Misty: melodic and refreshing | Daily News

Misty: melodic and refreshing

“Empty spaces what are we living for

Abandon places I guess we know the score

On and on does anybody know what we are looking for

The show must go on..........”

Freddie Mercury’s hit is a now a firm favourite with Rajitha Rupasinghe, the logic contained in the lyrics steers him to give more of himself to the audience. In short, whatever the circumstances, to Rajitha “the show must go on” and go on it has for him and his band Misty for more than 22 years now. That the band has gained immense popularity cannot be doubted and with the passage of time their staying power will never dim. It was not that easy to catch Rajitha for a conversation about himself, his music and his band Misty, but we managed it. The current band comprises Rajitha on vocals, Udaya Welikala- keyboards/vocals, Sudath Munaweera-guitar/vocals, Sanjeeva Hettige-bass/vocals, Dennis Alwis-drums and the female vocalist Dinu Lakmali.

It’s been a wait to get back on track but you must have been happy to perform at Movenpick recently. What did you and your band members feel about it?

“Unfortunately the weather Gods were not in the right mood for a celebration and thus the atmosphere was not there. Actually before the pandemic we were playing weekly at the Kingsbury but with the Easter bombing our weekly playing stopped. But we created our own event. We collaborated with CR&FC, Havelocks Club, SSC, Magarita Blue and performed once a month at these venues and we had a good turnout. We could not concentrate on weekly assignments because we performed Corporate events, Sing-a-long, Dinner Dances and Weddings. We have earned popularity as a Dinner Dance band”.

In a spool back how long have you and Misty been on the entertainment scene?

“I have to take you back to 1997 when as a duo guitarist Anil Abeyratne and I we performed at the Maldives. We were their till 1999 and when we were back in Sri Lanka, I gradually started to perform at Robinson Club, Bentota. Iraj Cooray joined us. He was quite talented. He was our guitarist, vocalist and keyboardist. Anil migrated to Canada and guitarist Marlon Mendis replaced him. As a trio we got the opportunity to perform at the Colombo Galadari lobby weekly, and because of our melodic content we attracted a large appreciative audience. This was our stepping stone to perform at JAAIC Hilton’s Union Bar and at Clancy’s. Soon the trio became a quartet when I requested Chris Mant to join us on the drum stool. We had many exciting and satisfying moments of music. Chris Mant as you know is now in Melbourne heading the band Cloud Nine. When 2000 came around, on Derrick Wickramanayake’s insistence, I turned my quartet into a five piece band and found success. We were lucky to move into the dance and dinner circuits with foreign trips thrown in. We were being talked of by expatriates. Indran Niles invited us to Melbourne..... and so it began.

No doubt as a experienced band leader you are confident as to what to play and what not to play for the entertainment of the audience, can you recall your first performance on stage, were you nervous as to how it will all turn out to be?

“Yes ofcourse! This was in the Maldives. Our first official assignment. Anil and I although we had a good repetoire of the then current hits and other song favourites we were not sure of the audience-who they were and whether they would enjoy our interpretation. However, we put on a bold front and pulled off our opening night with overwhelming success. It was a fullhouse of British, Italians and Russian tourists. Working at the Maldives was a good launching pad - we had to work six nights a week and three hours a day”.

Coming to your out-of-Sri Lanka performances which we had read about, there were many over the years. In which country did you and the band enjoy playing?

“When we performed for the Sri Lanka Representation at the Cannes Film Festival in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Tourist Board and Sri Lankan Airlines. This was where Vimukthi Jayasundera won fame. We were the only band who performed, there was Channa’s Dance Group and Bhathiya & Santush. The other event was at Trafalgar Square when we performed for Facets of Sri Lanka. There was an audience of about 7000, it was memorable too”.

In the circumstances we are facing today, what do you forsee for the musicians?

“My thoughts are to encourage them to be experimental to move with the new normal. We had our virtual events on our Misty Sri Lanka YouTube. On December 19, 2020 our first virtual concert was to Australia and New Zealand. Then on December 26, 2020, it was to our fan base in USA and Canada and then on the December 31st, 2020, we reached out to over 5000 for the New Year’s Eve celebration by the Royal College East Coast Association in New York”. (Subscribe to YouTube Misty Sri Lanka)

Misty has the capacity to challenge the audience to stay with their music because undoubtedly their group communication has always been refreshing and melodic. Any wonder then whatever the situation the members know how to give of their best because not only their leader but all of them believe in the saying “the show must go on”.