The late and great Clarence Wijewardena must have been psychic apart from being a fantastic musician when he named the Super Golden Chimes, because despite the many decades that have gone by, the music of this great band lives on and never will die.
I was among hundreds of Super Golden Chimes fans with my wife Anne, legendary singer Desmond De Silva and wife Phyllis and Des’s lifelong fan and friend Callista at the Besen Centre in Burwood for my first taste of a band that I endeared as a kid but never went to the extreme of watching in concert, only to be cofounded my own perceptions.
Musicians from all genres were there to felicitate this superb musical set up whose purpose for the re-union was primarily to honour their late leader Calrence Wijewardena, and they reproduced those favourite songs from yesteryear which had our toes tapping and memories flooding back to our youth in the days when those tunes were impregnated into our lifetime memory banks.
It was definitely not what I had pre-conceived perceptions of, and actually blew me and everyone present away for the fabulous content, fantastic arrangement and Annesley Malawana’s non-stop anecdotes which had the crowd in fits of laughter throughout. In fact a famous musician present readily admitted that he passed some fluid at the jokes that flowed incessantly from Annesley’s sharp reflections of how the band went about their business in an era where money was the least of their reason for entertaining.
The talented line up of the 70’s slipped into gear rolling off some of the most memorable hits of the 70’s beginning from when some of them were from the popular Moonstones, then the Super Golden Chimes and the Golden Chimes, a succession of great bands of similar style which had most of its founder members.
Annesley’s vocal still has that golden touch and with the fabulously multi-talented Rukshan Perera , Chandral Fonseka and drummer Nimal Punchihewa providing the additional vocals, it was a fantastic night of music.
Those beautiful melodies with meaningful lyrics connected to Sri Lankan folklore had memories of childhood flood back and it was quite evident that the crowd enjoyed every moment of it.
Just to ensure that everyone was switched on, Annesley engaged the crowd in a sing-along and it was heartening to see the response and how many remembered the lyrics of those popular songs.
The added attraction to the night’s programme cleverly orchestrated with the blessings of tour organiser Malik Zaveer’s Tar-Qeel Entertainments had a great dance act from the Melbourne based Ama dance troupe which added much glamour and colour to the concert.
Rukshan Perera showcased his God given talent as a singer/composer/ entertainer with a fabulous presentation of Sinhala a Capella which drew a thunderous ovation.
The affable ageless entertainer, who joined the band after its inception, had his musical journey cut short when he migrated to the US to pursue a career in IT taking away nearly three decades of talent which would have showcased him as one of the best musicians from Sri Lanka ever. He is currently not far off.
Nimal Punchihewa teamed up with daughter Kusha in a duet that was absolutely outstanding to add more colour to the already entertaining night and when the crowd thought they had heard everything the band had to offer, there was a series of English hits that was delivered with aplomb.
Rukshan Perera’s George Benson hit ‘Broadway” was a classic and his own rendition would have drawn applause from the composer himself.
The infusion of multi talented Cameron Colombage (not a member of the original band) gave them a boost to the harmonies while Jude Perera (both from Melbourne), was added to the line up for that extra punch.
All in all it was a fantastic production and organiser Mallik Zaveer told the Lanka Times that the response to the Super Golden Chimes has forced him to invite them back next year. “The crowd interaction to the two concerts in Sydney and Melbourne was awesome”, says Mallik. “They are icons of Sinhala music and a definite drawcard to any event, we will be unfair to their following if we don’t bring them back”, he said.
They flew back to Colombo in preparation for a April 10 Concert in Colombo after which they take flight to Dubai where they have been invited to perform to the many expatriate fans over there.
Would like to thank all the Super Golden Chimes fans in Melbourne for making the concert a huge success! Next will be Super Golden Chimes in Colombo (April 10th), and in Dubai (April 17th). Annesley Malawana, G A Chandral Fonseka, Dixon Gunaratne,Nimal Punchihewa, Thank you Malik Zaveer for organizing the concert, and Trevine Rodrigo for the photos.