the people, landscapes, animals and flowers. “Sun set of Age,” and “Emptiness” are some to be admired. “Splendor” is another beautiful painting which is a blend of sober colours. “Nature’s Delight” is her masterpiece in landscapes which she did in Italy. The impression and feeling created in the painting is quite unique.


“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever,” an art lover had quoted in the visitor’s book after seeing her exhibition. Art is beautiful, fascinating, even a sad thought transformed into canvas could produce a painting to attract one’s eye.


The famous painter Renair once said, “Greeks believe that Gods visit the earth looking for love and beauty of a wonderland. Yes, Earth is a wonderland and I like to paint it.”
The exhibition will be held at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery from October 3-5.


An evening of wonderful music

Ascintillating evening of music called Miyesi Visaka 2008 organized by Visakha Vidyalaya is scheduled to go on boards on October 4 at the BMICH from 6.30 pm onwards.


A very popular line up of artistes featuring Shihan Mihiranga, Priyantha Fernando, Ranil Mallawarachchi, Deepika Priyadarshani, Uresha Ravihari, Dushyanth, Harshana and Samitha Mudunkotuwa are due to perform at this event.


Students will certainly enthrall the audience with dances choreographed by talented teachers of the school. The Compere will be none other than the pulse of any audience, Kamal Addararachchi.
 

Music for the event will be provided by Flash Back. No doubt the programme will captivate both the young and the old music enthusiasts. The proceeds of the event will be utilized for the much needed development projects of the school. Tickets priced at Rs.1000 and 1500 are available at school.


Frederik Haren’s Ideal Book


I was rather apprehensive about the contents of this book purely because of the title, as it gave the impression of a book with many suggestions of little practical value. Yet, the lack of frivolity in the cover design and the very subtle silver letters on black for a cover evoked my enthusiasm beyond just curiosity. The Foreword did the trick, it simply convinced me that the book must be read in detail and in detail I did as page after page provided unbelievable insights in to life, culture, people, behaviour, management and a host of other areas.


The author, Frederik Haren, apparently a well known writer in Scandinavia but a little known entity here, has been able to extract the reader’s absorptive interest page to page. He draws on ancient history, arts, theatre and culture as much as he competently draws on contemporary management, corporate philosophy, inventions, etc.


At first glance I did not believe that there will be so many management insights in this book. The abundance of these intermixed with family life, people management and the comprehensive coverage of inspiration, innovation, motivation, loyalty, etc. make this book a truly valuable asset to the young and the old in every sphere of life.


Haren has drawn on many examples from international history. Einstein to Jobbs, he brings to life for the reader - their thinking, their curiosity, their enthusiasm, their desire, evoking that interest in the content. I was particularly absorbed in the following quotes from the book.
Quoting Bertrand Russel, he writes: “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” How apt is this statement still.


Some of his statements could go misunderstood, but reading through those sections one sees the authenticity and the value of the writer’s arguments. Just read, Be an upstart. Those who are upstarts by nature may revel with this quote, but they still need to deliver their success.


He harps on the value of newer knowledge and in the process coins the word Newlede.. He encourages the reader to acquire newer knowledge for doing better in whatever pursuit you are in.


Among his parting words in the book Do not give up sets the final tone for the reader, encouraging him/her to think different, the Apple way.


Fredrik Haren is undoubtedly an individual who has gathered inspiration from a number of people(whom he acknowledges in the book), used his innovative thinking and creative ability to deliver a book that one cannot resist reading. After reading it once, I am simply motivated to read it again. It is not just an Idea Book but, in my opinion an IDEAL BOOK, for all.
— Eardly Perera


Mariazelle in Concert - to celebrate 40 years

By Nirmala Kannangara

A spectacular musical extravaganza never to be missed by music lovers of the nightingale of Sinhala pop – versatile singing sensation Mariazelle Gunathilake will be held on October 5 at the BMICH to celebrate 40 years in the musical arena.


Mariazelle started her musical career as a kid by winning a talent contest, then joined Junior Rhythm followed by the Emeralds and later went solo.


“It was Mildred Perera who encouraged me when I sang with Junior Rhythm. If not for her inspiring words I wouldn’t have come such a long way. At this point in my career I wish to pay her a great tribute,” Mariazelle told The Sunday Leader.


To reach this outstanding milestone in her career and to celebrate it in grand style Damayantha Kuruppu of DK Promotions is putting the show together.


“Damayantha was very supportive and I have gained much following his advice. Thanks to Damayantha and DK Promotions this show will be a reality” added Mariazelle.


To be in the music field for 40 years is a great feat and a triumph for Mariazelle.


To make ‘Mariazelle Gala 40’ bash’ a life time recollection - Indrani Perera, Ronnie Leitch, Keerthi Pasqual, Shyamie Fonseka, Nalin Perera, Damayantha Kuruppu and the Voice Print Orchestra will keep the audience spellbound along with Mariazelle backed by Nalin and the Marians. The dance sequences will be by Chandana Wickremasinghe and the Dancers Guild while the compere will be Clifford Richard.


Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Mariazelle spoke of the loss of her mentor - her mother who was behind her throughout.


Mariazelle’s mother who passed away on August 4, this year was to celebrate her 82nd birthday the day after her daughter’s musical concert (October 6).


“She was looking forward for the 40 years celebration and when I asked her to get ready to celebrate her 82nd birthday at the BMICH following my concert she was overwhelmed. Unfortunately my mom could not live till this day and although I miss her at this juncture I have planned to dedicate this concert to the memory of my beloved mother who would have been 82 years on October 6,” Mariazelle said.


Although Mariazelle was in the field for a couple of years before she became popular it was the song Kandy Lamissi that paved the way to fame.


“Being a very simple person I never went behind any fame but instantly it came behind me. It was Wijepala Hettiaratchi - the owner of Gemtone Records who requested me to sing Kandy Lamissi in 1976 and that song made me popular as the song became an instant hit,” Mariazelle said reminiscing of the early days.


‘Mariazelle in concert’ is organised by the Old Boy’s Association of Isipathana College in association with DK Promotions. Tickets are available at Torana, Liberty Plaza and Video International 325, Nawala Road Nawala.


According to Mariazelle most of her popular Sinhala and English songs will be sung at the concert.
She also paid a special tribute to two ladies who have helped her when she was new to the stage. “I was inspired by Mignone Fernando and Dalreen Suby,” she said.


“I am thankful to my only son Teshan who is presently doing his higher studies in the UK for being so tolerant in the last 18 years as I was away from him most of the time leaving him in my mother’s custody,” said Mariazelle.


Speaking about the legend Clarence Wijewardena, Mariazelle said he was an asset and was happy to work with him closely for five years and her favourite song Sihina Nelum Mal which was dedicated to her son was composed by him. “The vacuum that was created with Clarence’s death cannot be filled and the service he rendered to the Sinhala pop music industry is invaluable,” Mariazelle added. 

 

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