TV Times

Nanada Malani’s ‘Shrawana Aradhana’ in Canada
By Shani Hanwella In Toronto, Canada
The opportunities available to watch a first class Sinhala musical performance outside of Sri Lanka are few and far between. We at Toronto were fortunate enough to experience one such rare and outstanding performance staged in town recently.

The queen of classical and contemporary Sinhala music, the most talented and much loved, Visharada Nanda Malini staged her extravagant musical meditation "Shrawana Aradhana" last weekend at the Don Bosco College Auditorium in aid of a fund raising project for the Toronto West End Buddhist Centre. A well organized show, "Shrawana Aradhana" attracted a large gathering of Sinhala music lovers in and around the city.

One could almost feel the excitement and anticipation in the audience just before the show began. I, for one, had nearly forgotten the feeling of watching a live performance of Nanda Malini. It had been well over a decade at least since I watched any of her stage shows, even though I lived in Sri Lanka for the most part.

Nothing could prepare me for last weekend's performance. It was a treat in itself to see my favorite Sinhala music idol in person in Toronto, my chosen home town. Clad in white attire as always, Nanda emerged between the separating screens, her face lit with a beautiful smile, like a ray of sunlight.
For 3 hours from then, the entire audience was spellbound by her powerful yet soothing voice that has rocked all Sri Lankans for many decades.

The air was filled with thousands of memories and emotions surfaced from deep within the hearts of those who were present. With each and every song that Nanda Malini sang that evening, I have no doubt that most of us were taken back to our lives in Sri Lanka and to our personal experiences at different times.

Nanda Malini is unique in many ways. Undoubtedly she is gifted with the most beautiful voice. Her choice of lyrics depicts many real life situations, and most intricate human relationships and emotions that stem out of those. Of particular interest is how most of her songs vividly express the injustice, misfortune and sadness experienced by Sri Lankan women who often keep their woes to themselves and suffer in silence.

Many of Nanda's popular songs such as "Pipunu Male Ruwa…" "Sudu Hamine" and "Kada Mandiye.." attest to her endless efforts to expose the hearts of women. Yet another song, "Manda Nawa Karanawa….", is a humorous and sensitive account of a young woman's experience of loneliness.

Music director, Rohana Weerasinghe, joined Nanda Malini in duets and also sang one of his own popular songs "Nethi Beri Mohothaka…". A few other extremely talented artists, both new and veteran, rounded out the musical ensemble for the evening. It was indeed an evening of enchantment and an experience to remember for many days to come!


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