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Alston Koch is the Star of Christmas in Colombo

Alston Koch

A very pleased Prime Minister in a public gesture made a special presentation to Alston Koch (photo).​​

Alston Koch’s star shone brightly, but this time in Sri Lanka during Christmas and as The President’s House opened its doors to celebrate Christmas with people from all religions. Alston was flown down by Srilankan Airlines and invited for performances of Christmas Carols at Temple Trees for the Prime Minister and The President at President’s House by Sri Lanka Tourism Minister John Amaratunge. 

Alston Koch was also a privileged guest at the opening of ‘Christmas Street’ hosted by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Authority & was hosted at the Kingsbury Hotel. 

Dinesh Weerakody, advisor to the Prime Minister met Alston Koch in London at the British Writer’s Guild Awards & invited him to headline the festivities for Christmas 2017.

KOCH – the Star this Christmas (Source: Island)

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This is not an exaggeration; singer Alston Koch was in the spotlight at all the major festive events, in Colombo – entertaining VVIPs, and the public, as well. His opener was the Christmas carols concert at the Prime Minister’s residence, at Temple Trees, where he entertained the invitees with four festive specials.Describing the event, he said it was a classy evening that had an exclusive gathering of Sri Lanka’s best citizens and Ambassadors from all over the world.

The scene was equally exciting when he performed for the President and his Cabinet Ministers, at President’s House.

The public got the opportunity of seeing the ‘Disco Lady’ hitmaker, in action, when he made a live appearance at the Christmas Street celebrations (Green Path, Colombo 7).

At all the events, Alston’s repertoire consisted of those beautiful songs, connected with Christmas.

Alston was also involved in the launch of the special double decker bus (with Minister John Amaratunga), for the festive season, and the ‘lighting up’ of the City of Colombo, and the Christmas Tree, at The Arcade, by the Prime Minister.

Yes, it has certainly been an exciting festive season for Alston Koch…and there’s more to come!

The star vocalist also mentioned to us that Nirj Deva, of the European Union, has invited him to perform live at the Parliament of The European Union and to present his (Alston’s) credentials as Ambassador for Climate Change, in February, at the first sitting of Parliament.

“I also had some offers coming my way to do 31st night, in Colombo, but due to my prior commitments, I had to decline,” said Alston.

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“DREAM-WORLD” (Revisited) By Desmond Kelly ‘the Star of eLanka’

     The song is well-known, as is the “Songwriter”,who got into the habit of writing songs for “special girlfriends”simply because “presents”(decent ones), were too expensive to buy, in Ceylon at the time, and, although it got him into trouble, sometimes, this did not cost him anything at all.

“Dream-World” was written by this songwriter at the birth of the fabulous 1950’s at number 38 Lorensz Road, Bambalapitiya, in Colombo, after this enamoured young man who was 15 at the time, had met this beautiful 14 year old girl who lived at number 10, on the same road.

He had a dream one night, about this same young lass & the rest was easy. It was just after midnight, & while he had never studied the “theory” of music, “tunes” would come into his head, and he would then compose the lyrics to fit the tune. It was very lucky that this songwriter had an exceptional memory. Once he completed the song, lyrics written in pencil in an old school exercise book, (as this was), he never forgot it. Dream-World was written in about 45 minutes, sung to the girl in private when she came to see him via the “rear alley” of their homes, the next day. He told her that he had this “present” for her, and sang it to her, accompanied by his old ukelele. She loved it, even though the song itself was “far advanced” in it’s outlook. 

     Later, Dream-World was “recorded” with this songwriter’s Singing Group called the “Semi-tones”, picked up by one of the biggest International Recording Company’s at the time, called Philips, in Holland, actually presold many thousands of copies (it was a little 45 rpm disc), before even arriving in Ceylon, went straight into the Ceylon Hit Parade on the Commercial Service, reached the “top” of the Parade in record time, keeping Elvis Presley’s “Don’t be cruel” in 2nd place for a few weeks, before then going into the “Binaca Hit Parade” in India & again, heading for the top in record time.

     The songwriter, by this time, had joined the Royal Ceylon Navy, had got married to another very pretty girl, for whom he wrote the song “Cha-cha-baby”which she liked until she was “teased” so much about it, she decided to lay claim to Dream-World, as well. The songwriter only agreed to this because the girl he had written it for, had since gone on to the U.S.A. to be the 2nd runner-up to Miss Universe,1956.

