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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!