Creating new sounds
By Ruwanthi Herat Gunaratne
Must be a large band, I assumed on seeing a room cluttered with all types
of musical instruments. Box
guitars, drums, a congo, a violin, dozens of flutes, a thammattama, the
list is endless.
But to my amazement I am introduced only to four boys and a girl.
Who plays all the instruments? "We do," they smile. "It's not a problem,
we keep changing our instruments according to the music!"
Wondering who these talented musicians are? They are five people with
diverse interests but one major love, that of music. Their career interests
are piloting a plane, being at the computer keyboard, dabbling with figures
in a bank or just singing. However, their passion and sole priority are
to create music and do that well. Meet the Creators.
How did it all begin? One day last year, Roshan Yeheya, 19, a past student
of Isipathana College heard about a Talent Competition and together with
Ramesh Silva,18, a schoolmate roun-ded up a few friends to take part. The
result: the Creators.
Roshan's talents are with the flute, which he started playing to be
part of the school band. Ramesh, on the other hand, a member of the school's
eastern dance troupe and influenced by his father, concentrates on the
thammattama, dowla, geta beraya and other drums.
Though they were not too lucky at the Talent Contest, they found B.A.
Dinesh Prabath Perera, another "would be Creator" who "lived and breathed"
music. So together with Dinesh, another flautist, they began creating music.
"We found our own special blend of music," they say.
"It's not just a mix of only eastern and western. We use the different
instruments to create a special sound. The kind of sound that never leaves
your system." They mix the spiritual sounds of 'Danno Budunge', the excitement
of 'Suraba Valiya' and a Tamil song to create that special effect, to give
me a feel for the music.
For them sound is crucial. "First and foremost you've got to listen,
that's the important aspect. Then you've got to let it flow." While concentrating
on listening, they met 13-year-old Maria Leeyan who became the fourth member
of the band, playing the congo, drums, cowbell and thalampata. "It is quite
an impressive line up," she concedes.
The Creators are not slaves to written music. Some of their best pieces
had been put together minutes before a show in the backstage bathroom!
"The bathrooms have mirrors, so we know beforehand how we look and whatever
sound we make starts to echo. Then we know exactly what we sound like too,
that's really important! But we can't do that anymore since we've got a
girl in the group now!" they laugh.
At this year's Talent Search 2001, organized by the Interact Club of
Royal College and St. Bridget's Convent, the Creators were invited as guest
performers. While preparing for their act they met yet another 'would be'
Creator, Harsha Prabath Perera, 18, a student of Thurstan College whose
skills extend to the guitar, violin, saxophone, flute and piano.
Each group act is followed by a solo to give time for the others to
change their instruments. "We've also discovered a new instrument - the
clap." Did I hear wrong? "No, we just clap to a tune, with Harsha accompanying
us either on guitar or violin. It's a lovely and decidedly novel sound."
What do their parents think of this new hobby, for which they gather
at the home of their manager, Dinesh Soysa in Mount Lavinia, for practices?
"They are not altogether pleased, but they do say that as long as we continue
our schoolwork they won't pressurize us." They also show their parents
the souvenirs they collect after each performance "as proof" of what they've
been upto the previous night.
According to Dinesh his parents mellow considerably once they see 'The
Creators' in bold print on the programme.
What of the future? "We all want to make something out of our lives,
but we also want to continue with the band," they say.
The Creators hope to launch a CD in the near future.
Throughout our chat there had been toe-tapping and clapping, with Harsha
strumming the guitar earnestly. Suddenly he sits up, yelling excitedly,
"What about a tune for this?" and the others get to their instruments quickly.
I say my goodbyes, leaving them in their world of music.