From optics to music
R. BENJAMIN Yoga is a musician who has a lot to do with prescriptions
issued by optometrists and ophthalmologists for he is an optician by
Benjamin has composed music for eminent bands like Sohan and
Experiments and vocalists in the calibre of T. M. Jayaratna and
He has directed music for the tracks, Muthu Dimuthu Latha by Asanka
Priyamantha Peiris and Tharubara Ahas by Amarasiri Peiris. Before
hurling himself to composing music for artists in the Sinhala oriental
music field, Benjamin used to produce Tamil songs for artists like M.
Shivakumar and Arun Prasad.
Benjamin was a student at the Hindu College Bambalapitiya.
“ I’ve been composing music for Tamil songs. It was a Buddhist monk
who introduced me to the current Sinhala music scene,” Benjamin
remembered. “It was through Ven. Pathegama Gnanissara Thera (lyricist) I
came to familiarize myself to the current scene, and I am ever thankful
to him,” he said.
Benjamin plays the keyboards. He has done most of his compositions on
keyboards. We asked him how he learned his music.
“I used to play the organ at the All Saint’s Church in Borella during
1994 and 1995. Besides I studied Western music. I have done three
Trinity College of London Exams.”
Do you have any particular style of music you follow or take
ingredients from when you had to compose a melody?
I guess not. I composed 12 songs for several artists during the past
few months and I must say that different genres of music were used in
the process. Some songs were more or less related to reggae and hip hop
genres. Some are semi-oriental classics.
Benjamin plans to launch a CD with these 12 fresh tracks he has just
finished. He plans to introduce the CD in October this year.
The CD has been named “Ooh Gana” taking it from the song list. Ooh
Gana is a reggae track composed by Benjamin, written by Shanaka
Maliyadda. Tharubara Ahas is another track on the CD with lyrics by
Wasantha Kumara Kobawaka. marketed by Ceylinco Internet Services for
The Ceylinco Internet Services will market the CD on internet.
Ceylinco Internet Manager Rohan Sirisena said that he had undertaken the
task of marketing the CD on behalf of the artist considering his talent
and dedication to music.
National Youth Orchestra in full flow
The leader of the NYO Amal Abeysekera receives certificates from
Chief Guest Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Education. The
founder-coordinator Maya Abeywickrema looks on.
THE anniversary performance of the National Youth Orchestra was held
recently at BMICH, Colombo.
126 youth played in the orchestra performing various songs and
classical music pieces on their instruments.
Education Minister Susil Premajayantha was the chief guest.
The National Youth Orchestra played C.T. Fernando’s Pin Siduwanne,
Pieces from the movie The Sound Of Music, Rossini’s Barber of Seville
Overture, In the Mood, Rock Around the Clock and Tschaikovski’s 1812
Overture to name a few.
The concert reflected many hours of hard work by those who trained
The orchestra comprised youth from Colombo, Badulla, Matara,
Bandarawela, Wennappuwa, Kurunegala, Galle and Ratnapura and other
The Government of Japan had extended its assistance to the programme
by providing musical instruments for the show. Ajith Abeysekera, Manilal
Weerakoon, Dayananda Fernando, Neomal Weerakoon and Dilan Angunawela
Rupavahini mega show in honour of Milton
SRI LANKA Rupavahini Corporation will hold “Piyapath Sala”, a musical
evening in remembrance of popular vocalist Milton Mallawarachchi on
October 2 at 6.30 p.m. at the BMICH, Colombo 7.
This will be in conformity with the program telecast by Rupavahini in
honour of the artist named “Milton Mallawarachchi Aadara Miyasi Suyamaya.”
Milton Mallawarachchi’s son, Ranil Mallawarachchi, Priya Suriyasena,
Amal Perera, Kasun Kalhara, Jayantha Ratnayaka, Lalith Ponnamperuma,
Anjalin Gunatilleke, Nelu Adhikari, Indrani Perera, Nuwan Gunawardena,
Karunaratna Divulgane, T.M. Jayaratna, Gration Ananda, Priyankara Perera,
Sunil Perera, Vernon Perera, Tony Hassan and Keerthi Pasqual will sing
at the show.
Sarath de Alwis will direct music. Dancing items are by Channa
Wijewardena. Film stars are also expected to participate in the event.
The organisers plan to give rewards to three selected artistes with
the ability to sing and present Milton’s songs.
The Rupavahini Corporation will telecast a special programme
dedicated to Milton on September 29 at 10.30 p.m.
Anton Jones a hit in the States
BACK home from a successful tour of the USA is vocalist Anton Jones
who rolled back the years in giving his Sri Lankan fans in the States a
re-run of those toe tapping belters that took the local music scene by
storm in a by gone era of real entertainment.
Anton who called over at Lake House upon his return said he was
spellbound by the overwhelming reception he received from his numerous
Lankan fans wherever he performed, most of them avid followers of his
baila during their days in Sri Lanka.
Not surprisingly for an artiste who redefined the art of baila with
his mellifluous timber and improvisations that sent audiences into
raptures at those musical shows in the past which fans still recall with
Anton’s tour of the States which incidentally was first to the Big
Apple - took him to New York, California, Chicago, Washington, New
Jersey where he sang to sell out audiences.
There was a souvenir published to mark the visit which contained a
detailed profile of the prince of Baila as an entertainer that also did
not fail to include the names of his contemporaries such as Baila
Maestro M.S. Fernando and Wally Bastion which according to Anton went on
to show the popularity of these names among our Lankans abroad even
though they had long departed this world.
He also did a concert with popular Tamil singer of yesteryear A.E.
Manoharan at one of the venues with well-known Lankan band Serendibs
providing back up. Perennials such as Mini Gawuma, Asai Bayai,
Uyalapihala Anton says made quite an impact with the audiences joining
in the singing.
Anton says he received a flood of invitations for a revisit with many
willing to sponsor these trips. However he has not yet made any
commitments since he is at the moment busy with his latest CD.
Anton expressed his undying gratitude to Kamani Tissara of Lucky Star
Events for arranging his programmes and organising his stay in the
Nimal Dias on stage today
Music Director and song writer Nimal Dias
MUSIC Director and Lyrics writer Nimal Dias third Musical Show titled
“Sangeetha Prathibaha” will be held on September 29 at 6 p.m. at the
YMBA Borella. Nimal Dias is expected to sing 20 songs for this show.
Nimal Dias has composed the music, lyrics for all the songs.
Dancing competition is also included for the show. Nimal Dias teaches
music at St. Joseph’s College, Maradana.