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SPECTACULAR CULTURAL PERFORMANCES FROM PRESENTIA MUSIC SCHOOL JUNIOR CHOIR AND RANWALA FOUNDATION ON SRI LANKA DAY 2022 VIRTUAL EVENT

Sri Lanka Day Expo & Parade, a virtual Global Celebration, was launched in the United States on the Sri Lanka Foundation International Virtual Platform on August 13th and 14th, 2022. Hope you enjoyed watching the mesmerizing performances by the SLF Academy of Performing Arts External Lecturers and Students that was featured in the last weeks issue on SLF News. This is your opportunity to watch two more Amazing Performances from Sri Lanka performed by 
Ranwala Foundation and Prestania Music School.


 The love and respect for traditional Sri Lankan culture, its preservation and development are the 
core of the Ranwala Foundation’s vision and mission. Other key areas are to encourage Sri Lankans to learn about their rich and vibrant culture, appreciate and treasure it and showcase Sri Lankan culture in the international arena. The founder of the Ranwala Foundation was the late Lionel Ranwala, a reputed and revered teacher of music. He loved the unique culture of his motherland that he made it his passion to study, research, develop and popularize it throughout the island. Today, the matchless legacy left by Lionel Ranwala is kept alive by his son Sahan Ranwala supported by his elder brother Chirantha and a dedicated and loyal staff.

The song “Dhaydhagaraya” performed by Ranwala Foundation is based on the Sri Lankan Folk Music synced with the Sri Lankan Cultures, Traditions, Beauty and the richness of the heritage.
Click on the link to watch the Performance by Ranwala Foundation. https://youtu.be/bJ1jZUwCEi0

The Prestantia Music School Junior Concert Choir, is an internationally ranked Gold medal 
winning children’s choir at International Choir Games, directed by Dr. Priyeshni P Perera. Year 2022 marks a very musical ten years for the Prestantia School of Music founded by Dr Priyeshni Peiris Perera, an alumnus of the Texas Tech University in the USA, with the hope of advancing 
music education in Sri Lanka, the school’s two choirs have seen notable success.

Sri Lanka has a rich culture of music, dance and using an array of drums. This particular choral 
music work is a “Varamathi and Vannam Choral Fusion”, which is based on the traditional Folk Dance rhythm of ‘’Ukusa Vannama’’ (Eagle’s Dance) interspersed with the traditional
 ‘’Varamathi’’ Song – a type of “Praise Songs’’ sung at the Kings court, to King Narendrasinghe, who ruled the country at the time. It is a new Choir fusion arrangement, experimenting the blend of Western and Sri Lankan folk styles together, while keeping the traditional flavor of the Sri Lankan Folk music.

Click on the link to watch the Performance by Prestantia Music School Junior Choir. 
https://youtu.be/auHcxt4iFSI

Stay tuned with us to watch more videos of the Amazing Cultural Performances coming up 
next week!!  

Sri Lanka Foundation Intl’ Recognizes Excellence Among the Sri Lankan Expatriates Around the World at its Prestigious Awards Show

The Sri Lanka Foundation (SLF) Awards Ceremony 2022 celebrated 25 exceptional Sri Lankans from over four continents. This one-of-a-kind event was streamed online live and hosted over 450 guests attending the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 13th, 2022.

For the Sri Lankan community worldwide, this event continues to be the most prestigious awards ceremony, which recognizes those in the Sri Lankan community whose work has had an essential impact on the lives of others.

In putting on the SLF Awards Ceremony, Sri Lanka Foundation hopes to show the community’s gratitude for the awardees’ creativity and outstanding achievements, increase awareness of their accomplishments, and, most importantly, inspire the younger generation to achieve excellence in their chosen fields. With this purpose at heart, it has been growing since its inception in 2003, boasting the most significant number of awardees celebrated, and with a tremendous demand for attendance that its live-streaming offer this year was essentially long overdue.

The opening remarks given by the SLF Chairman of the Board, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, and the President/CEO, Dr. Dishan Jayasinha, instilled in the audience their deep commitment to the event’s purpose and set the stage for the outstanding awardees, which were to follow.

While the event centered on the awardees, the entertainment was as sensational as ever. The event began with a spectacular traditional welcome dance featuring Umendra Kahandawarachchi, Nirosha Wijegunasekare, and Akila Palipana from the SLF Academy of Performing Arts. Then, the elegant fashion show (produced and choreographed by Achala Weerasinghe, SLF Director of Cultural Affairs) featured stunning outfits created by the famous Sri Lankan designers Shanith Fernando and Hiran Wijesekara and beauty pageant title holders from the USA.

