"I've heard some international standard original material from our little island the last few years. Support your local artists and music. Support original music. You'll be surprised how good it has got here."
The above quote was posted on Facebook by Salvage lead singer (and Melomanic's own) CC, and it got me thinking about the local music scene. Lately I've been lucky to be exposed to a lot of local musicians and singers, and it's beautiful to see what gifted and talented artists we have in our island. We don't see them though, because most of the time they are working in our banks, teaching in our schools, studying in our colleges. Rarely do they find opportunities to perform, and almost never are they recognised for it.
Which brings me to my friend Asela Perera. I remember the first time I heard him sing was through word of mouth, and eventually one day at work I listened to "Eyes Wide Open", a beautiful duet (with Isuri, another talented local artist) from his earlier work "Paper Boy". At that time I had never heard anything as good by any other local artist, and it was just so refreshing to me. Above all, it was original, and his style and personality permeates every song he sings.
I have been lucky enough to watch him perform several times now thanks to the Melomanic Sessions, and I've also had the fortune to hear several budding local artists perform as well, from rock bands to ukulele players, from teenagers to seasoned veterans. It's beautiful to see people expressing themselves so eloquently through music, despite limited opportunities to perform or for coaching. It makes me wonder what we could do if we actually nurtured these homegrown musicians, and supported them by giving them the audience and the applause that they so richly deserve.
Despite listening to "Paper Boy" before, there was one track that I had somehow missed. I discovered it today for the first time while going through his official site (click here). I'm not sure what it is about this song, but it somehow connected with me. Asela is quite the lyricist, but it's strange how even in this instrumental song, he has managed to communicate so much emotion and describe so much without saying anything at all really. That is no easy task; it takes skill, talent, and soul. Perhaps I'm reading it wrong, but the message it conveys to me is beautiful, and it resonates deeply.
This is 20:55.
Today he released "Once", his first single from his upcoming EP titled "Evenings In The Sun"; an EP that I am itching to get my ears (?) on. So go on, give Asela a listen, and look out for more local artists. They may not be on a stage, in front of the big lights, but they could be in your break room at work, or providing the ambiance for your Friday night drinks. Acknowledge them, speak to them, encourage them. They need it, and in my opinion, they deserve it.