The mesmeric voices of Sri Lanka’s sensational singing sisters have enthralled crowds from the moment they decided to perform publicly. The ensuing years since their initial performance precipitated in an avalanche of offers to sing alongside famous singers in the local and international arena, ensuring an ever-growing fan following from all parts of the world. Their voices break the norm by sweeping into genres which may vary from the classics to jazz, Arabic and opera among others, leaving an indelible mark in the hearts of music enthusiasts worldwide.
Umara and Umaria Sinhawansa, the beautiful, and ever so stylish ‘nightingales’ have incorporated their influences, experiences, unique personalities and close-knit family bond into dynamic careers which are boundless. Their ability to test the deeper waters or the unknown in the musical spectrum have driven them to the limelight at a rapid pace and made them the darlings of the musical outfit. In an industry when morals are often subject to compromise in order to secure a spot on the hit list, the duo exudes class and authentic talent with unparalleled voices and an inert musical prowess that is beyond their years.
The fashionistas who are featured in the cover page agreed to pose for the Rafaella calendar due to its creative depictions of the artists say, “Despite having posed together for various shoots, this is the first time we have posed for a cover shot together and we are glad that its by Rafaella as they give it an unique approach, similar to a three dimensional outlook,” said the exotic beauties.
The Musical Influence
Hailing from a musical family with their father as the leader of the Europe-based band, the Gathering which was later known as the Spotlight, in which he played the keyboard and guitar accompanied by their mother who was the female vocalist, often providing support on keyboards as well, it comes as no surprise that the children were exposed to the wonder of music since infancy. “There was always music at home and we would sing for the pure love of singing,” recalled Umaria, adding that they would try to emulate the most challenging songs and add their own styles even at a relatively young age. In retrospect Umara remembers singing along with her family which includes her parents, two older brother, her sister and herself even during power cuts, “surmise it to say we as a family practically lived and breathed music,” added she laughingly. Their bond continues despite their erratic schedules. “Our parents have always been very supportive and encouraged us to follow our dreams which have enabled us to retain the closeness while being in a highly competitive field.”
An Amazing Role Model
The sisters have an amazing role model in their mother, “Our mother was a stylish and talented lady who we looked up to from a young age and aspired to follow,” responded the singers who have indeed established themselves and are considered as role models to thousands of young girls in the country.
Making their mark and future aspirations
Umara was able to make her mark in the local sphere by showcasing her ability to sing in Arabic and many other capabilities which were rarely found in Sri Lanka. Their open-mindedness enabled them to experiment and never stop learning. It was raw talent and a soul for sounds which caused them to be much sought after in the industry.
Umara’s singing academy is a platform for aspiring artists and an opportunity for her to share her knowledge and expertise with the younger generation. “A future aspiration of mine is to establish my own brand of fashion which reflects a more vintage yet elegant style,” said the young lady who along with her sister sets fashion trends with their eclectic fashion sense.
The interviews were not conducted simultaneously but they were indeed two individuals whose thought processes were on the same wave length but Umaria states that she was not always so, “I was an introvert and my sister was an extrovert and I used to follow my sister around. I was also (and I still am) an avid reader who dreamt of being a professional in the marketing field but singing came naturally to me and thanks to my mother and sister I participated in the Asian Youth Singing competition in 2011 which was held in China and was awarded a silver medal from among many participants from 30 countries. That gave me the impetus to pursue singing as a professional career and I have never looked back,” said the determined Umaria, who works tirelessly to pursue her dream of foraying into the international platform.
I was able to interview her during her ride to the airport. She was only here for two days after a work appointment overseas which lays claim to the sacrifices she makes and the passion which drives her to achieve her goals. She is also in the process producing her next album which will be released by 2020.
During the conversations I was drawn to their humble manner despite their stardom and inspired by their drive to thrive in life while being a source of pride to Mother Lanka! We at ELEGANT wish them luck in all their endeavours…
By Rochelle Palipane Gunaratne
Photographer: Raffealla Fernando