By Raisa Wickrematunge
clearly remember following my mother into the crowded
auditorium, filled with an air of expectancy; the hush
upon sight of the robed choir, and finally the voices,
rising pure, harmonious, seemingly effortless. That was
my first taste of Soul Sounds the group, and not one I
Starting off as the Holy Family Convent Senior Choir,
Soul Sounds entered a competition in
and were placed first runner up in both the Group and
Solo categories. At this point, many of the members were
graduating from school but rather than disbanding the
group, they decided to stick together, and so, Soul
Sounds was formed, with Soundarie David as music
director, Jerome De Silva as artistic director, and
Christopher Prins, who accompanies the group on drums.
Several years later and Soul Sounds is still going
strong. The group has travelled extensively, giving
performances in the UK, Asia and Australia, and won
three Gold medals at the 2008 World Choir Games in
No financial gain
Curious to know a little more about Soul Sounds, I
quizzed Soundarie on what it takes to be a member. “You
have to be really passionate about singing to be in the
group, because there is no financial gain,” she tells
me. She adds that the group is not a commercial
venture, and any money raised is put into a travel fund
so that they can showcase Sri Lankan talent worldwide.
holds auditions for new members of the group, looking
not just for vocal talent but a willingness to work well
with others. If they do well, auditioners are then put
on a six month probationary period where Soundarie
observes their dedication and progress vocally, at the
end of which they will become fully-fledged members.
Choosing songs too is a collective process. Since Soul
Sounds has travelled extensively and seen choirs around
the world perform, this has given them new perspective,
Soundarie says, adding that when they do order music,
they always try to create new arrangements.
performed onstage myself, I know that such shows take
hours of practice, and so I was curious to know how the
members of Soul Sounds are managing to balance this with
working or studying. Soundarie said that she admired the
girls “commitment and dedication,” considering they were
juggling many different roles, be it student or
Gunaratne, one of the group, explained to me that a
practice schedule is worked out taking everyone’s work,
study and other activities into consideration, which
means that they usually meet on weekends. Andrea Melder
Labrooy spoke of balancing work, caring for her six
month old daughter and singing, saying that the group’s
understanding and help have been invaluable, from being
flexible about rehearsal time to carrying bags for her
at the World Choir Games in Austria when she was five
months pregnant, described by her as “a tiring but
recently, the choir returned after a tour of France, as
a thank you gesture to the region of
Normandy, whose locals had donated generously to tsunami victims in
This was organised by Ionie and Pierre Silliere, and the
choir was sponsored by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board as
well as the Regional Council in Normandy, the Council
General of L’Orne, Amities International, Argentan,
Musique Normandi, and Rotary International.
tour itself, consisting of seven concerts spanning nine
days in a variety of venues, meant that the group became
“musical ambassadors,” as Soundarie David, the music
director of Soul Sounds, puts it, representing Sri Lanka
in a positive way. She said on the whole it was “a bit
hectic” being on tour, being constantly on the move.
run up to the tour too was taken up with rehearsing and
fundraising, but Soundarie describes the experience as
“worth the hard work,” a sentiment the girls seem to
echo. “Touring may be hectic, but the rapport between
the group members and accompanists, as well as our
eagerness and enthusiasm to experience new cultures and
learn new things, makes it totally worthwhile. We have
definitely learned a lot about time management as well,”
said Roshni, adding that she tries to finish any
assignments ahead of time so that she can focus on the
tour. The group had time to visit the Eiffel Tower and
St. Mont Michael, as well as taking in the surrounding
countryside which was “almost out of a fairy tale.”
clear we haven’t seen the last from Soul Sounds, but
what does Soundarie envision? “My dream is to showcase
Soul Sounds to the world, explore new avenues, and have
more challenges in the future,” she says, an ambitious
plan which is not unlikely to succeed, given the obvious
talent she has at her fingertips.
Much acclaim for Whimsical
By Ranee Mohamed
was the ultimate in tolerance when disciplinarian
headmaster Somabandu Kodikara urged children to get on
stage and rap. And rap they did, these students of
Gateway, not quite recognisable at first sight, with gel
on their hair, chains around their necks and music on
their lips, body and soul.
