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15th April 2001
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Shaping Futures

Catch the stars at 'Circle of Life', a concert for needy children.

More than twenty artistes will join hands on April 28 at the BMICH for "Circle of Life", a charity concert dedicated to needy children. Listed to perform on the 28th are the Workshop Players, Independent Square, Kreb's Cycle, Stigmata, Dejavu, Druvi, Serela, Dilip, Dillain & Dellai, Old Joes Chorale, Thilan, Shalika, Dushyanth, Natasha, Malith, Chadwick, Antonio's Dance Circle, El Latino's, Bathiya & Santhush and Nine Lives who will be making their debut public performance. Zodiac will be the back up band.

'Circle of Life' is a project of the Synergy School of Marketing, an institute accredited to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK. Synergy received an overwhelming response when it was launched in 1999 for its innovative style of imparting knowledge. True to its vision of "Shaping Futures" Circle of Life is its contribution towards the less fortunate to help them shape their futures.

"There are thousands of children who have no one to call their own and no hope for the future. The opportunities of life seem to elude them as they have no means and guidance to enchance their knowledge and skills, which make their talents like buried treasure," commented Michael Ranasinghe, a Director and Lecturer of Synergy and the man behind Circle of Life.

"I was inspired by the work my mother does for these children and decided that we should contribute something towards society, children in particular and coined the name "Circle of Life" last December. I put this idea to the students who took it up with great enthusiasm. They did not, at any stage opt for the easy way of just having a Synergy day out or party but in one voice stated that we should do something of value to their less fortunate brothers and sisters. Therefore this is their project which should continue every year."

Michael who is producing this event described the efforts of the students as "simply brilliant".

'Circle of Life 2001' will coincide with the launch of a fund to be utilised for the education and skills development of children. Every year a children's home would be selected and those who have excelled or have the potential to, would be selected and their needs met out of the fund to further their education or skills in different fields.

"We cannot afford to discontinue the assistance granted to the child midway and therefore would have to continue the assistance until they complete whatever course or examination they have commenced. To ensure that the fund is managed effectively there will be a board of trustees consisting Mrs. Rosy Senanayake, Mr.Stanley Gunawardane (retired Supreme Court Judge) and Mr. Ravichandran Banuthevan (Director/General Manager Directories Lanka PVT Limited)."

"I had no second thought when Michael invited me to serve on this trust fund as I knew the cause was noble as it includes the future of this country. Being a lecturer myself in Synergy I know the value students give to gaining knowledge and how many out there are deprived of this opportunity. I am glad 'Circle of Life' is aimed at helping a child to shape his future, commented Mr. Ravichandran a member of the board of trustees. 

"Having been in the legal profession I know for a fact that there is much to be done towards children in this country who are subject to various forms of abuse. They not only need to be loved but also guided and provided with the opportunity to stand on their own in this world and towards this end this project to be launched with this event is commendable", said retired Supreme Court Judge Stanley Gunawardane.

"Working towards a cause of this nature has indeed been an experience to all of us as we are driven by the passion we have to even in a small way make this a better place for our brothers and sisters out there," commented the students and members of the production team of Circle of Life.

"Circle of Life 2001 will be an evening for every one as it will include a variety of young talent," said Dilip Seneviratne and Druvi De Silva, the co-producers of music for the event. Adds Druvi "what would make it an evening with a difference is the fact that the entertainment combines music, drama and dance. The variety of music would range from soul, rhythm and blues, rock, ballads - even country and western". 

"I was simply overwhelmed by the response we received from the artistes who agreed to give everything for this cause. It will certainly be an evening to remember," added Michael.

Debug Computer Peripherals, TNL, Lite 89.2, YA TV and The Sunday Times have associated themselves with Synergy towards this worthy cause. Tickets can be purchased or reserved at Synergy School of Marketing (21, Aloe Avenue, Colombo 3. Tel: 564464/5) TNL or at Deli market . 

Rockin' great

A refreshing treat to see head-banging, fist-pumping rockers writes Shanaka Amarasinghe.

The Rock Café lived up to its name on Friday March 30, when they featured the youngest rock band in Colombo: Stigmata. They insist that they came up with the name well before the movie, and we see no reason to disbelieve them, as they banished many stigmas associated with rock music showing that it is an auditory experience quite contrary to what it is accused of being by the critics - noise. Not to say that noise was absent from their repertoire. 

It was a pleasant surprise to see the Basement flooded with genuine rock fans and even more of a pleasure to hear genuine rock music. Stigmata displays a wealth of talent and adventurism, coupled with a sincere love for their music. They have all the ingredients to make them a top rung band. But they occupy a niche where commercial success may be hard to come by. But even this may not be too far off, if the reaction at the Rock Café was anything to go by. Head-banging, fist-pumping rockers are a rarity in Sri Lankan audiences and it was refreshing to see them at the Basement en masse.

The band members are all under 20 years of age. Despite this, they show an affiliation to music one would not expect to see in such a youthful group of musicians. They are influenced by bands such 'Korn', 'Iron Maiden', 'The Rolling Stones' and most enjoyably, 'The Doors'. Considering that most of them were not even born when Jim Morrison and Jimmy Page were doing their thing, it is noteworthy that Stigmata is aware of the roots of their music. 

But the band's strongest point is original music. In a musical environment where very few bands write their own music, their penchant for originality is to be commended. Two of their original tracks are already on air on TNL Radio namely, 'She Saved Me' and 'Fear', both an example of the alternative side to their music, as heavy metal is not particularly radio friendly. 

On Friday, Stigmata showed a diversity sadly lacking in even many successful bands today. They ranged from Live's "Lightning Crashes", to "Paint it Black" by the Stones, Papa Roach's classic "Last Resort" and "Loser" by 3 Doors Down, proving they could perform any genre of rock. The original tracks featured that night included "Fear", "She Saved Me", "Redemption", "Extinction" and the brand new "Voices".

On the down side, Suresh de Silva who fronts the band, although blessed with a made-for-rock voice, must work on his diction. The band perhaps also sports one too many guitarists. Andrew Obeysekera on lead and Tenny on rhythm are excellent for their age and will doubtless get 'tighter' as they play more together. Anik Jayasekera, at 17, was a revelation on the drums, with his intro to Paint it Black being most memorable. Shehan Gray on bass needs a little more experience as the bass guitar is fundamental to the sound of any good rock band. 

In addition to the current singles receiving airplay, their next track "Voices" will be aired soon. Their debut album, which is currently a work in progress at the studios is expected later this year. Hopefully, it will also include what they called 'metal baila' heard for the first time on Friday. Kudos to Stigmata for flying the pennant for good original rock music. They will no doubt mature with time and breathe a little more life into the local rock scene. 


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