25th anniversary souvenir

Music makes you happy!

How a column on the world music scene began and has continued for the past 25 years
By Miles Brohier

The country was on the brink of another uprising back in June 1987. I was at a loose end in the pre-digital age, with time to spare and it was a friend Prasanna Meegama who on seeing the first issue of the Sunday Times suggested I make a contribution towards music news from the international perspective.

Miles Brohier: Contributing the longest-running column in the ST

We soon contacted the Sunday Times Editor Vijitha Yapa, who gave us an appointment for June 30, a Tuesday morning at the Park Street office of the Sunday Times. The one face that I recognised on entering the newspaper office was Keith Noyahr, who was then the librarian. Our intention was to do something different, avoid the gossip and cover the facts and offer insights to the industry, the new releases before they became popular or made the artist popular.

We also observed a lacuna in our newspapers concerning the coverage of the two biggest charts from the US and UK. These two charts were largely responsible for making and breaking careers in the music industry.

Before long we were called into the room to meet Mr. Yapa who was with Lucian Rajakarunanayaka.
Mr. Yapa quizzed us both on what we can do for the paper in terms of an international music page. We spelt out our views and suggestions and instantly came the response that a whole page would be ours in the Mirror Magazine tabloid. There was pin-drop silence as we looked at each other totally lost for words. We were asked to report on July 2 to work out plans with Jenny Barthelot of the features section.

Raine Wickrematunga was the Features Editor who was also our first teacher on the job as our first columns were published under the page called Showbizz. We were given a free hand with what we published as long as it passed Raine. What we did first was help beef up the picture library. Keith helped us out assigning the late Kumara Dayawansa to copy out album covers of artists and groups who were the news makers of the day from the collection of Lucky Weeramantry who was always accommodating.

For older readers we used to occasionally publish a nostalgia chart from some years back. In the early days we had guest writers such as El Ce Em, Nakavita who contributed from Singapore, Tariq Mahushukeen and Stuart Chapman who helped us make it through.

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