The entertainment continued with a stand-out performance from Talin Silva, an opera performance by the world-renowned soprano singer Tharanga Goonetilleke, and fabulous music by Tony Samara.

Most importantly, the event celebrated the following awardees in seven distinct categories:

For a lifetime of outstanding excellence and recognition at an international level Prof. Nimal Rajapakse, Prof. Ajit Yoganathan, Prof. Asgerally Fazleabas, Prof. Patrick Mendis, Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi, Prof. Tissa Illangasekare, Dr. Yasantha Rajakarunanayake, Venerable Henepola Gunaratna, late Desmond De Silva, and late Donald Karunaratna received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Hasini Jayatilaka and Prof Sharika Thiranagama received the Exceptional Achievement Award for their exemplary achievements in their field.

For their outstanding performances, Amith Boteju, Talin Silva, Rukshan De Silva, and Hiruni Wijerathna received the Outstanding Performance by a Young Professional Award.

For their ongoing exceptional growth and achievements in their profession Dr. Sumudu Herath Mudiyanselage, Dr. Zainab Ifthikar, and Mathew Abeysinghe received the Rising Star Award.

For his excellence in community service and role model Ashley Ashan Palipana was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Junior Award.

The Srimerican of the Year Award was presented to Keith Ranga for his contribution to the betterment of the Sri Lankan community.

The President’s Award was presented to Priyalal Kurera for his exceptional philanthropic services to the Sri Lankan American community and his motherland, Sri Lanka.

The Outstanding Community Service Award was presented to Prof. Deepthi Jayasekare and Prof. Dushyantha Jayaweera for their life-saving support extended to our communities worldwide, especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

As you know, the winners were nominated by individuals just like you. You can visit our website http://www.srilankafoundation.org for more information on how to nominate a well-deserved Sri Lankan expatriate who has made a difference to humanity.

SLF Int, USA 2022 Srimerican of the Year Award Keith Ranga for his Excellence as an Artist, Humanitarian Services and Community Leadership

Keith Ranga was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to the U.S. in 1992. He attended the college of De. Mazenod in Kandana, Sri Lanka. Keith Ranga began his acting career at 14 years old in an independent movie in Sri Lanka followed by two additional before moving to the U.S.

Keith Ranga has made a measurable impact in the past 20 years of his life with his dedication to the Sri Lankan American community as a passionate advocate to provide his humanitarian services and promote culture.

In 2006 he was elected to be the President of the Sri Lanka America Association in Southern California. He immediately stepped in to his role by evaluating the needs of our community and established a net working system with his executive committee to reach out to families that needed assistance in professional or personal matters. By providing this service he connected with so many families in Sri Lankan community and provided very valuable services.

In 2006 Keith Ranga organized the very first Cultural Show for Sri Lanka Independence Day collaborating with the Consul General of Sri Lanka, about 100 performers took part which was witnessed by hundreds of foreign diplomats and a large crowd of people from our community. He planted a very valuable seed that day to lay the groundwork for something that developed and expanded in to an annual event to celebrate Sri Lanka Independence Day. 
2006 Keith Ranga took the leadership to organize the very first “Parade of Lanka” at the Santa Monica Promenade which was hosted by the Sri Lanka Foundation International, USA which was viewed by over hundred thousand people. In 2007 Keith Ranga coordinated the very first “Ranwan Reyek” production to introduce the Sinhala Cinema to the new Sri Lankan American younger generation. These productions provided an opportunity to many young Sri Lankan American kids to be involved in Los Angeles. Also in 2007 he organized the Tea Expo collaborated with the Sri Lankan Consulate office in Los Angeles to promote Sri Lankan Buddhist Temples in Los Angeles, supported many Sri Lanka social and cultural events by volunteering his services.

2017 Keith Ranga took the leadership to showcase the “Parade of Lanka” in the Rose Parade route in Pasadena at the Sri Lanka day which now has become the main attraction of the Sri Lanka Day anticipated by the local community. 2018 he took the leadership to organize the 70 years of Independence Day event held at UCLA. In 2019 Keith Ranga cast as a lead actor for two upcoming Sinhala productions which will be shown in Los Angeles. He also took a role as a producer and has brought many actors over to US and offered accommodation, food and transportation to provide opportunities for them to be successful in a foreign country.

