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21st May, 2006  Volume 12, Issue 45

First with the news and free with its views                                     First with the news and free with its views                             First with the news and free with its views                                    

Now

Thriloka: a realm of higher listening 

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By Kshanika Argent

Thriloka is not 'just an other band.' Band Leader Pabalu says that he and his band mates have lots in common, and this includes being dedicated to making music all through their lives, and that the music produced by Thriloka comes from the heart. 

According to Pabalu, Thriloka reflects the natural world, evoking the best of world music. "Our music is produced with a blend of themes to maximise listening pleasure. Our main aim is an authentic experience of what the heart hears!"

Instruments that the band uses include bamboos, logs, stones, metal pieces, shakers, symbols, rain sticks, bells and conch shells. They also use a fusion of Kandyan drums, low country drums, dawul and udakki.

But it doesn't end there, Thriloka also uses Indian instruments like the tabla, thavil, mizraue, chennda and ghatam as well as Arabic drums, and African instruments like congas, dj embe, and Western instruments like acoustic drums, lead guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar and keyboards.

The band, though being pretty new to the local music scene, has been around for the past one year. Pabalu was apart of the rock band Akash, and also Tapas. Speaking about the new band Thriloka, Pabalu says that the band's aim is to promote Sri Lankan music further. Thriloka will also be launching their debut album Bisura in the next few months.

Right now though, according to Pabalu, the band is preparing for their very first stage performance, which will take place on July 7 and 8 at the Punchi Theatre, Borella. 

Band biography

Pabalu Erange Wijegoonawardane 

Pabalu Erange Wijegoonawardane comes from a well-known family of musicians and dancers in Sri Lanka. He started learning the drums when he was just 10 years old, and he can now play all Sri Lankan drums like the Kandyan drum, low country drum and thammattam. At the age of 15, he took up the tabla. After he finished school, Pabalu went to India to learn traditional Indian drums like the chennda and mizraue. Pabalu also trained the oriental band of S. Thomas College, Mount Lavina and played in rock bands like Stone Broke, Akash (which won best original song at TNL Onstage last year) and Tapas. He now works as an instructor in both dancing and drumming in Deepasikha National Theatre.

Samindu Hemakumara Gunasekara 

Samindu started out his career in music back when he was a kid. He became a harmonium player, and then took up the organ and acoustic guitar. He was also a part of the rock band Akash as a keyboardist. He learned bass guitar under Maestro Thilak Dias, and is a member in the band of National Youth Service Centre.

Sarani Sathyatriya Perera 

The son of Kalani Perera - a famous violinist in Sri Lanka - Sarani was introduced to music when he was just a boy. The piano was the first instrument, he mastered, and he learned guitar from Rohan de Silva. Sarani was also a member in the rock band Akash as the lead guitarist.

Visharad Chanaka Peiris 

Visharad learned the tabla from his father Visharad D.R. Peiris. To complete his degree in the art of playing tabla, he went to Indira Kala Sangit University in Kiragar, India. He is now employed as a lecturer in the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Sri Lanka. Experimenting in the field of percussions, he plans on publishing a book on comparative study in world percussions.

Harshan Asanga Gallage 

When he was a child, Harshan wanted to become a professional tabla player just like his father, Visharad Hemapala Gallage. Like the rest of his band mates, he's mostly self-taught as a musician. At the age 13, he decided to become a  'real drummer.' At the moment he is studying for his O/L and plays in the cadet band of his college. 

Sajeeva Rangana Gurusinghe 

Sajeeva is a very talented young flutist. He's also in his final year at the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Sri Lanka. He's also travelled to many countries around the world including the Maldives, India, Egypt, Italy, France and Australia. He can play both Indian and Western styles, and studied under Hemapala Perera. He hopes to compose a CD of fusion music in the future. 

Janaka Priyashantha 

Janaka came to the art world as a contemporary dancer. He joined Deepasikha National Theatre to learn music and dancing. He's also an acoustic guitar player and a percussionist. Janaka has played in the fusion band Yaga, and experiments with new percussive instruments.


The all important mobile

In Things gives you the lowdown on what's hip and happening in the world of fashion!

By Shezna Shums

In order to keep abreast of  the latest fashion trends, one major component would be your accessories, and accessories are no longer just about hair and jewellery - it also includes your mobile phone. Today a person's mobile phone plays a very big part in their life, their identity and their desire to be `in.'

Having a phone that is 'in' is not just a trend with those who have money to burn, given that not everyone can can easily afford to discard their old phone and get a new one, but it's a trend that is common among people from all walks of life. Strapped for cash yet want a cooler mobile? many just go to Pettah and give in the old phone, pay a little more and get a newer one.

A recent trip to Petta clearly showed that one thing important to many people is having a new model mobile phone.

In many stores a countless number of people walk in to evaluate the price they can get for their present phone and what the cost of a new model would be.

