Harold Seneviratne & Friends By Patrick Ranasinghe


In Loving Memory to Fifty seven years in music in Sri Lanka puts band leader/saxophonist Harold Seneviratne in a class of his own. His band – The Harold Seneviratne Combo – enjoyed unlimited popularity and success in the early years, unrivalled in its sophisticated and unique sound that gave hundreds of music lovers and dancers untold happiness and memories to treasure. Rightly on Saturday January 17, at the BMICH the concert ‘Royal Performers – Harold Seneviratne in Celebration’ will see musicians who were associated with Harold in his long career as well as newer leading lights, come together on stage to salute the musical legend in a not-to-be missed show presented by D.R. Entertainments as a fund raiser for the ’83 Group’ of Royal College. The Sunday Observer is the media sponsor. When you look back now are you happy and have no regrets that you became a musician and not a planter as you intended to then? Yes, I am happy, that I decided to become a musician, and a band leader. Fifty seven years in the business was exciting and interesting. You never have a dull moment when you are a musician. I belong to an acoustic era and in my opinion the changes and development in music over the years to the electronic is unfortunate. You can do wonders with a keyboard but the acoustic sound cannot be replaced. Musicians should start learning an acoustic instrument to develop tone, technique and style. You achieve a sound of your own which can be instantly recognised.” What can the audience expect from your concert on Saturday 17?

“Old time favourites and strict tempo music from the tunes that were associated with the Harold Seneviratne Combo, like ‘Cheek to Cheek’ ‘Secret Love’, ‘Moon River’ and more. With pianist Peter Prins who was long associated with my band, I will be playing a set of tunes that were the band’s hits on the dance floor. But there are more acts on the show that all can enjoy – the now music lover and the then.” A concert with a difference the ‘Royal Performers..’ will spotlight the ever popular Merry An Singers, Dalreen, Corrine, Sunil, Noeline and Rajiv and Ronnie Leitch extending their musical salute to the Legend that is Harold. Associated with Harold Seneviratne in his achievements-studded-musical career and performing that night will be Ishan Bahar in a Rock’n roll set, Russell Gomes who was Harold’s singer from 88, Denzil and Bosco well known for their renditions of the Everley Brothers hits and the versatile singer Jean van Heer who was a member of the Combo since 88. The musical backing is by Harsha Makalande – piano, Rodney van Heer – saxophone, Clifford Andrews – guitar, Royle Andrews – drums and Maxi Pietersz – bass. Threading the show together will be the acknowledged emcee Vijaya Corea.

D.R. Entertainments who are presenting the show have many surprises for you, so be sure you are a part of the experience on Saturday January 17. Tickets for this fund raiser could be obtained from Torana – Liberty Plaza and Taranga – Nugegoda. Band leader/saxophonist Harold Seneviratne has many credits to his career, too numerous to record in this space. Besides the overseas tours, weekly radio broadcasts, Harold released more than 10 EP’s that still receive airplay on SLBC. Listeners will surely recall ‘Felicia’ and ‘Kandyan Express’ with Nimal Mendis, ‘Moon Over Asia’, with Edgar Hebber and Neville Fernando, ‘Butterfly in the Rain’ with Clifford Foenander, Cherry Blossom Tree’ and ‘Goodnight Kisses’ with the Jay Brothers and more, not forgetting the CD entitled Golden Dance Medleys. His versatility saw him as Manager Blue Leopard, Taprobane, the Little Hut at Mount Lavinia and Director Entertainment, Colombo Hilton. In these capacities he launched new and young groups into the music industry. Now at the end of 57 years he can proudly claim that he created incomparable musical history in Sri Lanka. He regularly perfomed at The spectacular “Three clubs” owned by Mr. Andree, was located in the heart of Bambalapitiya. Initially a gaming centre, it was later turned into a virtual mecca for gifted musicians, endeavouring to make it to the big time  by Mahes Perera

He regularly perfomed at The spectacular “Three clubs” owned by Mr. Andree, was located in the heart of Bambalapitiya. Initially a gaming centre, it was later turned into a virtual mecca for gifted musicians, endeavouring to make it to the big time. The one and only Harold Seneviratne Combo who kept us on toes from the 60s onwards (or is it the 50s)? Their sounds were super considering the times and we have to be thankful to these wonderful band members for sharing their talent with us. Knew Tom & Raddy personally. Lovely people

In Loving Memory Harold Seneviratne Tissa Ratwatte (20-03-1937- 02-08-2017) and Peter Prins – Ronnie Leitch

Harold Seneviratne & Friends

 





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