Watching Whimsical recently with the management of
Gateway College, veteran educationists R.I.T. Alles and
Rohini Alles, their son Dr. Harsha Alles and Deputy
Headmaster Morley – the audience wondered how children
could be so at ease with the headmaster, deputy
headmaster and the cream of management around.
Nothing affected their great performances, nothing could
stifle their body movement as they rapped to tunes –
made at home, or more precisely made in school. The
lyrics were perhaps the most intelligent compositions
that ever got to rap.
but natural that Henry VIII by the Todorettes bagged the
‘best lyrics’ title. And it surely must have been a hard
choice with Undiscovered, Wild Fire, The Revolution,
9 p.m., First Dawn, Gang DJ, Rap Stars – all giving us a literary
treat before the actual music set in.
Undiscovered bagged the coveted title of the ‘best
fortunate that there were a group of versatile judges to
do the job, because the audience and the critics in
there were at a loss to say who actually won.
would be missing the bottom line if one did not make the
observation that the true trophy ought to go to
Headmaster Somabandu Kodikara, who with his customary
gentleness has nudged the children to run amok with
their emotions, dreams and inner longings.
there was one thing amiss, then that was in the fact
that Whimsical was confined to the auditorium of Gateway
College where only a limited audience got to see the
unbelievable talent in these young school children.
children grow; and certainly Gateway has. By giving
equal opportunity to other avenues of education other
than the stoic academic and book-based education,
Gateway has emerged a true winner. And with winning
ideas as Whimsical which has come from a sombre,
no-nonsense headmaster from the old school, Gateway has
got itself the ultimate honour for knowing what children
need, feel and for recognising their every whim and
New Production of Kuveni
Jayasena’s award winning play Kuveni is to be brought
back to the stage as a new production. It will be
directed by Samudra Jeewani Karunananda, a bright
product of the
who holds an M.A. in theatre arts.
has been hailed by critics as well as theatre-goers as a
milestone production which brought a new style to local
theatre. Kuveni won almost all the awards in the
stylized section of the National Drama Festival in 1963.
sterling cast includes Nimal Jayasinghe, Prasannajith
Abeysuriya, Dulanjali Sankalya, Rajitha Hewathanthirige,
Warnatunga Senanayake, Visaka Jayaweera, Tilina Prabath
Adikaram, Dilini Radhika, Rasika Pushpasiri, Nishantha
Karunasena, Gayantha Sanjeewa, Suneth Shanthapriya,
Niluka Rajanmanthri, Nilakshi Dharani Ekanayake, Nivoni
Dayangi Kumari Dahanayake, as well as students from the
Taksila Himashi and Padma Maduranga Weerasinghe will be
in charge of stage management. Costumes are designed by
original music of award winner H. H. Bandra will be
directed in the new production by Gayanath Nakala
Dahanayake. Make-up is by Chaminda Lakmal and the
lighting will be directed by Janakaraliya Lighting. The
new production is a joint effort by the
of Aesthetic Studies and Nirmala Prakashana. The chief
organiser of the new production is Jude Srimal.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
is spelled out in the title, this is the story of how
Wolverine became Wolverine. Not where he got his mutant
powers to begin with, but how the man Logan became a
mutant who uses his extra special abilities - and steely
claws - to fight the good fight.
first meet Logan and Victor as kids in the 1800s then
quickly follow them as they fight alongside fellow
patriots (of the non-mutant variety) in a succession of
wars (WWI, WWII, the Civil War, Vietnam...) until
finally after surviving a hail of bullets from a firing
squad, they’re locked away. Even the least observant
person on the planet would know there’s something wrong
with anyone who miraculously heals after being shot
dozens of times at close range.
