Platters: The members may change, but the music goes on!

On of the most hard working groups in the world, the Platters have performed in almost every country on the planet where Western music is played - a proud achievement not many bands can boast of. And soon, they will be adding Sri Lanka to their illustrious resume!

In fact, the Platters are also among the oldest of the harmony quartets around, considering the group was established way back in 1953. However, none of the quartet heading out to Colombo in November is a member of that original outfit!

Like their repertoire, which is adjusted periodically to suit the times and the venues they're playing in, the Platters have undergone changes to their personnel over the years. But there has been no change in style or quality!

Lead singer Monroe Powell, who has been longest with the Platters, is not just a singer. In fact, as a young man, he aspired to become an Opera singer. With lofty dreams of one day becoming another Mario Lanza, he underwent intense training under qualified tutors.

He could have but the lustre and the glamour of being able to sing in front of interactive audiences, changed all that. That was the end of that dream of a career in the world of classical music.
And, Powell didn't start with the Platters, either.

There was a group called The Dominoes back in the mid-1950s. It was where Powell was headed to. And he seemed to be having time with the success and the adulation of the crowds.

"I remember very vividly how one night we had a certain visitor who turned heads as he walked in. I didn't know the guy but, apparently, the others knew him. He was kinda a good looking bloke, too.

“So I sang O Solo Mio for him in Italian. Man, he was impressed and responded with a standing ovation," said Powell, identifying the "impressive visitor" as a very young Elvis Presley!

"I had no idea at the time who this guy was, but somehow that name stuck in my mind and my eyes started lighting up later as I watched that young lad hit the charts the way he did!” confessed Powell in a recent interview!

A vacancy in another legendary group, the Ink Spots, took Powell away from the Dominoes. But he was to last just about a year with the Ink Spots. For, watching him closely was Bucks Ram, the producer and manager of the Platters. That was in 1970, the rest, as they say in the classic, is history!

Today, Powell holds the record as the longest serving member of the Platters. Almost 40 years! The other members of the foursome - Don Goude, Kenni Jay and Genevieve Dew - are relatively new.

A total of 16 Grammys and 120 million album sales are not a heritage to be looked down on. But the Platters, as you see them today, don't show any change whatsoever!

Regular international shows on the cards

The Platters concert in Colombo is organised by Mantra Moods run by Haadia Galely. Ms Galely has joined hands with Gold FM, and Water's Edge, along with two leading hotels, Cinnamon Lakeside and the Colombo Hilton, in a collaboration which virtually guarantees the shows will be well within the reach of the average concert goer in Sri Lanka.

Raynor Silva, head of Gold FM, told the Sunday Times he was highly pleased with the concept and wanted to be part of this new grouping because it ensured quality international shows at regular intervals and would please all sections of the market.

For his part, Thusith Senadeera, General Manager of Water's Edge, did not waste any time in agreeing to the proposal. "I jumped at it because it was a win-win situation for all concerned", he said.

While the Sunday Times is the official Print Media Sponsor for the Platters concert, Gold FM shares the electronic media sponsor mantle with ART TV.

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