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Still a creative force



Noel Ranasinghe

He believed in originality and creativity in a music scene that was thriving on 'covers'. The time was right for 'La Ceylonians' to be born and all credit to Noel Ranasinghe for stubbornly forging ahead with his dream, 42 years ago.

"I'm proud of my brainchild 'La Ceylonians' and for the past 42 years I have kept up my trade mark performing in colourful sarongs and shirts, straw hats and barefoot, and singing the Sri Lankan Calypso - the trailblazer Noel Ranasinghe they called me comments the musician.

"My fans love to find out whether such a feat is an achievement worthy of being included in the Guiness Book of Records!" We hope it does. Creating a new style was no easy task for Noel. He had to face the wrath of many, who criticised and almost destroyed his ideas.

But he stood up to the challenge and today 'Sri Lankan Calypso' is a trend that has benefitted many musicians, hoteliers, producers of music, radio and TV and is a part of our culture and tradition. Sri Lankan Calypso show will be a reality on January 21 at the BMICH and will feature the legends of the 60's and the calypso styles of that era. And Noel Ranasinghe will be featured.

A quick spool back into his career reveals that before La Ceylonians, Noel formed the group 'Flames' with vocalist/guitarist Anton Ratnayake and sang at club functions.

Soon after the 'Clefs' was formed with the addition of Tony Ferdinand, Chris Moldrich and Michael Guinan, and the repertoire were songs by Elvis Presley, Everly Brothers, Connie Francis and Shirley Bassey. But the creative spirit in Noel saw him branch off to form the 'Blue Bells'.

But this was for a short while, because the yearning to be different was paranoid, and soon 'La Ceylonians' became a reality and the group found swift success. "I believed in creating a new style, never heard or seen in any part of the world.

I used the name of our country, wore coloured sarongs with waist bands, straw and cloth hats, garlands and performed barefoot which I think is a first in our music history. I was invited to perform inflight on board a 'Tristar' from USA via Europe, Asia to Sri Lanka.

The group was also selected to the World Song Festival which is a first and speaks volumes for any creativity, which I achieved with two of my pupils Anura Jayasinghe and Rohan Ruwanwella. My group 'La Ceylonians' created a new sound that came to stay, it became part of our culture and tradition and was emulated by many others" reminisces Noel. There are albums to his credit.

The most popular being Splendoured Isle, Sing Sing, Sing and Jay-Love. Songs like Ayubowan, Calypso Baila, Cricket Lovely Cricket, Kaffringa Baila, Kandy Perehara, Our Land, O Beautiful Lanka, Hoiya Hoiya, Sanda Payane, Lanka Aparata neda?

"I still remember the day in the early years when our President Mahinda Rajapaksa wore my hat whilst enjoying my 'live' music at the Harbour Room of the GOH.

I am really proud to have entertained the leaders of our country, like Dudley Senanayake, John Kotalawala, Ranasinghe Premadasa, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, W. Dahanayake, J. R. Jayewardene and many Heads of State, something which the now generation of musicians have missed out on "comments a proud Noel Ranasinghe, whose contribution to the Sri Lankan music scene is considered to be as valuable as a national treasure.

Forty two years in showbiz is no mean feat.

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Asia Pacific Beauty Fair



L-R Nayana Karunaratne - Chairman SLAHAB, Lou Ching Wong, Sherine Fernando - President SLAHAB,
Chrissy Rosairo.

The Hair Asia Pacific and Hair and Beauty Fair will be held from March 2 to March 5 and will feature events and competitions related to hair, beauty and fashion. Recognised by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board as a national event, Hair Asia Pacific will be attended by fifteen countries in the zone.

The participating countries are Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan, India, Taiwan and Malaysia. Derana will be the TV media partner for this mega event.

At the meeting held recently plans were discussed to stage the different thematic fashion shows that will be held during the fashion extravaganza on March 4. Two fashion designers from Mumbai and another from Indonesia will be participating at the event.

Fashion shows will be held throughout the day and a pool of models will be made available for all four days. Each designer will have the facility of using twelve female models and six male models. Each show will be 30 minutes in duration.

The Chairman of the organising committee of SLAHAB Nayana Karunaratne at the meeting commented that "fashion is now playing a major part, with hair and makeup being one aspect of it".


A new year sing-a-long



Sohan & the X’periments.

The Royal Commonwealth Society is organising the New Year 'Sing-a-long' on January 27 at the Banquet Hall, BMICH. It is going to be an exciting Saturday evening since the 'Sing-a-long' will be presented by the popular Sohan and the X'periments.

The show will commence at 7.30 p.m. and there will be wonderful surprises added to the prizes that will be on offer. The ticket/song book will be issued on a first come, first served basis and according to the Project Chairman Vijaya Corea the evening is specially designed for families and friends to participate.


Sathsara 2007 in Moratuwa

The members of the Moratuwa Arts Forum are busy making arrangements to hold a contest for young musicians at school level in Moratuwa. Those who wish to participate should be able to play any one of the five instruments - violin, sitar, harmonium, tabla or flute. There will be two age limits.

Twelve to fifteen years and above fifteen years.

The Forum intends to work out the preliminary rounds this month and in the next month and in all probability the final contest will be held on February 24 in Moratuwa on a grand scale.

So send in your entries to the Moratuwa Arts Forum no sooner you read this information, addressed to Asoka Peiris or Lankika Perera - Co-chairmen or to the Secretary, Surani Fernando.

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