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Await magical show with Aliens

Well-known group, Alien Accent in a comeback concert

Over the past two decades Alien Accent has consistently produced some of the most scintillating and unforgettable live music concerts Colombo has ever seen. Almost four years have elapsed since their last sold- out concert Badges and Blades was held at the Bishop’s College Auditorium for three magical nights. The sights and sounds of that concert are still fresh in the minds of the public and many requests for a repeat performance over the years have finally come to fruition.

Session with a legend: When they played for Paul Simon-- from left, Suresh, Paul Simon, Dillain, DK and Husni

Alien Accent will be back on stage again on December 18, 19 and 20 at the Bishop’s College auditorium to thrill their fans once more. The show will feature songs from Alien Accent’s highly successful album Rites of Passage, new material from the upcoming album Badges & Blades, popular cover versions re-arranged in their trademark style and a special ‘unplugged’ set from their unique ‘once in a lifetime’ performance for the legendary Paul Simon.

The “One Trust Concert” will be a spectacular concert featuring co-ordinated video footage coupled with live camera feeds, innovative set design, cutting edge digital surround audio, fusion of local drum rhythms and stunning choreography. Their objective is to showcase the breathtaking beauty, cultural heritage and amazing diversity of Sri Lanka through the subject matter of their songs which are locally inspired and contain thought-provoking themes. These themes have now turned out to be especially relevant and poignant considering the environment in Sri Lanka today.

The event is facilitated by Cargills Magic and the proceeds of the show will be donated to their ‘One Trust Fund’ to be used for the education / rehabilitation of displaced and orphaned children, particularly in the north. The song “Child” with its heart-warming lyrics that deal with the emotions and trauma of an orphaned child, synchronized with real life video footage, has been selected as a theme song to highlight the plight of children affected by the circumstances in the north.

Alien Accent in its present format, featuring founder member DK and sensational new lead vocalist Dillain Joseph, is a reincarnation of the celebrated trio Suresh & Husni with DK, who are renowned for their song writing prowess and captivating live performances whose music is influenced by artists such as Crosby Stills & Nash, Sting, Paul Simon, Fleetwood Mac and James Taylor to name but a few. Their brilliant original compositions combined with their ability to tastefully infuse a South Asian flavour into their music by adding traditional vocal chants and ethnic instruments such as the tabla, bamboo, flute and ghatum have resulted in a dynamic blend of rhythm and harmony.

DK and Dillain: The face of Alien Accent today

In the early nineties, Suresh & Husni with DK came to the fore as a mercurial trio of musicians who changed the face of western pop / rock / folk musical performances in Sri Lanka. Their use of oriental instruments and trademark blend of vocal harmonies made their sound distinctive and inimitable, so much so they were considered trailblazers in originality at the time.

This chemistry resulted in a revolutionary album of folk-rock-fusion music titled “Promised Land”. The album and the launch concert received rave reviews and came to the notice of a German music promoter who invited the band to perform in the “One World Musical Tour”, a month-long tour of Germany performing ‘World Music’ with other reputed bands from all over the world.

The exposure catapulted the band into international recognition, earning them an interview on BBC and spotlight on a special BBC programme titled, ‘The New Music of Asia’. During this time they received no less than five “Golden Clef Musical Awards” .

After another three-night sell-out concert titled ‘Legacy’in 1997, founder member and lead vocalist Husni decided to take a leave of absence. In came another talented vocalist, Ricky Bahar, with whom their debut ‘Rites of Passage’ was recorded in the USA in 2001.

Rites of Passage recorded in the US was produced by Sri Lankan born Hussain Jiffry who is presently ranked amongst the top ten jazz / funk bass guitarists in the world. This remarkable album featured some of the finest session musicians in Los Angeles and was critically acclaimed by top sources in the music industry who were astounded by the quality of the musical compositions originating from a relatively unknown band in Asia.

In December 2006 the iconic Paul Simon of Simon & Garfunkel fame, while planning a holiday in Sri Lanka, came across Rites of Passage and was so impressed with the music that he requested Alien Accent to perform live for him during his stay in Sri Lanka.This provoked a mini re-union of the band with Husni coming out of his self-imposed musical exile to perform with Alien Accent. In just two weeks, the band put together the concert of their life with a unique “unplugged” performance, which had Paul Simon congratulating them warmly with the words “Fabulous! It was just great!”

Now, Alien Accent is re-creating some of the events and special performances from this spectacular experience for their fans at the “One Trust” concert. Alien Accent will be backed by some of Sri Lanka’s leading musicians including Aruna Siriwardhana on drums, Sureka Amerasinghe on flute, Jananath Warakagoda on oriental drums, Eshantha Peiris on keyboards and many others.

A rare cameo appearance by Suresh and Husni may well be on the cards so keep the dates free.

DK: The early years

Having gone through a few shuffles in the line-up, Dyan Wijesinha, better known as DK, is the only original member having joined the band a few years after founders Suresh Jayawickrama and Husni Ghouse launched out.

Pix by Pradeep Loganathan

“We initially started out as Suresh and Husni with DK because Suresh and Husni were playing together since school. I joined a little later, maybe 3 -4 years after that. And subsequently in 1997 we became Alien Accent,” explains DK. Currently, Alien Accent consists of two members, DK and Dilliain Joseph.

Their style however is a distinct sound of folk and rock music that hasn’t changed so much as evolved over time. Elaborating, DK says, “When we started out we were an acoustic band, organic sound, no gimmicks. The focus was on vocal harmonies and the original compositions and the original sounds because we played most of the instruments.

We played with limited backing. So it progressed not just because we were developing as musicians but overall the music industry was developing. By listening to other artistes who influenced us, we’ve drawn from that and it’s come to this point now.”

Courtesy: SundayTimes

Posted on Sunday, December 06, 2009 @ 05:22:37 LKT by

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