Earful of Visuals:
Dewapriya’s Radio magic
Kanata Parak (Earful of Visuals), a dual audio CD anthology of 14
Radio Plays produced by Malaka Dewapriya, film maker, visual artiste,
Sinhala Radio playwriter, short film and video director, will be
launched at the Auditorium of the Mahaweli Centre, Colombo, at 3.00 p.m.
on April 7.
A debut endeavour, Dewapriya is hopeful of creating an aesthetic
revolutionary change in the sphere of Radio Plays in Sri Lanka with his
CD, which is supported by vocal contributions of nearly 40 prominent
artistes. These include Jayalath Manorathna, Dharmasiri Bandaranayake,
Saman Athaudahetti, Lucian Bulathsinhala, Somasiri Liyanage, W. Jayasiri,
Buddhadasa Withanachchi, Chandra Kaluarachchi, Ramya Wanigasekara,
Rathna Lalani, Damayanthi Fonseka, Lakashman Mendis, Saumaya Liyanage,
Kaushalya Fernando, Darmapriya Dias, Deepani Silva, Chandrasoma
Binduhewa and several others. Theme music for the CD has been created by
Dewapriya describes Kanata Parak as an artistic attempt to emphasise
the significance of audio-media for creating socio-political awareness,
at a time when that media has been used for mere popular and commercial
purposes. “As an art, Radio Play is one of the most powerful genre in
the world today; it is called the eighth art in the world,” he says,
adding that though it is said a picture tells thousand words, Radio
Plays have the power to produce thousands of visuals in one word, if
Commenting on the role of Radio Drama today, he says,
Plays are no longer confined only to radio waves, and explains that one
can share it as a sound file and also download it like as one. “If you
just go by the information in the ‘www.moonlightaudiothetre.ca’, today,
Radio Play has a huge social role. People are made to listen to them
while they are waiting to see their doctors in hospitals, in long
flights, in long road journeys and in any place people have to waste
their time, they can be made to listen to radio plays. So it is a
popular medium in the world,” he says.
Dewapriya, who entered the world of Radio Plays as a script writer in
1995 and has been active in field ever since, says until 2005 he
produced scripts for the program called Guwanviduli Rangamandala for the
Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC). He both wrote and acted
received guidance from the giants of this field like Sugathapala de
Silva, Tilak Jayarathne, J. H. Jayawaradana and Dharmashri Munasinha.
Sugathapala de Silva after going through some of Dewapriya’s plays had
once told him, that ‘the initial stage of radio plays absorbed stories
from classic short stories, parables, historical plays, or reproducing
mere stories available in society in dialogue format’ and advised him to
think of the huge place for imagination in Radio Plays and its immense
power as a medium. “When I sit to write a script often I am reminded of
his words,” says Dewapriya.
He has collected his plays in three volumes; Uge Hisa Ivarai ( off
with his head), Nihon Sepa Lebewa (may you attend comfort worldly life
in Nihon) , and Funsalak (Fun space ). The first two volumes are in
print now, he says, adding that they have about 33 plays which have been
written with alternative perspectives and themes.
“I have explored the issues of ethnic identity, gender inequality,
cultural differences, consequences of consumerist culture and several
other socially and politically important themes,” he says, explaining
that one can read them as literature too and that he has got fairly good
Kanata Parak comprises 12 plays in Sinhala and two in Tamil from
Dewapriya’s collection as an audio CD and includes such titles as
‘Tharuwan Saranai’(blessed by star), Nihon Sepa Lebewa (may you attend
comfort worldly life in Nihon), Alayaka Damanaya (love tamed),
Nirabhishekana (felicitation), Nirwasthran Paraman Sukhan (Naked is the
best policy), Funsalak and Roma Ruupana (Perform in Rome).
The main speakers at the launch event will be Dr. Dharmasena
Pathiraja, Lucian Bulathsinhala, and Dr. Sunil Wijesiriwardana, who will
speak on the subject of contemporary radio art. The launch will be
compeered by eminent playwright, E.M.D Upali, and all those attending
the event will receive a free CD. The launch ceremony is presented by
Contemporary Art Commune and is sponsored by the Artlink project of
Lankan notes in Milano
a sheer diversity in her repertoire of songs, Champa Rupika de Silva
explores diverse themes like love and filial kinship, enunciating core
values of Sri Lankan culture. Mentored by legendary singer Malani
Bulathsinhala, she has utilised her talents to inculcate Sri Lankan
value in Sri Lankan children in Milano. In a way, it is an aesthetic
attempt to reclaim lost motherland in a globalised milieu, while living
in the cosmopolitan city of Milano.
One of the rare vocalists gifted with a wider tonal range, it is this
innate ability that facilitates her to render her voice to a gamut of
songs that demands diverse tonality and makes her stand out among her
contemporaries. Particularly, she has the ability to demonstrate her
skills in the universal scale C. She often employs diverse singing
techniques in rendering her voice which, among other things, is the fine
application of her knowledge and skills in music.
A naturalised citizen of Italy who now lives with her family in the
city of Milano, Champa Rupika’s talents were recognised at the age of 19
when she rendered her voice as a light song singer at the Sri Lanka
Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
her talents are not confined to singing alone. She took part in amateur
singing contests and won all-island awards for singing, dancing and
Champa Rupika held her maiden solo-concert titled Mathakaye Randa in
Teatro San Carlo, Milano in 2008. It was a concert held in the memory of
her music teacher and mentor late Visharada Malani Bulathsinhala. She
also held another concert in 2011 in memory of Malani Bulathsinhala
coinciding with her 10th death anniversary. Champa launched her maiden
CD in Sri Lanka titled Mathakaye Randa.