in their military jail cell they first encounter
Stryker. Stryker not only understands who they are but
embraces what makes them different. He has big plans for
Logan and Victor (who’s just as lethal as his brother as
his mutant name Sabretooth implies). Stryker has a group
of mutants working for him on a secret project, the
mysterious Weapon X programme, and for a while Logan and
Victor work side by side on Stryker’s team. But killing
innocent people isn’t in Logan’s makeup so he quits and
leaves everyone behind, including his brother.
later (sometime in the ‘70s) Logan’s quiet life in
Canada is interrupted by the appearance of Victor who’s
sole goal is to kill his brother. Logan’s been living a
quiet life with his schoolteacher girlfriend Kayla
Silverfox, but when the love of his life is taken away
from him by his brother, the claws - literally - come
out. Revenge is the only thing on his mind and if that
means he has to work with Stryker, then that’s what
does. But Stryker’s a lying, conniving, snake in the
grass - something Logan learns way too late.
Jackman is Wolverine. He knows this character now inside
and out, and even though it’s his fourth time as the
lethal yet humane mutant, his performance doesn’t feel
any less fresh than it did in the original X-Men.
Stepping back in time to fill in Wolverine’s backstory,
Jackman’s called upon to perform even more aggressive,
heart-pounding action scenes in Wolverine than in
previous editions. And although it’s been nearly a dozen
years since the first X-Men, Jackman hasn’t slowed down
Fascinations by Jayanthi Kaththriarachchi is a quaint
collection of poems meant to soothe the reader. Its
green cover, large black print on white pages and
colourful verse makes the reader fall in love with this
quaint creation at first sight.
Counselor and Literary Critic Mangala Vidanapathirana in
his foreword says he sees the author, whom he knew as a
science teacher as a philosopher and humanist.
Jayanthi Kaththriarachchi attributes her quaint poems to
inspiration derived from real life situations which she
says remained etched in her memory yearning for
book quite rightly begins with Misty Morning, and goes
on to Fragrance, then Drifting... Undoubtedly the
sequence of the poems and the way they have been
inspired from reflect that the author has a correct
perspective of life and living.
Tale Of A Tree and a Guinea Pig’s Farewell, and Echoes
speak of the wonder of nature and the cruelty of life.
And Quaint Fascinations move on to Coming and Passing,
Visions, New Neighbours, and Gratitude…
Kaththriarachchi goes on to add some meaning into the
‘frightful’ Skull. Bondage, Eternal Companions, Faces,
Enlightenment, the poems move on… to bring us a happy
collection which will be remembered for their simplicity
and for soothing the brow of the reader, heavy with the
burdens of stark happenings and bad news.
CD dedicated to Clarence
Dedicating his maiden original Sinhala CD to the late
music legend Clarence Wijewardene, hotelier turned
singer Damayantha Kuruppu of DK Promotions fame released
Suhadaneni a fortnight ago.
Letting no stone unturned to carry on Clarence’s style
of music, Damayantha to his credit has tried his utmost
to give music lovers the much sought after music they
have been clamouring for since the demise of Clarence
Wijewardene 13 years ago. With mesmerizing lyrics backed
by fabulous accompanying music the first song in the CD
has been dedicated to Clarence for his immense
contribution to the Sinhala music industry.
was Clarence who brought me to the music field although
I was a hotelier by profession. Our long-standing
friendship dates back to the ’60s and if not for
Clarence I wouldn’t have found out my musical talent,”
Damayantha told The Sunday Leader.
According to Damayantha the title track of the CD
Suhadaneni is the greatest tribute that he could have
paid to Clarence.
wish to dedicate the CD to Clarence who is a legend in
the local music scene. It was Clarence who shaped me
into what I am today. Suhadaneni was a creation
especially to pay my gratitude to Clarence and I
consider it a privilege that I was able to release my
first Sinhala CD as a tribute to my mentor,” Damayantha
According to Damayantha all the songs in the CD are
based on his personal experiences, which also includes
songs that are dedicated to his beloved parents —
Demapiyan and to his two sons — Isuru and Asitha.
thanking those who helped him to get the CD released
Damayantha paid a special tribute to Sheila Wijewardene,
wife of Clarence and Siri Hettiarachchi for granting him
permission to re-record Sihinen.