HIGH-VOLTAGE STAR POWER

Published : 12:02 am  February 10, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (179) reads | 

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It should come as no surprise that the versatile, mega-talented jazz artiste, Sri Lanka’s own Rukshan Perera, performed at the Bishop's College Auditorium on Sunday 21st January, with all the fervour and style we have come to know as his signature approach to providing fine entertainment time and time again with his original music.  


At the beginning of the show, an informative Rotary Clip clearly sets the stage for finding an equilibrium which then breaks into more vigorous music.  The rise and fall of volume and the swell of notes works beautifully as Rukshan glides through myriad settings to give us a hint at the ambient performance ahead, which promises to highlight the space of the Auditorium, rather than fill it.


Untitled-4Songs with meaningful lyrics – like the Rotary Song (theme song), Walk on the Rainbow (about differently abled people), I’ll Keep Fighting (surviving cancer), and One Child at a Time (helping underprivileged kids) – open up the ears and mind to an artistic world of social awareness which is precisely the value of this type of music. The spontaneity and uniqueness of this performance is a good reason to celebrate Rukshan’s inventiveness in the world of adventurous yet poignant music making.  


All proceeds from this Concert went towards the Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan (eight children’s projects). As the President of this Rotary Club, one would expect that Rukshan Perera put his heart and soul into ‘Making a Difference’ – and many of the 20 songs performed were connected with Rotary projects. This Concert has been the biggest fundraiser for Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan and for Rukshan’s Concert series. Of the Rs 5 million raised, Rs 1 million was donated by a fan in the audience who was moved by what was presented!  What a night that was.  


Rukshan always manages to present himself in that smooth, confident, cool fashion – no outrageous antics, just highly competent, almost effortless – be it on vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboard, Djembe, or even harmony whistle. The dynamics are vital and emotional, the synchronicity impressive.

 

Rukshan displayed his solid energetic and affable style, interacting comfortably with the many musicians on stage, as well as the audience.The change of unpredictable rhythm and tempo got the audience into an excited frenzy


And so, for the eighth consecutive year, Rukshan delighted and wowed the audience with great original compositions, some of which we know well, such as What Time Is It, and Backwaters.


Some of the material – such as Eka Mawakage Daruwo that won a Gold at Asia Pacific Choir Games (performed by The Ladies College Intermediate Choir), Monsters on the Loose (an outstanding rendition by Melanie/Aanjanie/Roshie dedicated to abused children), Olu Pipeela (with the Indian Ragas by Jananath combining with Western Scatting by Rukshan), as well as a fun version of 70s Acapella (with the De Lanerolle Brothers, Willie Godridge and Prashalini Peiris) were retooled and massaged to include all manner of iterations, some so profound as to make the songs sound brand new.  

 

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And then there was a new song titled Puhul Hora, an example of a nursery rhyme to teach the new generation some ethics and values. I understand that there will be a DVD made of New Generation of Nursery Rhymes and distributed to children throughout the island, based on ethics – another worthy Rotary Project led by Rukshan. Skits such as Seeya Biwwa Wine, Selfie and Mage Molei were done to add fun and entertain the audience, but on the whole, the guest artistes and back up musicians exhibited the right mixture of professionalism to get the Concert just right.  


The stage was loaded with high voltage star power and creative energy, presenting pop, jazz, classical, acapellas and fusion in all its forms. Two of my favourite songs included Cool Cats (with Rukshan scatting on guitar) and Classical Scat (with the legendary Soundarie David Rodrigo on piano) – but as a tribute to Rukshan’s versatility, the Concert displayed the richness and diversity of his original compositions in many genres.  


In terms of stage presence, Rukshan displayed his solid energetic and affable style, interacting comfortably with the many musicians on stage, as well as the audience. The change of unpredictable rhythm and tempo got the audience into an excited frenzy, as they clapped their hands and tapped their feet to the pulsating beat.  All in all, the enthusiastic fans were totally in a place of musical bliss as they marvelled at the musicianship of this time-resistant ‘maestro’.
The powerful lyrics of Bless Our Land brought the exhilaration of this Concert to an end. It was a unique, riveting experience to be in the audience that night – the perfect ending to this extraordinary celebration of music.  

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Dushy Parakrama

 

 

Photos courtesy 
Mangala Gunasekera