The “Singing Sailor” then decided to send a copy of Dream-World to the President-elect, at the time, thru the American 

Embassy in Colpetty, did get his acknowledgement for it, & was exceptionally proud when told that Dream-World had now become one of the favourite songs of another beautiful Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy. 

     There have been many versions of Dream-World recorded. The songwriter however, prefers the “revisited” version. He hopes that all of his readers will like the eLanka version & make some comments about it. 

desmond kelly

Desmond Kelly.

                                                                      Star of eLanka.




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“COUNTRY COUSINS” EXTRAORDINAIRE by Desmond Kelly ‘the Star of eLanka’

 It has certainly been an extraordinary week for me.

To start off, after many a long year, I have been able to contact a long-lost cousin, also living in Melbourne, someone who I remember as an extremely talented pianist,

Audrey will not mind the mention of her name because, even though we have been “out of touch” for so long, it is good that, in the twilight of our lives, we have managed to find each other again.

      If the title of this article is mistaken for the fact that we are the ‘Country Cousins’ are the ones who originally migrated to Australia from Ceylon, a humble apology.

Although I am not certain that Audrey loves “Country Music”

like I do, music, in general, has been part & parcel of our families. Some of us also “sing” a little, although, as a “singer”, my younger brother Ian (who lives in Lanka now), makes a very fine “swimmer”.

      This “story” however, is all about two famous “first cousins”, Jerry Lee Lewis & Mickey Gilley, both, superb at what they do, and “featured for you”. Jerry, of course, needs no introduction at all, being the last of a very few entertainers (unfortunately), to grace this Planet of ours.

Mickey is only slightly less-known, probably because he is a few years younger, but he, too, is a superb entertainer, 

      I have to add that, although J.L.Lewis came to fame with his “whole lotta shakin goin on”, I have always preferred him as a “Country” singer & pianist. Not many of my eLanka readers know this, but Jerry Lee Lewis NEVER ever sings a version of any of his “recordings” the same way, twice. For example, even on stage, if he sang “Crazy”(the song), on Monday, on Tuesday, it HAD to be a completely new arrangement of the same song. This was why he constantly drove his backing musicians “crazy”. His piano-playing was self-taught, but even Audrey & any other “Classical-Pianist” will have to agree that both THESE Cousins  are “Top-Class”

In what they do.  Nuff said. I will now let the you-tube clip I have chosen for all you good people, do the talking.

                                                                       Desmond Kelly –   Star of eLanka.

 

 




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“ROCK EXPLOSION”& THE SHAKING HEARTS” – By Desmond Kelly ‘the Star of eLanka’

FROM A JACK TO A KING”

What a way to start 2018.!  Welcome my friends,fans, family and each & every reader of eLanka. It has been quite an year, now well & truly past, thank goodness.

We, @ eLanka have tried our best to keep you up to date with all the news, both from Lanka & Australia.

We have endeavoured to bring you “stories” that matter to everyone of us. We have had “top” health-hints from Dr.Harold Gunatillake, interesting excerpts from Victor Melder, dozens of photographs to look at in the special eLanka “Gallery”, “flyers” that practically fly out to you, special articles about “events” taking place, both in Lanka & Australia, you name it folks, eLanka has it.  I’ll say no more. Please join us. To become a member, simply contact Neil Jayasekera at eLanka, & he’ll do the rest. At the moment, we have about 11.000 of them & a special “hello” to all of you.

Everyone knows that I am a confirmed “Country Music” lover. I love Country Music because it truly is “The Story Of Life”, as we know it. There are dozens of.other genres of Music, all of them “passable” IF the Musicians presenting them, know their stuff. For instance, the song “From a Jack to a King” originally written as a “Country-Song” by Ned Miller was a global favourite that a dozen or more “Country Greats” has recorded,  going as far back as the 1950s. I have taken the trouble to listen to ALL of them and picked a particular version that is NOT orientated to “Country” at all, believe it or not. I am certainly not.into “Heavy Rock” but “Country Rock n Roll” is entirely something else again. Let us now begin the year 2018 with this song, “From a Jack to a King” by a band that I’ve heard for the very first time.”HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY”
Please watch,  listen to,  sing along on “You-Tube”:-
“ROCK EXPLOSION  &  THE SHAKING HEARTS”
GREAT SONG, GREAT VERSION, SO PLEASE ENJOY! !

