If music be the food of love, an evening with The Revelations can be truly sating. The audience at the Lionel Wendt on the evening of July 5 continued to ask for more although, after two hours of passionate, energetic and angelically harmonious singing, the 11 young men needed a break.
With a completely new repertoire which was both forthcoming and entertaining given the dance moves (a tad under rehearsed but nevertheless very endearing), introduced by Krishan Jayaratnam, who also incidentally penned the lyrics for “Trip it” and “Crazy World,” which were two of the four originals performed by The Revelations that evening, this male choral group never fails to impress.
Beginning with the national anthem which they sang with fitting reverence and which I firmly believe should be recorded and used for Sri Lanka’s public functions, the concert began with “Music is the Key” (soloist Charith Peris) sung in their signature a’capella with some perfect choreography, faultless sound under Gerry Jayasinghe’s expertise and picture perfect lighting under the watchful eye of Gihan and Rohan Jayatillake which continued through the concert’s entirety.
Relying mainly on their hallmark a’capella capabilities for almost the entire first half, the multi-award winning Revelations, which is currently ranked sixth among male choral groups in the world and the only Asian group to be among the top ten, tackled everything from their old staple “Penny Lane” to the newer “For the Longest Time” by Billy Joel (soloist Rohan de Lanerolle).
But what was probably the best song of the evening from an arrangement and execution viewpoint had to be the uncanny version of the age old “My Grandfather’s Clock.” Sung a’capella, the ten part arrangement from start to finish was an assured goose bump creator, perfectly blending the varying ticks of the clocks with the life of the old man, which suitably ended with a challenging use of semitones and a final “tick tock.” This was followed by “Imagine” with Srimanthaka Senanayake doing absolute justice to this John Lennon classic and Willie Godridge bringing the house down with a raucous interpretation of “Older Women Know How.”
I awaited the beginning of the second half with trepidation. Almost 100 voices from various choirs were to come together for Sri Lanka, “We Can Fly,” penned by Afdhel Aziz and Sanjeev (the latter also composed the music). These large groups, of varying ages, when brought together, often turn the concert into a mediocre school performance and I dreaded the thought of a very professionally put together event becoming one such. With the curtains opening, I held my breath and was pleasantly surprised. While the arrangement was kept to the basics, the song was beautifully executed to flawless perfection. There was not a note out of place and the dedication which the singers had put into practice was evident. It brought back memories of Willie and Christo Godridge’s late father - Lylie’s spectacular ‘Thousand Voice Choir’ offerings.
Negro spirituals and one of their older favourites “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” with Ishan, Charith, Sanjeev and Rohan saw the group get further into their music. Charith, accompanied a’capella did yet another of the Group’s old favourites, “Brown Eyed Girl” while Sanjeev’s exciting Diamonds on the “Soles of her Shoes” (with some subtle accompaniment by Christo) led in interestingly with the first line of Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are Forever” and faded at the end in perfect sync (as always). Christo Prins as always stepped in to add some oomph to Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” which Rohan and Charith once again did a great job with. The Sunday Times was the print media sponsor for the performances.
While the group also has the two new additions of bass voice Sanoj de Mel and the baritone of Hiran Saram for the full bodied gusto we observed that day, The Revelations also comprises the experienced voices of Enaksha Fernando and Asanka Perera, who were a part of the World Choir Olympics winning ensemble.
The Sunday Times was the print media sponsor for the performance.