The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

A show that defies description – so call it what you want

A unique choral production by Peshali Yapa will showcase music from the 1920s and beyond

Aptly titled ‘Call it What You Want’, this- the new choral production directed by Peshali Yapa and her students- is a musical venture that appears to embrace a world of possibilities. Taking the stage on July 28 and 29, the performance follows the theme of love and friendship, narrating a story spanning the several nuances of friendship through nothing more than the lyrics of the songs they sing.

Pic by Susantha Liyanawathe

Seventy-two singers switch from genre to genre with almost effortless ease in a performance which they feel defies description.
When a choral concert sets out to present music from the 1920’s and beyond; and its theme – one which cannot be truly defined, it comes as no surprise that its title would raise a few eyebrows.

“This show is completely different to anything any of us have done before,” comments Maheshika Perera (20), who has sung with Peshali since 2008. “Aside from the eras we are familiar with, we have also had to do a lot of work in replicating the performance styles of the 60’s and 70’s; and that has been a very interesting process. Peshali recalls the past four months, during which from the basic seed of an idea, ‘Call It What You Want’ began to take shape. “There was the challenge of picking the right songs- ones that are light, catchy and appeal to a diverse audience; and songs which when put together in a certain progression, would help tell a story,” she says. With a week left before the show opens, Peshali and her students are confident that they have achieved something unique.

“We have all put in so much of ourselves into this production over the past few months, and every moment has prompted some great memories,” says Dilshani Premachandra (23). “Even the occasional stressful moments have been fun.

For these performers, the appeal of what they sing lies in the fact that not only does every song have a story of how it came about; but also narrates its own story-and sometimes stories- to listeners. The challenge is to succeed in telling the story: a challenge posed to them by Peshali. “One of the great things about being directed by Peshali,” comments Milinda Perera (26) “is that from the beginning, she has a complete idea of what she wants the production to look, feel and sound like, and draws every member of the cast in, to put in their own ideas and suggestions. I think all of us have made significant progress under Peshali’s direction; and there is a lot of fun in learning new music and seeing how each member of the cast reacts to the music differently.”

The cast is made up of pupils from the junior choir, The Piccolinis and the senior choir, Coro Cant Amici. They are of different ages ranging from 6 to 39 years . Some are still at school, others at university or working but all have a shared love of music and song.
They will be accompanied by Asitha Tennekoon, Shevon Rajasekara, Christopher Prins and Tilanka Jayamanne. Tickets for the show will be available at the LionelWendt

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