Music is the best medicine | Daily News

Music is the best medicine

A man with a heart of gold and a voice of gold, Keerthi Pasquel is ready to storm the stage of Colombo this Saturday at the BMICH marking 40 years in the music business. It is called Evolution of Music with Keerthi Pasquel. This concert will be an event not to be missed by Pasquel’s followers and music lovers. Daily News speaks to Keerthi Pasquel about life in music.

“My brother was a musician, however my parents did not allow me to play the guitar fearing that it would get in the way of my education. So they did not encourage me to take up music. But they were unaware that I used their absence and the absence of my brother to play the guitar. My cousin brother was my first teacher, teaching me how to play the guitar. After that I formed a calypso group with my cousin brothers. This was very early on in my life. We sang group songs that were popularized in the 1960’s,” said Pasquel.

Pasquel and his band members really enjoyed the music of that era.

“At that time we did not have a bass guitarist for the band and we had a booking to play at a wedding. And the day before the wedding we still did not have a bass guitarist. Since we were simply unable to find a bass guitarist, drastic situations normally call for drastic actions and the next day early in the morning I visited a musical institute and learnt how to play the bass guitar the day of the wedding from 6.00am to 10.00am. The sound manager of that institute told me that he had an idea to form a band led by Stanley Peiris and whether I would like to play in the band. So I said yes,” stated Pasquel.

This was in 1976 and the band consisted of Rukantha Gunathilake and Mahinda Bandara.

“So practice started with these musicians. So we practiced every day for four to six hours in a practice session that went on for more than six months. So we formed a band called Galaxies in Kandy, which was my home town. For around four years I played with this band and we became popular in the Kandy area. In 1978 I got the chance to come to Colombo with Stanley Peiris and to participate in some recordings. During recordings I met many professional musicians. It was then that Patrick Denipitiya invited me to sing in his band which was in 1980.

In 1982 – 1985, I had the chance to sing and play the guitar in the chorus of Nanda Malini’s Sathyaye Geethaya. I sang with her in 530 shows. In 1983 we had a reunion of Fortunes Band. By now I was making a name for myself as a bass guitarist. During that time I was able to record my originals,” explained Pasquel.

In 1983 the Fortune’s band did a series of appearances doing music tracks on famous singers on a musical program on ITN.

“I was able to perform my song Nil Ahase on ITN. It was telecasted in 1984. After that I was much in demand. In 1985 I released my first cassette – Nil Ahase. In 1985 I went with Nanda Malini on a foreign tour. In addition to all of this I acted in four Tele-dramas as a main character. These Tele-Dramas opened up many avenues for me. From 1985 I consistently did many new songs. In 1988 I started a one man show – Keerthi Gee. That became popularized around the country. In 1996 I received an award from the World Science Council. In 2000 my life changed. I left Sri Lanka for New Zealand. I was in New Zealand for four years. I came back in 2004 and recommenced my career in Sri Lanka,” pointed out Pasquel.

After coming back from New Zealand Pasquel started to rise in popularity.

“I gained in popularity in a way that was not there before leaving for New Zealand. I received a lot of support from the media I must say. Now I am into a lot of social service. I have two music schools where I impart my knowledge to students. I have appeared continuously in Derana Dream Star as a judge. In addition to all of this I have rendered my services to orphanages and elders homes,” informed Pasquel.

For one and a half years he has been the President of the Singer’s association.

“Through that I have rendered a lot of services to singers. Last month we got 25 million from the government for our association to give a pension scheme for the elderly artistes, more than 65 years. So I want to assist our artistes and society and the children who are the future of our country. I am always doing new songs. With this show of mine I want to assist those in areas like Anuradhapura who have kidney problems. The biggest problem they face is, after dialysis, they have no place to stay. They are faced with the prospect of resting on benches and in parks and under trees. I want to create a proper area where they can rest with all the facilities. So this is what I want to do. So I am intent on helping these people with Kidney problems. So the funds I get through this show, I want to use it to help people,” elucidated Pasquel.

The concert is called –“Evolution of Music with Keerthi Pasquel.’ The reason is that Keerthi wishes to show, how his music has evolved over the years.

“Over 40 years my music has evolved. First I started with Calypso and then it evolved to when I played 70’s music. The 80’s music I played with Fortunes are a bit advanced. So I wish to show that with the changing times I have adapted to the various styles and developed my music.

I have also included a retinue of artistes in my show – Annesley Malewana, Erol Fernando, Dhammika Bandara, Samitha Mudunkotuwa, Nirosha Virajini, Nelu Adikari, Mariazelle Goonetilleke, Kasun Pasquel, Charuni Pasquel and Chethana Ranasinghe.

My children are my legacy and they will take what I have done into the future. So I have given them this opportunity to perform alongside me with these other stars,” explained Pasquel.

The music is directed by veteran musicians Sarath De Alwis, Mahesh Denipitiya and Nalaka Sajee Jayasinghe.

“My mother wanted me to become a doctor. But my heart and mind was into music. Music has the power to speak to your soul. Music is a wide subject. Music soothes the mind and gives it rest. In art, music is the extreme point.

I have an abundance of patience and I am slow to anger.

I have good mental and physical health. All this is important for a musician. I can speak to a person’s heart through his or her emotions. When it comes to medicine I feel that 40 percent can be healed through music. Tension and stress are both relieved through music,” shared Pasquel.

Pasquel says his style is a Western and Oriental mix pop type of music. “I follow many styles of many singers. My originals are a mix of all of this. Pop and oriental styles are a part of my style.

My songs are love songs, emotional songs and even Baila. My melodies are inspired mainly from my music knowledge. I have strong will power. If I have a target I achieve it and I do the best. I don’t look behind, I look forward. I do what I can do and I do this to the best.

My message to any young guy or girl who wants to enter the music field is practice hard. Be a creative musician. Learn the subject well,” summed up Pasquel.

Pictures by Thushara Fernando


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