Mirror Magazine
5th March 2000

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Colombo goes wild with Maroon Town

By Laila Nasry and Ruhanie Perera

February 25 was a night to remember. The air was filled with throbbing drum beats, frenzied guitar riffs and the mad blare of the saxophone. As the music cut through the air, sitting down was out of the question. Bodies writhed, arms and legs were thrown around, heads "banged" as those present tried to keep up to the music. It was pulsating, gyrating, heady stuff and it went on and on...almost punishing those who stood up to dance.

The crowd danced like there was no tomorrow.There was no stopping now. It was pure 'mind blasting' rock music provided by Maroon Town. It was overwhelming, fascin-ating...it was oooh baby! This was it- the ultimate-balm for the restless soul.

The band Maroon Town from London was in Sri Lanka from February 25 - 29. Performing in Colombo, Galle and Kandy the band introduced a whole new variety of music to Sri Lankan rock audiences. Their music was a pot- pourri of rock, rap and reggae blended with Jamaican and eastern flavours, rightfully called "fusion music". What was new to the audience was Ska, Dubb and Breakbeat which are components of Jamaican music. Some obtained by studio technology, others a mixture of Caribbean music and rhythm and blues.

The Jamaican influence was what was most apparent about the band - starting from the band's music right down to their name. Maroon Town, originally a Jamaican town formed by runaway slaves was Deuan German's choice for the band's name. "I had a map of Jamaica in my room. I was just looking at it and there was Maroon Town just staring me in the face," says Deuan, who formed the band together with keyboardist Raja Datar. Thinking back he adds that the name was appropriate because of their tendency to "run away with their music".

The lead singer, Len Brown was a natural performer and he certainly ran away with the music. He was well supported by the lilting voice of Belinda James aka "Blue", who was agile and energetic on stage. Jim Woods also on the key boards and alto sax player Phil Chaundy were very much into creating the 'fusion' aspect of the music. Martin Carling who was the band's drummer and Michael Chois the bass guitarist were the two who enhanced the spellbinding rock music the audience loved.

The band, Maroon Town had just one objective and that was to provide their audience with a typical "Party" Friday night. And party it was with most of the crowd screaming for more. Even those not dancing were swaying to the music, which seemed to have the power to mesmerize all those who heard it. The chance to experience this kind of entertainment does not come around often, but when given the chance it was grabbed and made the most of. Having danced all night it was an energised, sweaty but all the same sated crowd that left the arena.

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