Champa Rupika completed part one of the Visharada examinations and
followed the Gandharwa examination up to diploma level. Her first visual
Tharu Mudunaka with Kasun Kalhara Jayawardena was launched on ITN.
A popular music teacher and singer in Italy, she recently sang duets
in the Sanda Vilasa concert held in Italy with veteran singer Lakshman
Wijesekara. She also conducts music lessons for children, particularly,
in the Sri Lankan community and holds a highly successful annual music
contest titled Little Star in Italy. She is hopeful of continuing with
the contest in the future.
Soul Sounds’ Born Free:
Different, dazzling and completely captivating
It is a universal truth that the world’s best entertainers, the
truest artistes, the most passionate performers challenge themselves
over and over again. Every now and then they step outside their comfort
zone; they take risks . . . and they carry their audiences with them on
awesome, passion-filled emotional journeys.
is what happened on the March 17, when the Soul Sounds, Sri Lanka’s much
celebrated highly awarded premier female choir put on a riveting
performance they called Born Free.
Born Free was perhaps ‘born’ when the troupe made a safari to South
Africa and experienced animals in the wild. Perhaps the idea of a
musical safari was rocking around in their imagination even then. And so
it happened that the Lionel Wendt theatre was once again filled to
capacity one brilliant Thursday, with audiences clearly enchanted by the
The stage was appropriately forest-like and mystical. And when the
lights dimmed and the musicians gathered and the first chords were
played and a huge lion’s paw filled the backdrop screen . . . the
singers burst in through the entrance doors of the auditorium, making a
dramatic entrance protesting vibrantly in song . . . ‘they don’t really
care about us!’
It was from the Michael Jackson medley: the Earth Song. It was
appropriately earthy and hugely energetic. And then the singers gathered
into position on stage and suddenly quietened to pause for Shehara
Liyanage’s silvery voice as it lifted in solo and she began the Earth
Song in earnest, beautifully lit up by the whole choir.
Yes, the Soul Sounds were clearly different, dazzling, their faces
exotically painted. The harmony, the tonality seemed to take on a
different timbre. Tossed aside was their characteristic swing and sway
movement. Instead they lunged, prowled, made looping movements with
their bodies. They threw themselves into a new idiom, and wove into
vibrant new group postures, while they sang.
And then they moved on to Colours of the Wind from the movie
Pocahontas, which Amandi Caldera began with her tender soprano,
beautifully supported by the choir.
And so Born Free reigned free. A different colour from before. Drum
tattoos, animal slides in huge backdrop, imaginative choreography and
much more dramatic stage craft, creating a whole different character and
mood. Dinushka Jayawickreme’s solo of Michael Jackson’s Will you be
there with choir, was haunting. It was more than a song. More than
lyrics. More than movements. Climaxing with Lilanka Boteju rendering the
perfect piece of poetry . . . to bring a lump in the throat to many a
After I dream by Lisa Firestone sung very lyrically by Amandi Caldera
and the choir, the Soul Sounds closed the first half with a rousing
performance of one of their prime signature pieces: The Lion Sleeps
Tonight complete with the background sounds of live forest creatures,
which only the Soul Sounds can do with such perfect timing and such
raucous artistry. It was one of the numbers which won them the Gold at
the Austrian Choir Games some years ago.
After the interval the beautiful repertoire continued, lit up
particularly by two items. One by One from the Lion King, half sung,
half elocuted by Dinushka in native African idiom.
Afterwards the High Commissioner for South Africa, Geoff Doidge,
Chief Guest at the Concert was heard to comment how authentic her accent
was, how real and amazing it felt.
This was followed by an original composition by ‘Soul Sounds’
Founder, Musical Director, inventive genius and pianist extraordinaire:
Soundarie David Rodrigo. She called it Wild and Free and it beautifully
captured the elemental wildness, the unexpectedness of the forest. With
drum tattoos that spoke, and piano that shivered and quivered. With
extraordinary timing that captured the unexpectedness of the wild.
Nilanga Jayawickreme joined her sister Dinushka for Africa Many
younger singers were also featured as soloists, as much as the
experienced seniors. So we heard Raaya Gomez, Roshani de Silva, Nimaya
Harris and Manisha Seneratne . . . They brought a freshness and
innocence that was entirely right for this particular presentation.
It was a night to enjoy and think about. There was rambunctiousness
as well as quiet. There was mystery and unexpectedness and intrigue and
subtlety. Soul Sounds challenged themselves and came through
magnificently. The really beautiful face paint seemed to transform the
young women. Inside and out! Yet the presentation was never over the
top. Not overdone. The choreography deserves very special mention. It
was just theatrical enough and sensuous enough to turn a human female
singer into almost a sinuous creature of the night.
Century Monk in Kandy
This April the Sri Theatre team will perform 21st Century Monk in
Kandy. The play is a comedy that observes the life of a young Lawyer and
his decision to go forever mute. The production premiere in Kandy two
years ago and is back on boards.
Last month the team was invited to perform in India at the Garden
City College University where the play was well received with people in
the crowd whistling and applauding to a domestic scene in the play;
confirmation of the similarities in our culture.
The play will be performed at the E.O.E Pereira Theatre E Fac
Peradeniya University on the 9 and 10 of April. Tickets are prized at
200 500 and 1000 and will be available at the gate.
Contact Aslam Marikar for more details. 077 37 45678