TV Times

New Year in Taj style
Taj Samudra in Colombo welcomed the Year 2003 with style.

The center of attraction was the Samudra Ballroom with the band DreamTeam setting the tempo for all to dance their cares away to dawn 2003.

There was a sinful spread of seafood, which was served on tables made out of ice, which was a special attraction for guests. An exotic Egyptian dance and air tickets and prizes galore were given away.

The North Lawn had the much-acclaimed with band Friends giving a mind-blowing performance. The band kept the crowd on the floor till the wee hours of the morning. Airline tickets and many prizes were given away at the Lawn too.
The South Lawn of the hotel had something unique in the form of an Indian Night, with a unique Indian Atmosphere. Food from all parts of India and an Indian DJ. An all-lndian event with prizes and giveaways.

Ports, the coffee shop was sold out with a Grand International Dinner Buffet from around the World and a DJ was on the move.

According to the hotel's spokesman, all other outlets of the hotel were packed to capacity including the Mix Bar. Golden Dragon, the Chinese restaurant and ofcourse the much acclaimed Steak & Grill House.

The hotel Lobby was full of people who ushered in the New Year 2003 in great style at the Taj. At midnight there was a fireworks display by the hotel.

Charles : 'A Candle in the Wind'
In contrast to most in the entertainment field, the singer-song writer Anton Charles Thomas and his 'Daham Pahana' group have come forward to be like a candle to society. As they let go of their desire for personal gain or glory they will be a light to others.

Charles who came from a business family once sang at hotels and pop shows. But somewhere down the line something went wrong and he ended up in a mess and a mud-hole.

It was at this point that Charles experienced something like what happened to St. Paul on the road to Damascus. The experience may not have been as dramatic as Paul's but for Charles also everything changed - his attitudes, vision and goals in life underwent a turnaround and transformation.

After getting a solid spiritual foundation as a lay brother in the Kithudana Pubuduwa movement Charles later was called by the Lord to lead a Jesus liberation movement mainly for the young people of Sri Lanka.

After several more years of training, prayer and preparation, Charles and his Daham Pahana community in August last year, launched a countr-ywide mission through music and song to transform people from selfishness to selflessness, from hatred to love and from war to peace.

The August show at the BMICH was like a Jordan Baptism for them. Every month after that Charles and the Daham Pahana community went to different areas with their music and song to lead people from a life of darkness and double dealing to light truth and inner liberation.

A high point of his mission took place recently when Charles and Daham Pahana community held a musical crusade for peace at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium. The packed congregation of more than 5000 included the veteran Bishop of Chilaw, hundreds of priests and nuns, Speaker Joseph Michael Perera, Minister John Amaratunga, several MPs and members of Provincial Councils. Rukantha Gunatilleke, Chandralekha and other top entertainers joined Charles and the Daham pahana group for four hours of praise and worship through music and song.

The sarong clad Charles may not have educational or theological degrees. But with and through the power of a personal relationship with Jesus and an anointing of the Holy Spirit the young Charles preached a challenging liberative message for about one hour as the Bishop and the congregation listened awe struck by the power of God flowing from a simple village boy.

Quoting a well known Gospel story - the landmark encounter between Jesus and the woman from marginalized and deprived cast - Charles showed how the Lord was so humble that He was ready to learn an important lesson even from a woman who had been cast out from society. From this Charles underlined the need for all people to be ready to learn from the lives and virtues of others however small they may be considered in society. The theme for all was " Lord teach me how to learn from others," in contrast to our distorted human nature which often drags us to teach others instead of learning from them.

A highlight of the musical crusade was the testimony given by Prof. Carlo Fonseka, the eminent dean of the faculty of medicine. He spoke of the veteran musician Stanley Peiris and the last show for Stanley in September. At that show Charles had written and sung on behalf of the cancer stricken Stanley a song of faith that deeply touched the life of Prof. Carlo.

The liberative song of faith was titled "Jesuni, mata oba viswasai, Oba mage Jeevithayai" It was a dying man making a proclamation of faith in Jesus as his life and his every breath. Stanley virtually died with that song of faith. But it gave new life to thousands including the eminent medical professor.

Throughout the show Charles stressed that his role in the mission was like that of John the Baptist - to decrease and die so that Jesus Christ might increase. Charles spoke of the imagery of a mason constructing a sky scraper. As the building grows bigger and taller the mason looks smaller and gradually fades away. To give light to others a candle must die to the self. Charles Thomas was clearly doing it and that is why he shines as one of the brightest stars as he sings the songs of liberation for Jesus.- Louis Benedict

Indian Orange Street at Lankan Rock Festival
By Sanath Weerasuriya
Orange Street' the winner of last year's Indian Rock Festival will be featured at 'The Levis Great Sri Lankan Rock 2003' to be held in Colombo at the Viharamahadevi open air theatre on February 8.

This is the event focused on providing a platform that would not only encourage Sri Lankan artistes to perform in India, and vice versa.

All bands who have original songs are eligible to enter this competition and they should submit their demo tapes before January 31. The selected five bands will be on stage, with 'Orange Street' at 'Great Sri Lankan Rock Festival' on February 8

The winner of this contest will be flown to India to take part in 'Levis Great Indian Rock Festival 2003' in Delhi on February 22 and 23

Orange Street was formed by Anirban Chakraborty and Saibal Basu in 1994. Both of them had just fallen out of their respective local bands in Delhi at that time. Saibal was already an acclaimed guitar player both in the live and studio circuit while Anirban was gaining popularity in the college circuit as a frontman and a singer at the same time.

They met through common friends and got to know each other better as they found a common ground in music. Together they decided to write music and form a band, the aim was to play their own songs. This was rare at the time when the industry was dominated by artistes and bands doing covers.

Auditioning a few drummers they finally found the perfect sound in Ashwani Verma's playing at a Delhi University College concert.

Bass players were few and so they decided to take on Neel who was from the same college band as Anirban.

The band in place, they started writing their own music for the next six months before taking on the road for the live circuit. Fortunately it took them just a year to make a strong statement about doing original music as the first break came with their debut release of the single "Over'n Under" in the first Great Indian Rock compilation album. It was featured as the 'first' track on the album which gained immense popularity and word spread like wildfire within musicians all over the country for their originality and skilful song-writing techhique.

By September 1995, Orange Street had made a mark in the Indian Rock music circuit forever, the result of which is evident till todate. Every performance of Orange Street has the audience demanding for "Over'n Under" even today.

They became the only band to be featured six times in the Great Indian Rock compilation album projects. Accordingly, their songs like 'Saint Sinner' (1996), 'Candywalk' (1997), and 'Sneak Preview' (1998) went onto becoming huge hits among their fans and fellow musicians. The Orange Street repertoire was getting widely acclaimed and bigger with every release and performance.

Robin saga at SLBC
Lankan born Australian entertainer Robin Foenander was in Sri Lanka for a very short visit recently.

Robin has been on the air already in the 'Saturday Club' of the Commercial Service of the SLBC. He will be featured on Rupavahini soon.

During his stay in Sri Lanka Robin was featured at Mahaweli Reach Hotel, Kandy, Confifi Group Hotels in Beruwala, Keells Group Hotels in Bentota and at Colombo Hilton.

The picture shows Harold Fernando of the SLBC presenting his two disc awards to Rob for his number one hits on SLBC.

Rob's 'Forever Together' and 'Spend my life with you' hit the top in SLBC charts.
Meanwhile Gary Ellis, his singing ally will be in Sri Lanka for a series of performances in April

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