A feast for fans from Rukshan

By Dhananjani Silva, Pic by Sanka Vidanagama

Back home from the US, talented musician Rukshan Perera, renowned for his renditions of jazz greats, extraordinary scatting, musical arrangements, compositions and creative harmonies, has a feast of music in store for fans.

Rukshan Perera’s Live In Concert will no doubt be a delightful experience for music lovers when he takes the stage on January 9 at the Lionel Wendt from 7 p.m. onwards. There will be a little bit of everything from jazz to pop and much more.

Amidst preparations for his upcoming concert, Rukshan who sat down with the Sunday Times for an interview said a variety of music including a mix of Pop, Jazz, Acapella, presented in typical Rukshan, style has been lined up for the show.

The best of Rukshan will emerge in his jazz performances when he indulges in a lot of scatting (playing and humming the note at the same time).

His famous ‘harmony whistle’ will also be a highlight of the concert. Whistling the melody and the harmony together is a rare talent that Rukshan possesses for which his name has even been proposed for the Guinness Book of World Records by his fans.

Rukshan will be joined by Voice Print and Triloka to unfold what he calls a complex arrangement of musical instrumentation and vocals. This composition, a Rhapsody using Sri-Lankan Nursery Rhymes performed on stage for the very first time will be a highlight of the show.

Natasha Rathnayake and the De Lanerolle Brothers will also perform at the concert as guest artists.
The concert slated to last about one and half hours will also feature ‘You Are The World’, the unique tribute to Michael Jackson, that Rukshan, his brother Melantha and their children recorded from all parts of the world and which was subsequently presented to Jermaine Jackson.

Unfolding the story behind the composition of this particular song, Rukshan says it was recorded as a tribute to MJ following his death. “I wanted it to be a family song but I was in Los Angeles when MJ died. My son was in New York and daughter in Bangladesh.

My brother’s family was in Sri Lanka. So I wrote the song and asked them to sing their specific lines in their localities. Finally I put it together in Los Angeles,” he says. Rukshan’s CD “Coming Home To You” will also be launched at the concert. He said the title of the CD suggested his return to his motherland from the US after 30 years.

Hailing from a family with a musical background, his mother being the music teacher of Princess of Wales College Moratuwa plus a Church Organist for 50 years, Rukshan’s exposure began at childhood. Having received his first piano music lesson from his mother at the age of five years, he gradually developed a passion for guitar music. At the age of 10 he formed his own band with his cousins which paved the way for them to play at Radio Ceylon.

Rukshan was just 14 years old when he was called by the well known pop group of yesteryear Golden Chimes to play lead guitar and subsequently played keyboard for Super Golden Chimes. Rukshan has also performed for Esquire Set and Serendib touring Asia and Europe. In 1981, Rukshan gave up music to go to the US to pursue his Degree in Information Systems and later an MBA. However, his passion for music never died and while in the US, Rukshan was involved in the College jazz band as lead guitarist. He also studied Jazz under the famous Milt Hinton and performed at a number of jazz and pop concerts in the States and Canada.

Back home for good, Rukshan feels it’s the time to enjoy Sri Lanka and a good time to do something for thecountry, his fans in particular. His maiden Live in Concert is the first step in that direction, adds a cheerful Rukshan.

Tickets priced at Rs. 1500, Rs.1000 and Rs.500 are available at the Lionel Wendt, Commons and Park Street Mews. The proceeds of the concerts will be channelled to Samutthana, an established charity for children and adults.

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