And these shops go the distance in catering to their tastes and desires in new phones.

Even the Nokia N series is now available in some of these shops and the cost of this series ranges from Rs. 49,000 to Rs. 95,000; the latest Motorola phones are also available. The very fact that these shops get down these phones obviously means that people are even willing to pay a high price for having a 'happening' phone.

Almost any model of phone is available in Pettah, however one has to go with a couple of models in mind as it can be very chaotic, and the best bet would be to tell the salesperson the model you want rather than try to find it in the display, as many shops have their phones stored elsewhere.

However, getting the phone you want would also depend on the stocks as many new models are fast moving and are quickly snatched up by buyers.

And if you cannot find it in Pettah, you can be certain of finding any new phone in Colombo.

For the fashion conscious having the latest phone is very important, regardless of whetehr anyone actually sees it - it's having it that matters.

And it's not only about phones, you've also got to have trendy  casings, which are considered important since they let you project your identity. When it comes to casings, there's a large variety available, from animal prints, cartoon characters or other designs casing to match your style and mood.

Because the latest phones have better features, ring tones and the display can be changed and personalised too.

So, it's not just about having the latest phone increasing but also the need to customise one's phone according to personality as a means of self-expression.

And given the phone's features such as calendar, alarm, calculator, notebook, camera, video, recorder, visual radio, photo editor, email, blackberry, Bluetooth, wireless messaging, internet and a whole lot more, our phones have become an integral part of our lives.

Many say they couldn't possibly survive without their phones, making one wonder how we managed before mobiles hit the market!


Dharshana - the youngest star!

By Sunalie Ratnayake

If there was a talking mirror on the wall, just like the one in Snow White And The Seven Dwarves, and a 16-year-old charming, extremely talented yet innocent and down to earth young lad from Gampaha made a vocal utterance in his grand voice and asked, "Mirror mirror on the wall, who has the greatest voice of them all?" the mirror would have replied, "You my master."

Yes, I immediately in return, would have agreed with the mirror for he is no other than the delightful third runner up in the recently concluded Sirasa Super Star competition, Dharshana Pramod Nissanka.

Family

Hailing from Gampaha, Dharshana, born in September 15, 1989 also has an elder brother - Sithum Chaturanga Nissanka (21) who is in his first year at the Colombo University, studying for the IT external degree.

Indra Nandani Nissanka, a loving housewife, is his beloved mother and she is originally from Maawilmada in the hill capital. Dharshana's father Saman Nissanka, from Ganemulla is an Anandian who started out as an aircraft technician in the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) for 12 years. He now works for Sri Lankan Airlines.

Apart from his mentors, the wind beneath Dharshana's wings has always been his loving parents.

"There was a time," his mother recalled, "that Dharshana's father was employed in the Maldives and those days podi putha was small. He used to cry all the time asking for his father. In fact, due to the same reason, Saman had to get back to Sri Lanka, much sooner than expected."

When asked how his son was initially drawn towards music, his father said, " I always loved music. In fact, our whole family liked to listen to music and we preferred to listen to classical music. So I had a great classical collection, both in Hindi and Sinhala. We used to listen to old Hindi hits from movies such as Madhumathi, Ehk Pool Dho Maali, Abhimaan and many more. Also, we loved to listen to Sri Lankan artists such as Victor Ratnayake and W.D. Amaradeva. Eventually, Dharshana cultivated a talent for singing. We never forced him to do so and he discovered his own talent. As a habit, he always sits alone at home, sometimes with the CD player on and sings by himself. This is how it all started and nothing was planned or forced."

It runs in the family

Although Dharshana's parents were hesitant to reveal it, I soon discovered that both of them too could sing. Dharshana's maternal relations have shown much talent in the music scene. His mother's brother, Priyantha Thilakasiri is a music lecturer at the Sri Jayawardenepura University. Dharshana's aunts and uncles happen to have great voices.

Dharshana started to prove his great talent at the tender age of two. This is when he first started to vibrate his vocal chords. During this time, his uncle Thilakasiri had said that Dharshana had a good ear for music.

Music

Dharshana first started to study music at the age of 10. His first mentor was Ananda Weerasiri from the Nugegoda Kala Bhoomiya. He also studied the classical aspect of music from Nalin De Alwis and Master Sanath.

Currently, Dharshana is studying under Vijitha Amarasinghe from Gampaha. Amarasinghe is also a violin player of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) orchestra.

Although Dharshana started to sing when he was only two, he learnt to play musical instruments a bit later in life. When he initially started to play the violin, this pillar of talent was 11 years old. Later, he learnt to play the tabla as well.

Dharshana extended his appreciation to his mentors from school: "music teacher at Mahanama College Pushpa Kaveeshwara (sister of famous female vocalist Swarnalatha Kaveeshwara), Yaalagama Munasinghe Miss, Asanga Sir and Prabodha Miss."