He has received the following Awards, “Young Sri Lankan Artist Award 2018” presented by the Los Angeles Ranwa Reyek Foundation for his extraordinary contribution for the Sri Lanka Cinema, “Promoting Sri Lanka Culture Appreciation Award” presented by the Sri Lanka Foundation International in Los Angeles for his valuable services in organizing and conducting the “Parade of Lanka” on Sri Lanka Day 2017, “Leadership Award” from the Sri Lanka America Association in 2013, “Certificate of Appreciation” presented by the Consul General of Sri Lanka in 2011 for his services rendered towards the community, Certificate of Appreciation presented for his excellent leadership qualities by the Sri Lanka America Association in 2005-2006 , Top “Salesman of the Year 2017” by Colonial Life Insurance Company.

Keith Ranga has truly inspired people to become more involved in the community, reached out to those who are not as privileged as others and share his talents with those around in order to make a positive change in our community and to the entire world.

SLF Int, USA Outstanding Performance by a Young Professional Amith Boteju for his excellence as a World Renowned Musician, Entrepreneur, Producer and Philanthropist.

Amith Boteju, you may know as “AmithWorldWide” from all of his social media, is a young, dedicated, and energetic Sri Lankan entrepreneur and a talented musician with a vision to take Sri Lanka to the global arena not only with his music but also with his business and innovative ideas. Raised in a middle-class Sri Lankan family, he has deep roots in Sri Lanka, which drives him towards his passion for making a global impact on his motherland for its betterment.

He is a world-renowned musician who performs with International music icons like Akon and Ne-Yo. Today he has his fashion line, “Born in Sri Lanka,” established in Los Angeles. In addition, this young individual has launched a project to solve the energy crisis in Sri Lanka by introducing renewable energy with Akon, who successfully completed a renewable energy project in Africa that lit over a million rural African households. He is a young man with a vision and a mission in his life, and he is unique because of his infinite passion for making them a reality.

As the Director of business development at Akoin, he is currently engaged in bringing young entrepreneurs and millennials across the globe to a common platform where they can operate with equal energy and frequency. Akoin is a cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem developed by the visionary change-maker Akon to empower emerging entrepreneurs in third-world countries. Amith works to fill out the voids of development in third-world countries by focusing on technology, clean energy, and agricultural trade. In addition, he is passionate about finding and emancipating energetic young individuals who have potential in these sectors from developing countries, especially Sri Lanka, and bringing them out to the limelight.

He is engaged with all the Hollywood music tycoons, like Akon, Ne-Yo, Jason Derulo, and Swizz Beatz, and his fans worldwide have dearly embraced his work. With all his hard-earned golden opportunities, he is willing to pave the way for Sri Lankan artists with the talent and passion for rap and hip-hop music. He dearly invites and encourages everybody who has an interest to join him in the music industry on all his social media platforms.

He has launched his fashion line, “Born in Sri Lanka”, with his talent in business and relationships built on his outgoing personality, this fashion line has become very popular and successful. This clothing line was initiated with the concept of reminding the expatriate Sri Lankans of their roots and being proud of their nationality. And also to bring the name of our country to stardom in fashion. Through this fashion line, he has allowed the nostalgic Sri Lankans to represent their motherland.

SLF Int, USA Outstanding Performance by a Young Professional Award Winner Talin Silva for her excellence as a Singer, Dancer, Model, and Actress.

Talin Silva was born in Burbank, California, on October 23, 2001. She lives in Los Angeles, California and is the daughter of Nalin and Gillian Silva. She has a younger sister named Kaylan Silva.

She has been performing for the Sri Lanka Foundation International since she was seven. Talin has walked the runway at New York Fashion Week for CHICK FASHION and modelled for many brands, including Claire’s, Sherri Hill PromGirl, Fashion Nova, juicy contour, Macy’s, and many others. Talin’s notable TV work includes 24, private practice, children’s Hospital, Jessica Darling It List on Netflix, Webheads on Nickelodeon, and Guest rolls on Disney. Also, Talin is a professional dancer who is represented by one of the country’s top agencies, Blocla. She has danced for the Oscars and Kids Choice awards and many A-list artists such as Justin Bieber, Mary J Blige, and many more.

