Yathrikaya Makes Waves in the Sinhala Rock World
I went to watch Mihindu Ariyaratne’s album launch ‘Yathrikaya’ on the 12th of August at the BMICH coz I was curious about his music and I was keen to watch Chapa & Chitty perform.
One thing, the BMICH hall was practically full – that’s saying a lot – the balcony line extended downstairs till they opened the gates. The tickets were 1500 & above. I was seated downstairs and noticed the crowd being a mixture of young, old and very old. The compere started the night by announcing that this was a Rock concert, that rock is a way of life and a philosophy.
The night proceeded with performances by Mihindu – his songs were nice, diverse, some sounded like English punk rock, others heavier. His singing was nice on the ballads but pitchy on the heavier songs. Of course you saw this difference starkly the moment Indrachapa Liyanage took to the stage. I had forgotten how good this man sounds and his songs are beautiful with lyrical parts, nice guitar solos and he brought in the flavour of old school rock but in a good way. He is also very funny and this added to his personality on stage.
Chitral Somapala of course commanded the show like no other. I guess his years of experience just showed on stage as being a pro singer and entertainer. His song ‘Manusatha’ which he wrote in response to the Meethotamulla crisis showed his relevance to contemporary issues and his vocals were in top form – one of the best performances that I have heard. He did make a salient point to the audience though – he said when he was singing the audience was just staring up at him like he is some creature from another world whereas in other countries, a rock concert has audiences jumping and dancing and hogging the edge of the stage. I couldn’t help nodding in agreement – our audiences hardly respond to people and sit like carved blocks most of the time.
The balcony on the other hand – they were so alive, sang most of the songs and were super supportive. I was quite impressed by their responses and the fact that they were so into the performances.
What I loved was the credit given to the musicians, an appreciation shown by Mihindu, Chitty & Chapa. Whenever there were piano or guitar solos, the singers highlighted them and gave them their due recognition. That showed the value they placed on all players at a performance, not just the singer.
Oh and by the way, these were all original compositions by all 3 artistes. Though Mihindu did do a few covers, majority were originals and they sounded damn good to someone like me who was hearing them for the first time.
Overall, I wish most English music followers could witness this type of performance. This album launch is touring the country and judging by the Colombo audience I am sure they will have full houses in other cities too. There’s a lot we can learn from them and we should coz the following they have is nothing compared to the following of most English music performers in Colombo.