School

Dharshana started his primary education at Gampaha Gothami Vidyalaya. He studied there until he reached grade five. Passing the scholarship examination with flying colours, Dharshana entered Mahanama College, Colombo 3 where he completed his GCE (Ordinary Level) examination last year. 

At the time I met Dharshana at his Gampaha residence, he was eagerly awaiting his results. Later on I learnt that he had passed the exam with three As for English, Sinhala and Buddhism, four Bs for music, mathematics, electronics and history and social studies and one credit pass for science.

When Dharshana was in grade one in Gothami Vidyalaya, he took part in the Wes Netuma. He was also a member of the eastern choir. At Mahanama, he is now a member of its eastern music choir.

Sunday school

Dharshana, young and talented in many a way, is also drawn towards the spiritual side of life. Being born to Buddhist parents, Dharshana first attended Sunday school at Kospillewa Dharmapala Panasawanaaraamaya in Udugampola. Despite never having studied acting, which is yet another of his talents, Dharshana took part in two dramas.

Later Dharshana attended the Sri Saddharmaguptha Sunday school in Dombawala. There he studied from grade six until the completion of Sunday school.

Other talents

From grade six until Dharshana reached grade 10, he took part in many events conducted by the SLBC. He was a regular artist at SLBC radio dramas. He contributed to TV programmes such as Heta Pipena Mal, Daham Suwandai Denenne and Vendol Miyesi Gee Sara. He also sings on the latest CD launched by Rambukkana Siddhartha Thero for the 2550th Sri Sambudhdha Jayanthi.

Dharshana took part in Behe Kiyala Behe, a live show on Rupavahini, when he was much younger. His songs were heard in Tharu Dahasa, a children's programme.

Dharshana still indulges in announcing and singing at SLBC. To conduct these activities, he travels daily in a school service transport between Gampaha and Colombo. His parents make it a point to accompany him to offer encouragement and support.

Dharshana was the background singer in the award winning one episode teledrama Vishama Bhaga directed by Lalith Ratnayake who was recently awarded a Sumathi Tele Award. When Dharshana was about 12, he launched a children's songs CD and eight songs were done privately. Three songs of this CD were presented at a programme of famous singer Yamuna Vinodhini. This CD is only available at SLBC and Lakhanda.

"As much as I love Hindi and Sinhala classical songs, I love to listen to symphonies of  Beethoven and Brandenburgh concertos of Mozart. Yaani is a favourite too. Also, during my leisure time, I still love to watch cartoons, especially Suura Pappa and Scooby Doo. Also, I love to play cricket with Aiya," Dharshana told the Now magazine.

Dharshana even has a tremendous talent for painting. He also composes songs and melodies for his compositions.

Apart from that, Dharshana happens to be a bookworm as well and he receives lots of books from his fans. So far he has received over 3,000 letters from fans, ever since the second round of the Super Star competition.   

Achievements

When I pressurised him to bring his trophies and certificates out, I was shocked to see the stack - it was several feet high. He has obtained the first place at many occasions in Jana Gaayana competitions conducted by the Cultural Ministry over the years. Also, he became first in the Mahanama College Kala Ulela senior secondary section singing competition last year.

Being excellent in English speech, Dharshana also has many honorary achievements in elocution. He always managed to grab the best singer award at school, through the years. He became second in the all-island dancing and stage play senior event of Ganapathi Wannama group dance, conducted by the Education Ministry in 2004. Dharshana has also won many awards for Sinhala and English literature. 

Dharshana has passed several examinations conducted by Bhatkhande Sangit Vidyapith, Lucknow's Sangeeth Kendra in Sri Lanka. He has completed Prathama and Madhyama stages and is currently studying for Visharadha Part I and Part II.

Dharshana also has the ability to write and read Hindi, as he has studied the subject under Sri Lanka Hindi Society Secretary, R.J.K. Karunasekera.

Future plans

Dharshana has no intention of going with the flow. He has planned his musical career in a strong and steady manner. Dharshana will not sing here, there and everywhere, for the purpose of making money or being famous, for he has already achieved fame.

Instead, he will choose carefully where and what to sing and for whom to sing. Dharshana is willing to do charity shows that are genuine, but he has no wish to turn his God given talent into a money making venture.

"I will continue studying music further in India and do the Visharadha exams. Also, I would like to launch a few CDs with my originals. Currently, I am planning on doing my Advanced Level studies at Mahanama and the subjects that I have in mind are music, logic and Hindi. I do not want to be commercialised. I want to do what I feel is right and I extremely value the support and encouragement extended by my parents, teachers, friends and above all my fans," Dharshana concluded with his cutest grin.

Dharshana has just started his life as a musician and he has a clear path ahead. I wish him all success, as he deserves the best. 


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