Mirror Magazine


A scintillating feast of country music
"We meet so many old friends at Country Road every year," remarked a long-time supporter of the show. And indeed, there are many friends and Country Road fans who make the time to enjoy this annual concert for a worthy cause, that of the needy children of Sri Lanka.

Country Road XI was held at the Trans Asia Hotel last Sunday and true to form, provided a scintillating feast of country music. Opening the show and setting the mood for the evening was Flame, fronted by Rienzie Pereira who have been regulars at the show. Singing in smooth harmony, they had the audience savouring those classics that will for some of us never pale...Don McLean's Starry, Starry Night and Simon & Garfunkel's Mrs Robinson to name a few.

Lulled by the music, lest anyone forget the cause, comperes Neidra Williams and Jehan Bastians gave the audience some food for thought with rather disturbing statistics on children in Sri Lanka. This year, proceeds from the show, channelled as always through UNICEF, will go towards children's education, a vital need as despite the boasts of a high literacy rate, the truth of the matter is that 15 per cent of children in this country do not go to school.

UNICEF representative Ted Chaiban, while commenting that the music took him back to his childhood also stressed the need to help children, adding that he was hopeful that the next generation of Sri Lankans could grow up free of conflict.

Continuing to keep the audience enthralled, the next act was Primal Liyanage, a former Flame member, now going solo. He was soon joined by four other musicians who called themselves the Country Jam Band just for the evening.

They stayed on to back-up, the new face of the evening. Flown down especially for the show, sultry Elena Ley, the Italian-born singer had a blast, rocking and swinging through an energetic session.

The second half of the show belonged entirely to the German band Mavericks, who by now are 'old friends' of Country Road. They first performed at the show 10 years ago and have been back on six occasions since then. A highly professional outfit, led by the irrepressible Dirk, the Mavericks took the concert onto a new plane with both their music and stage presence.

A good blend of rock, folk and country with popular favourites like Rhinestone Cowboy, Coward of the County and an uproarious Elvis impersonation had the audience roaring.

Making a brief appearance with The Girl from Yesterday and receiving an enthusiastic reception were the organisers of the show, Feizal Samath and Jury Majid of the Country Music Foundation who have worked with rare dedication to make the Country Road concert possible year after year.

The Mavericks, with their genuine commitment to the cause as well as their obvious fondness for Sri Lanka, are hard to match. Wrapping up the evening, with the show's signature tune Country Road, Take Me Home, they were undoubtedly the stars of this year's concert.

Country Road was sponsored by Cargills and Emirates, with the Trans Asia Hotel being the host hotel. The media sponsors were Gold FM, Dynavision and of course, The Sunday Times.

In the name of underprivileged children
We pray for children who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those who stare at photographs from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never "counted potatoes",
who were born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who hug in a hurry and forget their lunch money.
And we pray for those who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on any dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store,
and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the car pool,
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen the dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anyone,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children who want to be carried
and for those who must,
for those whom we never give up on
and for those who don't get a second chance.

For those we smother...
and for those who will grab the hand of anybody
kind enough to offer it.
- Author unknown

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