Keeping a worldwide audience enthralled for a decade through song lays claim to the mesmeric quality of a singer or in this instance, singers such as the world famous De Lanerolle Brothers (DLB) who celebrate their tenth anniversary this year.
To commemorate this milestone DLB have scheduled ten events, which will showcase their talents to a vast audience – both locally and internationally!
What DLB gave to Sri Lanka was a revolutionary form of entertainment – Dinner Concerts! In addition, they bridged the gap between the entertainer and the audience by creating camaraderie and bonhomie that made one feel as if you were actually watching a talented family member perform. They would have interactive audience involvement and share anecdotes that related to the audience or humour us with their wit and unaffected attitude.
Colombo was enamoured by this style which became a signature for the duo and we have seen them expand into other genres throughout the decade long span of sensational singing and performing. Their repertoire extends from the classical to the ballads, pop, soul, jazz, Broadway and opera and much more leaving us spellbound and eager to shout out ‘bravo’ and ‘encore’!
They also brought a fresh appeal to the traditional songs and all-time favourites by giving it a unique DLB twist and their ability to make all that singing seem effortless to local and international audiences from all strata-of-society is indeed a ‘wow’ factor.
They have also shared the global preferences in terms of music and introduced numerous artists of renown to music lovers / enthusiasts in Sri Lanka.
“We were inspired by the Platter’s concert,” said the duo in unison, to the query on what gave them the idea to host an event such as a dinner concert which was an unprecedented option ten years ago in the island.
Technology has expedited DLB’s fame
“We owe it to our fans who continue to patronize our events and share our performances through social media. “Orchard Street in Singapore each December is a standard venue for our concerts and about three years ago there were around 50,000 people from across the world who were around the area just clicking their phones and one such video of our performance wound its way to our British friend through a German acquaintance of his… truly international!” enthused Ro and Ish!
What spurred you on despite the hurdles?
“The fact that there were many who did not give up on us- we are extremely grateful to our families, sponsors, fans a host of other individuals who continued to support us along the way.”
Throughout the years we have seen them diversify into unprecedented areas of entertainment offering us, their ardent fans spectacular value additions, which included world famous musicians.
“Our main purpose is to ensure that our fans have a good time and we too enjoy ourselves in the process.”
How have you sustained the brand?
“Despite having a passion for singing and performing in the past, we were relatively unheard of during the initial stages and it’s a blessing indeed for the corporates (all sponsors) to invest in us from inception. The tremendous support we have continuously received has enabled us to deliver as promised or in most cases over and above what was expected.”
DLB as a brand has grown exponentially and is determined to entice the younger generation with music that appeals to all and sundry. “While we are intent on retaining the sounds of the 50’s to the 80’s, we will offer a host of new sounds with our signature style,” revealed Rohan.
Ten years and counting
The landmark year will enable us to showcase our capabilities to a worldwide audience and explore the less traveled road. Our agenda consists of a ‘Dance with DLB’ which is proactive session inviting the audience to dance to the strains of DLB while enjoying the waltz, fox trot, cha cha among others.
Also on the list is the Classical / Broadway show, followed by Sinhala only session, a gospel concert and a sacred concert in the cathedral. The pop show which was presented prior to the printing of the publication was a huge hit while we will also be privy to DLB’s fame with some of the school choirs in the island. The penultimate local exposition would be another pop concert.
During the space available the global fans will witness their performances in Melbourne, Singapore, Bendigo, Malaysia, London, Austria and Brisbane.
“During our tenure in the industry the average age of our audiences have dropped from 69 years within the first three years to 47 years thereafter, and this has been due to a combination of strategic moves. Our ability to cater to everyone, the publicity given through our advertising team, social media and fans is immense. Moreover our appeal to varied audiences, continuous engagement and the inclusion of our students ranging from four to twenty four years have been instrumental in the expansion of the various genres and the variety and vastness of performances,” stated Rohan.
Family owned brand of Speciali-tea
One may wonder if their skills are restricted to singing and training but they have proved otherwise by being entrepreneurs of their own brand of tea which has captured a distinctive market in many parts of the world.
- The tenth year is also a time to reminisce the significant milestones of the past
- The fifth anniversary concert
- Being the only Asians to participate in the Graz musicians event which was to an audience of 2500. Initially, prior to the performance we saw the faces etched with incredulity at the sight of us but we received a standing ovation at the end of it, which was an honour in itself.
- Performing at John Smith Square in London
- Singing alongside the celebrated singer, Sabeena in Colombo.
- Being part of the performance at the Princess Diana Room in the Castle of Angers in Frankfurt.
What is the scope in Sri Lanka to achieve international status in singing?
“There is immense talent, which needs to be guided and harnessed and there’s only a handful of those who are willing to go through the arduous process of lifelong training. Many who are merely after instant success demean the quality of the industry,” elaborated the brothers who have tread the path of musical ingenuity from the moment they were born as they hail from a family of musicians. Yet, heredity alone was not sufficient to propel them to the zenith as they spent years dedicated to perfecting their talents and constantly strive to better themselves.
“You cannot be complacent. Integrity and honesty both to yourself and all stakeholders is compulsory. We value the trust placed in us by everyone, especially the sponsors and dedicate our time and talents to delivering a high level of proficiency and professionalism while retaining a star class brand. While it is important to evolve and adapt to the times, one must always stand apart and differentiate in order to attract the audience.”
“ Advise for aspiring performers is to find your audience and ensure you present what is required of you or go beyond what is expected of you!” mused Ishan.
While one must be ready to face the critics, it is important to accept constructive criticism and adjust accordingly.
While we see the end result, the preliminary stages and preparation in organizing a concert is no walk in the proverbial park as you have to start from scratch and try to augment the image which you envision in your mind.
Sri Lankan Ambassadors of music
The brothers have not limited their scope to the island alone as they provide professional training to choirs overseas. For instance, Rohan is the Artistic Director of the Indonesia/ Indian Choir. His exceptional judging skills have seen him participate in jury panels at singing competitions across the world from Rimini, Venice, Del Gardo, Rome, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Bangkok, Hungary and more.
The brothers from the tiny pearl of the Indian Ocean have gained prominence in the major cities of the world as well as villages of renown enticing the foreign audiences and receiving acclaim galore.
In musical jargon the duo possess a range of more than four octaves, which creates an exclusivity and rarity as performers.
Compassion and love for children through music
While music has taken precedence in their lives and their schedules are stretched to accommodate many opportunities to events the duo extend their time and effort to training and conducting workshops in outstation schools as well. “I recall an instance when I was invited to conduct a series of workshops in Galle and the reception was overwhelming as the Principal of the prestigious school had invited many students in the neighbouring schools as well to participate in the training. We experienced similar enthusiasm towards singing from the students in the Kandy schools and many other schools we have visited throughout our career.
Sharing an heart rendering story of a child who was an introvert due to a traumatic experience being cajoled and coaxed through song finally blossomed into a fabulous personality is one of many such encounters in the lives of the duo who are ever willing to go above and beyond their call of duty to teach an enthusiastic child or adult.
While the singing sensations have conquered the world through their performances, they have also touched lives and warmed the hearts of thousands who are moved by their benevolent spirit. What they portray through song is a form of humanity and compassion that extends to all as they remain humble despite their worldwide fame and continue to enthrall us through their melodious voices…
By Rochelle Palipane Gunaratne