She’s got rhythm-and how! | Daily News

She’s got rhythm-and how!

One of the most rewarding aspects of following an artist's career is watching as she comes into her own judging by the way most affionados react to her performances.

Dilukshi Sirimane has been on our music scene for a long time sitting at the piano stool and delighting the audiences with her melodic interpretation of tunes in whatever category of music the tunes belong. In short, the categories are wide and she has been successful in doing so whilst concentrating on her administrative duties daily.

With an LLB behind her name, she is an Attorney-at-Law who worked at Inter Governmental and Mercantile Institutions, was a Broadcaster at SLBC for its Home and Asian Services and she lent her voice to Capital Radio as well. A familiar figure with the Barefoot Band when the musicians fall in on Sunday afternoons, Dilukshi performs freelance whenever selective musicians request her expertise. Over a cup of coffee it was good to meet up with her and get her valuable opinion on many musical thoughts.

Q: I’m curious, where did it all begin for you, this keen interest in music and playing the piano with such expertise?

From my young days I developed a keen interest in playing the piano. We had a piano at home and I used to play one note melody lines after which I was able to play with both hands by ear. I was blessed to have a father who played piano and our household was filled with music. Unfortunately I did not receive classical music lessons as my sister had a piano teacher who hit her on the knuckles if a wrong note was played and my father discontinued all piano lessons. Being a judge of the Supreme Court his decisions were always final.

The older generation will remember him as D.Q.M. Sirimane, who also after his retirement served as Director Legal, Lake House.

Q: They say that a pianist’s primary job is to play chords-single notes in the right hand while clomping chords with the left hand. We’ve come a long way from that conclusion have we?

While agreeing partly, my personal view is that each tune has to be appreciated differently and the old norm cannot be rigidly adhered to all the time. In the context there are some who are of the opinion that standards are not suitable to be played in jazz mode.

I know that Chucho Valvez in a live performance at the Village Vanguard, later released as a record, turned “My Funny Valentine” into a blistering bossa nova. Your view?

Any musician is entitled to interpret and play any song in any manner he or she wishes. There are no hard and fast rules - jazz is all about improvisation and a discerning listner will appreciate the work of that musician. Jazz has evolved down the ages. There was dixie, mainstream, swing, modern, funk and fusion and this is the only music that enshrines the concept of freedom of expression for human kind.

Q: As a musician do you worry about the next gig at which you have to play?

I have no anxiety or worry about playing anywhere, anytime because I know I am adequately equipped to meet the requirements of any event.

You have played with leading musicians here in Sri Lanka. How does it feel and what else could you wish for. Is there something else you would like to do next, something you always wanted to but could never do?

I gratefully acknowledge the experience I have gained playing with musicians of repute. In the future I would like to play with a bigger group of musicians almost replicating big band sounds. I have played in India, Macau, Maldives with Sri Lankans and it was heartening to note that international audiences are appreciative if the product is good. Performing in a band is team spirit and team work which requires discipline and co-operation of members, while highlighting the strength of each musician appropriately.

Q: When and how did jazz enter into your experience?

“At an early age I worked as a relief announcer at SLBC. Here I was exposed to all types of music. Having compiled several programs for broadcast, the business of listening played a very important role in my musical preferences. I developed a keen interest in jazz influenced to a great degree by Tommy Perera’s weekly jazz programme Down Beat on SLBC.

I lived through Motown, Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Disco, Rap but the genre of music I like the most is jazz.

Chick Corea once said “Music can bring us together”. And the general opinion is that music is a form of social activism -provides values for society to end violence, helps people to concentrate and to relate to others from different cultures. Your comment?

Music is therapeutic and many studies have found that it is an effective treatment for a variety of conditions. All forms of music through the ages have tried to propagate the messages of non violence, peace and harmony amongst human kind, as evidenced by Woodstock, Bob Marley’s songs, Joe Cocker and even some of the rock bands. I agree with Chick Corea’s comment. Music is a universal language and brings people together. In my experience every musician is unique and has something to offer which enhances all types of music.”

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