Unleashing their talent

By Megara Tegal and Adilah Ismail

The fresh young talent of Sri Lanka are ready to take the stage and battle it out for the number one spot at the grand finale of TNL Onstage 2009.

The event will feature a special performance by Civilization One as well as guest performances by local bands Nemesis and The Rebels. This year, the show promises to dish out the best of local talent.
So let’s meet the bands that have made it to the grand finals of TNL Onstage:


The Swiss heavy metal band Civilization One will be one of the main attractions at TNL Onstage. We caught up with it's front man the Lankan legend Chitral Somapala (better known as Chity), via email.

You’ve achieved something most local artistes dream of. What would you say were the key factors that got you where you are?

Chitral Somapala

“I was very lucky to have developed my music skills at a very young age. I was 17 when I joined Dilip Gabadamudalige’s SHOCK. He made his own songs, and so I learned how to compose my own bass lines and to maintain a solid musicianship with discipline to support a song. 1986 I left to Switzerland with Rendezvous and was with Friends for 8 years, but my dream was of fronting a hard rock/ heavy metal formation as lead vocalist with my own songs.

Eventually well known musicians offered to write songs and asked me to record with them under the hands of great producers. Where music is concerned it’s my soul and I worked very hard to get to this point and it’s a never ending road. I’m happy with what I do and I want to help the Sri Lankan Hard Rock/ Metal Scene in future.”

You’ve been compared to rock legends such as Ronnie Dio and Klaus Meine. What are your thoughts on that?

Laughing he says, “Yes, it could be because I’ve been listening to these two legends all my life and I still do. I bet we are all influenced by some kind of legend. So all I’ve got to say after years of performing, recording and writing is that I’ve developed my own style.”

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

“I will be still doing Rock ‘n’ Roll,” he says with a smile.

What are your thoughts regarding the rock music industry in Sri Lanka at the moment?

“All I’ve got to say is I was really surprised how things have developed nowadays in Sri Lanka. There is loads of talent and all they need is experience. To gain more experience we should support them without being jealous, condemning and separating from each other. And most of all is respect!” he says, adding “but I’m sure within the next years it will gain more attention from the people.”

Critics argue that the music industry (as a whole) has become too commercialized. As a musician, what do you feel about this?

“I don’t have any issue being commercial,” he says while laughing. “I listen to all sorts of music - if it’s done with class I appreciate it. It doesn’t have to be Rock/ Hard Rock or Metal. All kinds of music have an identity and it’s a healing tool for human beings. All I can say is everyone in this world has a right to listen to what they want! Music is one language, and it speaks in different dialects.”

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