ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday May 4, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 49

A nightly treat for the tapping toes

By Namali Premawardhana and Dinidu de Alwis

Selling out a BMICH performance on a week night is a big deal, and is not easily achieved. The Revelations team needs to be commended on accomplishing this Herculean task, as the hall was packed full of expectant fans, while the performance came out with mixed reviews.

Two things that had quite an effect on the show; first was the relatively high volume of the whole performance. This was obviously not the fault of the singers but whoever was managing the sounds. The second, which also wasn't the fault of the singers, but took away a bit from the whole performance, was the lighting. This was cleverly done, but maybe a little too cleverly, leaving the place with a more night-club-ish effect than necessary.

Leaving external factors aside, let's get to the singing, the highs and the lows. The gospel session with Natasha Ratnayake was rich and vibrant. The other guest performances were "Anjalika" by Nalin of Marians fame – in typical Nalin style, Damien Wickramathilake and Ricky Bahar, who need no introduction.

Queen's classic, the "Bohemian Rhapsody" performed by The Revelations, when announced was going to be sung a cappella, gave everyone high hopes. This song could almost be an obsession for most and it's not an easy piece to perform. And kudos to the team for attempting it. Despite a few technicalities, "Bohemian Rhapsody" came out neck to neck, with "This Little Light of Mine," as everyone's favourite track from the performance.

Ms. Marianne David, well-known voice trainer said, "Apart from a few anxious moments, it was okay," when asked about Bohemian Rhapsody. She also mentioned that they should have ended their performance with either this piece, or "Oh When the Saints," adding that "they would have got that standing ovation, if they did."

"Oh When the Saints" was a special number for the band, as the lyrics are based on the words of St. John from the book of Revelations – although the band calls itself that, simply because that was the first option they came up with after learning of a band called Genesis! It was during this song that a rare occurrence took place. The soloist was actually heard above the rest of the voices, as should be, as opposed to being drowned by them. The track was done dramatically, and left the audience at the edge of their seats thinking about "when the moon turns to blood."

"River of Dreams" was one of my favourites," said Channa (19), who commented on the performance as a whole saying, "It wasn't what I expected. Usually choirs are a little less upbeat, but these guys were really lively. And the sound quality was pretty impressive. They had done sound balancing very well."

The highlight of the evening no doubt was "This Little Light of Mine," which was performed along with some of the kids of the members of The Revelations. The little ones were slightly off-key at times but all these little imperfections were more than compensated for by their sheer excitement and enthusiasm. This item saw the most involvement from the audience, more than half of them singing along, ear-to-ear. "Grins from the audience being proof of how much they enjoyed this track," said Justin, adding, "they were very competent. I loved it when the kids sang. It was beautiful. I enjoyed that track the most."

"Dream a Little Dream of Me" and "Kiss the Girl" were nicely done. The latter was well-balanced in terms of harmony, which was a nice change as most of the time there was one part or the other which was too prominent.

"It was really good. To sing a cappella for the songs they did was not an easy feat at all. The way they blended together is amazing," said Shenali (23), who emphasized on the human factor, saying "it was nice to see them interacting with the crowd, it shows they are family people who take the time to do this."

Varuni (25) was of the opinion that they've improved from their previous performances. "Revelations is becoming a brand, and people come to see them no matter what. They have put Sri Lanka on the map with gospel, pop and jazz," and she added, "we should definitely support them in their future endeavours."

Finally, speaking to Ishan de Lanerolle, President of The Revelations, he said, "I am very grateful to each and everyone who came for the concert as it has contributed a substantial amount with regard to our money raising process, in order to participate at the Choir Games."

An awesome evening which was well planned and well executed, albeit a few glitches. But the human factors such as the passion, the commitment and the enthusiasm which shone through, and the fact that The Revelations team utterly enjoyed themselves, above all, more than made up for all else. Hats off!

The Revelations ranked No. 9 in the world in the Gospel, Pop and Jazz category, are expanding after their recent success. If you are a male who can sing and would like to join this premier award-winning choral group contact Sanjeev on 0777-346806 for more details.

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