Attired in beautiful reddha and hatte creations by Lou Ching Wong, Sri Lanka’s leading female choir, Soul Sounds delighted the jury and audience alike at the World Choir Games held in Graz, Austria, with their renditions of traditional Sri Lankan folk music.
Soul Sounds won a total of three Golds in the open categories of Gospel/Spiritual, Popular Choral Music (competing with more than 25 choirs in each category) and Open Folklore (up against over 40 choirs from all over the world).
The 25 young singers sang not only during competitions, but during the entire Games in public places and squares in the ancient city of Graz, teaching other choirs and people Sri Lankan traditions in the form of music and dance.
Soul Sounds is directed by Soundarie David-Rodrigo, while Jerome L de Silva was their artistic director. Neranjan De Silva and Christopher Prins added their expertise in the form of musical accompaniment on keyboard, drums and percussion.
Soul Sounds were performing in some of the most competitive and toughest categories - the open categories, and their success is a singular achievement for the choir and Sri Lanka to win Gold medals in all the three events in which they competed.‘Soul Sounds’ previously won two silvers at the 2007 Choir Olympics in Xiamen China.
Among Soul Sounds’ many achievements is a CD they contributed to in 2005. The choir were invited to provide a choral contribution to a memorable CD done in England under the flag of the UK Disasters Emergency Committee when the tsunami struck in December 2004. Mike Read, the well-known British presenter of popular music donated a song he had written entitled ‘Grief Never Grows Old’ to the Fund and world renowned artists including Sir Cliff Richard, Russel Watson, Barry & Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, Boy George and Steve Winwood, contributed the popular music version of the song on the CD.
The other Lankan choir competing in Graz, the all-male group, ‘The Revelations’ also did Sri Lanka proud, winning two Golds and one silver medal in the Male Vocal Ensemble, Gospel Ensemble and the Popular Music Ensemble respectively, gaining champion status in the first two categories.
Soul Sounds were supported by the Sri Lanka Tourism Authority, the Deutsche Bank, the Dr. Earl De Fonseka Trust Fund, who were their principal sponsors and Suntel, Asia Capital, Dialog Telekom plc, Alpha Orient Lanka, Janashakthi Insurance, and Holcim their co-sponsors.