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Sunday, 31 March 2013

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Celebrating one nation, peace and national reconciliation

The charity concert by the De Lanerolle Brothers was a stunning success and it was a celebration of peace and reconciliation as the proceeds of the evening goes for a worthy cause to enlighten the young lives of the North and the East. Charismatic Kumar Sangakkara, the cricketing celebrity’s presence and his eloquent speech on behalf of children of the North and the East was inspiring to say the least.

De Lanerolle Brothers

The noble objective of the charity concert was to raise funds to light up the young lives and to donate the children of North and East brand-new bicycles which they would use to supplement their transportation requirements. It is obvious that the charity show, ultimately, turned up to be a celebration of peace and national reconciliation. It was one rare occasion where the audience, representing a cosmopolitan constituency stood up in unison for a one nation, superseding narrow confines of race, creed and even nationalities.

It’s been just over a month but I can still hear their voices in my ear!

A poster at barefoot caught my eye with three of Sri Lanka’s celebrities and a boy using a bicycle tyre inflating pump. It was all about a concert to take place on November 14 at The Water’s Edge where the three stars were coming together to support a cause of empowering, which was well depicted in the poster. The De Lanerolle Brothers empowering Kumar Sangakkara and the latter in turn empowering the child and the child in turn pumping air to the bicycle clearly indicated that this is what they are all about. This was certainly a show not to be missed as one could argue it would be a rarity to have celebrities from diverse fields on one stage together.Closer to the date I read a notice postponing the show for February 5 explaining that this was due to another concert being performed by a singer from overseas – clearly a well-respected move although one should have the freedom to pick and choose which concert one would want to attend. At the event itself, we were escorted professionally to the ballroom which had been transformed into a theatre with theatre style seating.

Each ticket had a colour code, red, blue, green and orange which showed the attention to detail that had gone into the show to seat 1000 guests! Due to the day being a week-day the traffic towards the venue was severe and the hall was just a 50p.c. full (out of a sold out concert) when the compere took the stage.

My friend and I were quite certain that she was going to announce a delay in the commencement of the program but to our dismay she introduced the stars for the evening ; indeed international start who have made Sri Lanka proud in their fields. At 7pm sharp with a wonderfully crafted overture and fanfare, we witnessed Kumar Sangakkara walk out flanked by the De Lanerolle Brothers – a truly electrifying moment where one could see the many media and cameraman clamoring to get the best shot of the stars.

They acknowledged everyone and Kumar took his place next to his beautiful wife Yehali, while the brothers started the show with a thunderous version of ‘Try a little Kindness’ apt to start a show in terms meaning. The Brothers as always were well clad in off white jackets with a black satin Lapel designed by Lou Ching Wong.

Other hits to follow were ‘Walk right back’, ‘Elusive Dreams’, ‘Portofino’ and ‘The Eyes of Love’.

One song that held the audience spell bound was Ishan’s rendition of ‘What a wonderful world’ which kept some parts of the audience murmuring ‘How does he sing so low’?, while some kept saying ‘how low can he go?’ “Unchained melody” which is simply hacked in our part of the world was transformed into a glorious rendition by the brothers.

Kumar Sangakkara(centre)with Lanerolle Brothers

‘You’ll Never walk alone’ which I am sure was dedicated to the children of the Deaf and Blind School and the children of the Bikes for life project gave us goose bumps as the intricate harmonies unfolded in the lines of Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart.

A poignant moment of the entire concert was when the brothers broke out to sing “The Prayer” (easily the best I have heard after Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion) which led Rohan to introduce Kumar to speak on the charities.

Kumar Sangakkara matched the brothers’ performance with his eloquent speech, which spoke about the two charities. Apart from the message on the work undertaken by the Bikes for life program which comes under the umbrella “foundation of goodness”, it has carried out immense work where one should visit their website to find out more and support the good causes they tirelessly work for.

Kumar’s summing up lines were simply amazing when he said, that people are driven to give for different reasons and he said to “just give, for whatever reason they want to”

The intermission accorded the opportunity for the packed house to further help the charities by purchasing the De Lanerolle Brothers Tea and CD’s and to enjoy the refreshments served in the foyer by Water’s Edge. The touching part was that we heard a bicycle bell ringing to signify the end of the intermission, which I am sure was an idea of the Creative partner Leo Burnett.

The second half commenced with the Michael Ball song Love changes everything from Aspects of love, which was delightful to the ear along with Love me with all of your heart, which made me reminisce their stunning performance at the Olivia Newton John Show where they opened the show with that song.

The concert had the perennial favorites such as Spanish Eyes, Amarillo, Help me make it through the night.

The show would have never ended if the brothers and Kumar did not walk away to get mobbed by the crowd but prior to that they simply could not leave the stage as the audience kept asking for more and more and they obliged by singing not one but two encores (two Olivia Newton John songs again) : If you love me let me know and Let me be there in your morning to which Rohan insisted Kumar be on stage and we thought we heard him sing along a few words.

The Brothers and Kumar with great difficulty then made it to the special arena, which had been made for the audience to take photographs with the celebrities and it was no surprise when we saw the que endless for a picture with the three of them for Rs. 500 which again was for the two charities.

All in all it was a fabulous evening with them with a powerful message and some delightful music. I am certain every reader would join me in saying “encore” for a fabulously crafted concert.

 

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