ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 36

Pradeep: Adding new colours to his music

By Ayesha Inoon

He is known for the unusual beauty of his performances – melodies which have redefined the identity of sitar music, taking it to heights that were previously unknown in the field. Experimenting with different dimensions, from modern jazz to local folk tunes, Pradeep Ratnayake has created a class of music that is all his own – and that has held audiences spellbound both here and abroad.

His concerts have been held in distinguished venues worldwide, such as the Asia Society in New York, the Kennedy Center at Washington DC, the Walt Disney Theatre and The Universal Studios in Los Angeles, the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva and the Vienna Musikverein in Austria.

“Day by day I try to do something different – to give new colours to my music,” says Pradeep, explaining how he infuses various techniques and elements of music to create compositions that are completely original. “At the same time you have to know the limits of the instrument you are playing,” he adds.

Music has surrounded his life from his earliest memories. Seeing his son’s gift for playing on his toy esraj, Pradeep’s father bought him his first sitar at the age of six. When he performed for Ravi Shankar at the age of ten, when the veteran musician visited Sri Lanka, Ravi Shankar immediately wanted to take Pradeep back with him to be trained in India. However, his father did not wish to send his only son away at such an early age.

Nevertheless, Pradeep is today a graduate of India’s prestigious school of music, Shanthi Nikethan, where his record for the highest marks in the Sitar degree remains unchallenged.

In the tenth Anniversary Concert of his Pradeepanjalee series, Pradeep is to present compositions that feature mostly ‘light’ music, combinations of instruments such as the sitar, saxophone and acoustic guitar. He hopes to give new interpretations of renowned pieces such as ‘Kuveni’.

Many musicians such as Ravibandhu Vidyapati, Wijeratne Ranatunge, Alston Joachim and Shiraz Noor Amith, who have been performing with him for several years, will also be part of the performance.

The concert is to be held on February 11 at the Lionel Wendt Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets for the show are now available at the Lionel Wendt.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.