set your senses alight!
Marisa de Silva
What bands like The Rolling Stones, The Doors and
The Beatles were to the age of ‘Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll’,
Flame is to the Sri Lankan folk, and rock and roll music industry
today! Seventeen years together and still going strong, one of the
group’s original members, Naushad Rassool talks of how it
all began, their journey since then, and where they hope to go from
Having first met as members of the Merry-An-Singers
where they learnt the basics of singing and got their introduction
to the world of music, the original trio Naushad, Roshan Premasinghe
and Rienzi Pereira (then guitarist for the choir) decided to venture
out on their own, way back in 1989. Having played at the monthly
jam session Country Roads as ‘Naushad, Roshan and Rienzie’,
their first official gig as Flame was at the Mount Royal Hotel for
three months. Thereafter, they moved on to playing at the Taj Samudra
Lobby for ten years running and were the first acoustic band to
play at a hotel lobby at the time.
And now, for the grand introduction, it’s…
guitarist cum vocalist Naushad and lead guitarist cum vocalist Rienzi
(two of the founder members of Flame), the baby of the group guitarist/vocalist
Chris de Alwis, veteran drummer Aruna Siriwardena’s protégé
Niroshan de Silva, the three dimensional Ranjan Josiah on guitar/bass/vocals,
the rock element of the band guitarist/vocalist Allan Outschoorn
and the band’s newest entrant Lal de Silva on bass and vocals.
Their current seven man line-up from the fields of IT, telecom,
finance, banking and writing have been together for the last four
years (with the exception of Lal, who was initially in charge of
sound for the band), and seem to have gelled amazingly well together,
considering their rather varied career backgrounds.
Over the years, Flame has exhibited an abundance
of talent in the likes of Ikram Miskin, Siraj Saboor, Suranga Fonseka,
Lenny Vitachi, Shane De Silva, Primal Liyanage, Joe Lappen and of
course, Roshan and they still remain good friends to this day!
Apart from their forte in folk and rock and roll,
Flame has expanded their horizons to include ballads and even a
little alternate rock to their selection of varied genres. One of
the secrets to their success has been their consistency.
Even though Flame has evolved over time, their trademark traits
have remained constant. The smooth, clear sounds, the intricate
harmonies, the diverse repertoire and the uncanny ability to transform
any atmosphere into a chilled, laid-back zone have resulted in Flame
being placed up on a level entirely on their own!
Old favourites from the likes of Simon and Garfunkel,
Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), Eagles, James Taylor, The Beatles
along with a bit of Queen and Bryan Adams, Allan’s and Chris’
specialities respectively, is what keeps the diversity of the band
intact. Chris’s rendition of Bryan Adam’s “Heaven”
is a particular favourite among young audiences!
Establishing a niche for themselves in the local
music industry, they’ve created quite a name for themselves
both here and abroad. For instance, there is the overwhelming response
they got from the audiences in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad,
when they toured on the request of Lufthansa Airlines. A tour to
Calcutta too might be on the boards for the band, in the near future.
A concert together with some of the big names in the local music
industry, billed to take place sometime this year, is also on the
cards. The likelihood of a few of the band’s originals been
thrown in too, is something worth looking forward to.
If pure folk music, soothing vocals and acoustic
guitar is what you’re looking for, then your search is now
officially over. Flame is here to soothe the weary, comfort the
disheartened and calm the restless souls of our time…
|7 p.m. – 12 midnight – Wednesdays
– Heist Bar (The Continental Hotel, Colombo)
9 p.m. – 2 a.m. – Fridays – The Library (Trans
*Flame also undertakes bookings for weddings, cocktails, private