Three boys, four girls, the only thing they really have in common is the fact that they are all studying medicine at the University of Jayawardenapura. That, and their love for music.
When Gananath Dassanayake was asked to get some medical students together and present a musical item for a university function, little did he know that this request would take him on a musical journey. He got some musical friends of his together, and the seven-piece group comprising Nimangee Mithraratne, Ayanthi Perera, Jayampathy Amarasekara, Himasha de Silva, Maheesha Kulasinghe, Kavya Kankanamge and himself became a regular number at University functions.
The group recognised their talent, and the fact that they blended together pretty well, and decided to keep practising regularly whether they had a performance coming up or not. "The demand for our presence at university functions became greater," says Gananath "but somehow we wanted something more." And so they decided to get professional about what they loved doing. Thus, Vocal Chords was born.
The inaugural performance by Vocal Chords will be held on June 13 from 6.30 pm onwards at the Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management.
For their first show, the group have put together a number of pop songs, arranged by their own Ayanthi Perera for the seven voices. The group is looking to integrate choral singing into pop music. The one-and-a-half hour programme consists of a variety of songs from different genres and periods, including some pop numbers, Sinhala songs and even something of J. S. Bach.
The most remarkable thing about the group is the clarity of their voices. None of the singers have had formal voice training but their overall performance is very relaxed, and they evidently love what they are doing, singing most of the time with their eyes closed.
Gananath and Nimangee, one winner and the other semi-finalist at TNL Onstage 2005, handle their solos ("In The Still of The Night" – a capella, and "Eternal Flame" respectively) in a very relaxed fashion, while Ayanthi takes control of the overall sound of the group with her powerful delivery in Seal's "Kiss From a Rose.” Ayanthi's arrangements bring to mind the sounds of Seal and Simon and Garfunkel, making the listening experience one of a kind.
The group will be accompanied by Senaka Pereire (from Anno Domini) on drums, Suraj Goonewardena (former Anno Domini) on bass, Ashane Pereira on keyboards and Amila Abayasekara on cello.
Proceeds from the sale of tickets, priced at Rs.250, will be donated to charity, and the group hope to continue this worthy cause by making this an annual event.
For tickets call Gananath on 0716806917.