TV Times

‘IRAJ’:New Urban & Asian Hip hop collection
A new album title Iraj hit the shelves of music storesrecently. This was the beginning of a new era of Sri Lankan hip-hop and urban music as Iraj together with Krishan and other members of the band - ‘Ill Noize Crew’.

Iraj Weeraratne together with B.K. Gresha, Yuwanan, Static K9 and Infass introduced this new trend in Asian hip-hop as they blended Sri Lankan beats, Sinhalese and Tamil raps and launched raw new flavour and voila. Iraj Weeraratne is a Sri Lankan born musician or rather the maestro of hip-hop music in the island.

At the tender age of sixteen, he won the best keyboardist title in Sri Lanka awarded by the Guildhall Music School - UK, when he was a student at the Academy of Music under the vigilant guidance of his music teacher Shyama Perera.

Iraj came rolling into the local music scene when he collaborated with Ranidu Lankage and Yauwanan Wigneswaran and formed ‘Zealots’ when he was still schooling in Royal College. They also released their first original ‘Love You So’ in 1998 and received airplay on local radio stations.

After this Iraj, who was then schooling at Stafford International, teamed up with Ruki and Urban Sound to work on another original called ‘Sri Lanka 2030’. After a short break, during which time Iraj was reading for a degree in Accounting and Finance at the University of Northumbria in UK, he re-joined hands with Krishan and Ruki for the hit single ‘Roots’.

This was the song that revolutionized local music as it crossed borders and received airplay on all continents. This was featured in UK on BBC Radio 1. Iraj’s self-titled debut album - ‘Iraj’, which was co-produced by Ranga Dassanayake from Hit.

Factory (the main man behind Iraj’s success), includes some of the biggest hits in Sri Lanka’s chart history, including his month long chart topper ‘Roots’ and last year’s smash hit ‘Ill Noize’, which not only managed to ride high in the Sri Lankan charts, but crossed shores to hit tops (number five) in Britain’s Asian Airplay charts (BBC Radio One UK Asian charts). This debut album, which is marketed and distributed by Sony Music - M Entertainment, is designed to set the stage for Sri Lanka’s hip- hop revolution, mastered and introduced to our market by Iraj himself. As per the moment, this ablum is currently the fastest selling album in the Sri Lankan market.

This album also includes Iraj’s last two singles which have managed to cross the barriers of language, culture and border controls. Namely, ‘J-Town Story’ (the song about a boy who escapes to Colombo from the horrors of war in the North in search of hope) - the first Tamil song to capture the local English charts (number two on the Sun Fm charts) and the first of its kind to enter the South Indian Market, and his latest number one hit ‘Players Lounge’ - which is set for release in the UK and other parts of the world. This bi-lingual track shot up to the number one position on the Sun Fm charts.

Not to mentions his innovation of Sinhala-Bhangra, first introduced to Sri Lanka in his collaboration with Raindu, ‘Ahankara Nagare - Remix 2004’ is already the biggest hit in the island so far this year, with a record of over two months at the helm.

Its displacement from the year-end top spot is unlikely with more popularity given to Bhangra with another record exclusive to this album - namely ‘Ran Ran Ran’ for which Iraj collaborated with renowned Sri Lankan vocal artiste Sangeeth Wijesuriya. This was the first ever hip- hop Tri-lingual track to be produced in the country. This was placed number one on the Rasa Risi Gee charts.

Ahankara Nagare- Remix was the first ever Sinhalese track to enter into the BBC Radio One charts in UK. It was placed number four on the charts.

The video for Ran Ran Ran which was directed by Nilan Cooray was an instant success amongst all. Iraj is currently on set shooting for his next video clip for the track ‘Ninda Noyana Handawe’ with Ranidu. He is also currently shooting for another video clip which is set to be released in India. Mainly on MTV and Channel V in India.

Iraj is also currently producing Krishan’s solo Tamil album which is set to be released within the course of next year - 2005. Furthermore, an International hip-hop album done by Iraj in collaboration with the Ill Noize crew is also currently under construction and is set to be released within the course of next year.

Many of those who assisted Iraj in his debut album will also be working with him in his next ventures.

This includes lyricists Wasantha Dugannarala, Kelum Srimal and 6th Lane. It will also include vocalists Dushyanth Weeraman and Devashree De Silva. Son of Film Producer, Preethiraj Weeraratne, Iraj is also currently working on his next venture - Film Production. This will be yet another innovation from Iraj.


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