Distinctive and refreshing vocal stylings
Most singers who hit the
highspots confess that when they are very very young they sing to
themselves, and it’s like a friend. It’s something they have inside them
and can’t imagine living without it. And to beautiful Jennifer Palor who
was in Sri Lanka to perform with Dylan Lye and his band from Hong Kong
at the Mount Jazz Festival I guess the feeling would have been the same.
Watching her perform on stage it was amazing!
The stage was her home, she was quite at ease and going by the blurbs
that she has taken Asia by storm with her dynamic voice and intense
performances, then it was ditto here in Sri Lanka. Her well controlled
voice and enthusiasm was stunning. Hailing from Manila, lovely Jennifer
was nurtured on a diet of pop in the Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey
idiom. Her parents too were pop fanatics and Jennifer launched her
musical career in Manila at the young age of seventeen.
She has had no formal training in fact as she proudly claims she is
self trained. “My advice to young singers is be experimental when you
sing a song at rehearsals. Don’t close your mind because music is wide
and elastic, especially jazz” voices Jennifer in soft clean tones. So
when did the switch come from pop to jazz?
“I was offered a contract for six months at the Grand Hyatt, Hong
Kong and that’s how I started on Jazz and I’m glad it was in Hong Kong.
I was backed by the Hotel band.I enjoy singing, I’m more of a
contemporary jazz singer and I’m on a natural high when I start singing
the opening bars! To some extent I must confess I am influenced by the
singing of Stevie Wonder and Dianne Reeves. At present I sing at the
Ritz Carlton Hotel, Shanghai. Before the Ritz I’ve sung at many of the
Hotels in Hong Kong, China, Korea and at concerts.
They say you have a fan base with the youth in Hong Kong. Is it
interesting? “There are many youth jazz fans. They make it a practice to
check out the jam sessions and I’m making it acceptable to the younger
generation. I coach the young to sing and I firmly believe that each
person has something unique in them and I try and bring it out to
Tell us about your album “Jenerations” which you released last year?
“I wanted to capture all my feelings in song on this album and share it
with music lovers. The CD contains nine tracks. I’ve included tracks
like Ipanema, Fly Me To The Moon, Sugar - on this track Anthony
Fernandes is on drums. On the track Boracay, Bubu Wijesinghe is on
The arrangements and production is by Dan Lovelle and Anthony is the
Co-producer. I’m glad I came to Sri Lanka for this festival. This is my
first time and the experience was great.
I hope I can come again to your beautiful country. We hope so too, to
enjoy her refreshing and distinctive vocal stylings that reached out to
both the youth and adults with success, with support from the
extraordinary guitarist Dylan Lye and his accomplished band of
Maxi takes music to the maximum
Meeting the musical Maxi
Fernando is a sheer delight because this musician knows how to entertain
an audience. Listening to him during his piano performance at the
Cinnamon Lakeside, it’s smiles all around and happy faces. Maxi shuffles
between Taj Exotica to the Galadari even to the Taj Airport Garden hotel
and Cinnamon Lakeside to give music lovers a keyboard treat.
“I was fascinated by music at a young age ever since I was the
youngest member of Father Herath’s orchestra at the All Saints’ Church
playing the French horn at the age of 12 years” he reminisced. Maxi is a
self-taught keyboardist and says he first started playing when he learnt
on a broken piano. “I accidentally found myself in a piano repair shop
and played on a broken piano which is where I taught myself how to play
it” he said. Maxi can play any genre of music including the famous
Michael Jackson songs. “I like to play to please because if I find that
the audience taps their toes to a certain music, I play along those
lines” said Maxi.
Playing in a band called ‘Still’, Maxi found himself playing in
Kabul, Afghanistan for nearly 2 years. “Back then we played contemporary
rock and some commercial stuff and we had a loyal following” said Maxi.
However, things took a different turn when the war started. “When the
war broke out, we didn’t even have money to travel back to Sri Lanka. It
was when the friendly band ‘Friends’ came to our rescue talking to
charity organisations and taking us from Pakistan to India and then
finally Sri Lanka” said Maxi. However, still determined to travel the
world with his music, Maxi headed to Baghdad where he played for ‘Ice
and Fire’ with his best buddy Benjy (now famous with his band Aqarius).
“Thereafter, I went with Benjy to Switzerland where I played in 4
different bands” said Maxi. The four bands were the ‘Romeos’, ‘Serendib’
with Indra Raj, a Swiss band called ‘Baker’s Group’ and the most
memorable band Maxi says he loved playing in was ‘Leeyons’.
“What made the Leeyons fantastic was that there were black musicians
who hailed from Sierra Leone and we played everything from reggae to
African soul music which was a good way I got exposed to international
music” says Maxi with a smile.
“The best memories of my musical career was when I was in Europe and
playing for 6 years in Switzerland” said Maxi. In addition to this, Maxi
also found himself playing in Norway with a band called ‘Colombo Gems’.
“I even had a stint in Jordan and Oman at the Inter-Continental hotels”
he said. Maxi even met greats like Roger Moore and even Frank Sinatra
during his European tour.
Coming back to Sri Lanka, Maxi played music at the Galadari with
Noeline and a band called Skyline for three years. He even went to
Maldives where he was a Guest Relations Officer, compere, DJ and event
manager for a resort show. “It was after all the band life that I
decided to settle down to a simple life of a soloist pianist which is a
real crowd pleaser,” said a happy Maxi. ‘With special thanks to God
Almighty,’ Maxi acknowledges his wife Erin and children, Benjy,
‘Friends’ and every musician in the industry who has helped him along