 



Desmond Kelly.

Star of eLanka.

 

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“LIKE GRANDFATHER, LIKE GRANDSON” – NT Young Australian of the Year 2018 – Kevin Kadirgamar – BY Desmond Kelly ‘the Star of eLanka’

Excellent news, (not silly “breaking news”, that has got to be “fixed”), our new “Young Australian” of the year N.T. is none other than  Kevin Kadirgamar, the proud grandson of the late Rajan Kadirgamar, M.V.O., A.D.C., Rear Admiral & for 10 years from 1960-1970, the longest serving “Captain of the Royal Ceylon Navy”.

Kevin is now the Northern Territory Young Australian of the year 2018. He left his birthplace (Sri Lanka), to escape the civil conflict, while still in his “teens” &, as a result, has a deep appreciation for the fact that, in Australia, through sheer hard work & determination, became a Refugee & Migration Lawyer, and, in so doing, tries his utmost to alleviate the suffering of these unfortunate people. He, thus became the ” Voice of the vulnerable”.

     As a law student, Kevin co-founded “Multicultural Youth N.T”, a youth-led organization that promotes harmony and empowers young people to implement the necessary changes in their own communities.

     Now, Kevin, at the still very young age of 28, is a qualified Lawyer, championing the rights of both migrants and refugees. He has been duly recognised for his outstanding pro-bono work on high-profile cases, fighting for the freedom of children and young people who have been held in indefinite immigration detention. A former “Board-Member” of many youth justice & human rights groups, Kevin mentors students & junior solicitors through the Charles Darwin University, provides gratis migration advice, every month and is also the President of the multicultural Council of the Northern Territory.

     Kevin’s indefatigable efforts clearly demonstrate the very important “role” a lawyer can play in fundamentally changing the lives of others.

     Incidentally, Kevin’s grandfather was not only a “top” Royal Ceylon Navy man, he was a humanitarian as well. He knew that a certain Supply Assistant could not afford it, so he offered his own “Limo”(& driver), as the ” wedding car”, on the 4th of February,1956, for which S/A.Kelly was very thankful. It would have looked rather strange, arriving at St.Mary’s Church in Dehiwala in a “Buggy-Cart”. My wife-to-be, arrived (late), in another car, of course. I will never forget you, Sir, God bless you & rest in peace now, looking down on your grandson Kevin, with pride. 

                 CONGRATULATIONS KEVIN KADIRGAMAR.

                                                                       Desmond Kelly: ‘Star of eLanka’.

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HITTING THE RIGHT NOTE – A MUSICAL ODYSSEY by Bernard VanCuylenburg

Dear members & readers of eLanka, I have been extremely fortunate to meet, and, in turn, introduce all of you to Bernard VanCuylenberg, another good Dutch Burgher from Lanka, who, in my opinion, is a “Superb writer of Stories”, in poetic vein, “Bernard Van, is a man, who certainly can”.

There are not too many “writers” who are perfectionists.

Bernard is one of them and his expertise can now be shared by all of us. Every “story” coming in from Bernard will, of course, bear his name, as the writer. We are indeed lucky to have him write for us.  Desmond Kelly.

HITTING THE RIGHT NOTE – A MUSICAL ODYSSEY by Bernard VanCuylenburg

In contrast to the lyrical title of this article, I am compelled to refer to the writings of Celaleddin Rumi one of  the world’s greatest mystic philosophers who lived in the 13th century, in Turkey. His poetic and religious works mostly in Persian are some of the most beloved and respected in the Islamic world. He wrote “Jars of spring water are not enough. Take us down to the river !” In essence, what he was saying is that if you wish to get to the heart of the matter on any subject, go to the source. Do not be content with heresay or form your opinions and convictions by listening to others.

Growing up in that great educational institution by the river, Saint Anthony’s College in Kandy, my schoolmates and I were exposed to various genres of music   –  classical, pop, church music (particularly if one was a chorister) and oriental. Listening to the music of the day in college or at home during the holidays, and having read about the artistes and singers who influenced our musical tastes, and later played in bands after I left college, I harboured a desire to  – in some future time  –  go to the source where this music had its genesis. In October last year I gave wings to my dreams, literally.

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