Talin is actively working on releasing her new EP by the end of the year, and she has been in the studio crafting a new unique, fresh sound, which she is thrilled to share with everyone. With new music comes a new stepping stone. Talin is beyond excited to share with you that she is composing her very first Sinhalese song, and you won’t want to miss hearing about this one.

An upcoming project currently being produced behind the scenes is a Hulu docu-series of which Talin will be a part of, stay tuned for more! As an artist. Talin always strives to be the best role model for her fans and audience. She has been involved in charity work for St. Jude’s and the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. In addition, she has been one of the inaugural members of the Sri Lanka Youth Organization in Los Angeles. Talin always stands by and supports giving back to the community. She will always dedicate her time to bringing a smile to those in need with an open heart. What many may not know is that Talin is a big animal lover. She has four dogs herself, two of whom she rescued on her own. The ASPCA is an American society for the prevention of animal cruelty. Talin has been in a long-term partnership with this organization to rescue many pets and find homes for pet adoption. Furthermore, in her charity work, Talin flew out to New York to collaborate with PromGirl and the Garden of Dreams Foundation to provide less fortunate girls with a beautiful prom dress and their dream prom at Madison Square Garden before the pandemic.

Talin toured Europe, and she performed in 13 countries in a month which was an unforgettable experience. Talin’s heart was so whole, getting to perform and share her music with the world and her fans! When she returned, the tour life didn’t end there, she was back at it, putting in the work and covering 24 states in 2 months, and it was one of the moments in Talin’s music life that she would forever be grateful for have shared with her fans and supporters.

In her career, Talin has many life-long goals that she hopes to accomplish. However, one takeaway she encourages all of the younger generation and fans of her’s to live by is, to never be afraid to follow your dreams, romanticize the life you wish to have, and remember life is always full of new doors, allowing room for opportunity and growth, and Sky is the limit.

Live Love Dream!!!

SLF Int, USA 2005 Award Winner, “World Renowned Soprano Opera Singer” Tharanga Goonetilleke, will Perform at the 2022 Awards Ceremony 

Critically acclaimed opera singer Soprano, Tharanga Goonetilleke was born and raised in Sri Lanka she has delighted audiences with her beautiful voice since she was in grade school. Today and while being frequent performer in the USA Tharanga has also performed to great acclaim in Europe, Canada, India, Uganda, Vietnam and South Korea.

“Tharanga Goonetilleke emphasized Blanche’s naïveté and fears, her passionate searching and her final acceptance with glowing tones and phrasing, both clear and luxurious…..in winning performances filled with emotional truth.” – Judith Malafronte, Opera News

Tharanga made her solo debut as a teenager with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka (SOSL) in 1998 while she was a student at Colombo’s CMS Ladies’ College, after having won the Concerto Competition organized by the SOSL. At the age of 19 she was recruited to pursue her Bachelor of Music degree in the USA by Converse College (now Converse University), where she was the only recipient of the award ‘Distinction in Opera’ upon graduation upon graduation. She also received a Minor in Biology. Later at Converse’s 125th year anniversary Celebration Tharanga was a recipient of a “Distinguished Alumna” award for her many accomplishments.

“When three female relatives surround Schicchi, helping him to prepare to masquerade as the dead uncle so he can forge a new will, the trio was meltingly gorgeous. Tharanga Goonetilleke, who sang in all three pieces, was a particular standout.” – Anne Midgette, Washington Post.

Tharanga became the first Sri Lankan woman and only the 3rd Sri Lankan to be accepted to attend the Juilliard School in New York City. There she obtained her Master of Music degree in Voice and Opera, as well as her Artist Diploma for Opera Studies. While being a student at The Juilliard School she was a recipient of several awards including The Bori grant for language study abroad, Makiko Narumi Memorial prize, Steve Novick grant and the Sing for hope grant. In 2022 Tharanga was invited to be on the faculty of the “Summer with Juilliard” program as part of the voice faculty.

Although her formal education has primarily trained her as a singer, Tharanga is also a well sort after visual artist. To her, both music and the visual arts serve as languages when words alone fail. Her visual art has mostly been exhibited in galleries in New York and New Jersey. She enjoys working collaboratively between these two forms of art. In 2022 She collaborated with the Glimmerglass festival and illustrated the children’s book, The Jungle Book which was a companion to the Opera “The Jungle Book” by Kamala Sankaram and Kelley Rouke. Another recent collaboration of these disciplines has been designing cover art for music albums such as “Home” and “They still want to kills us” both by the label “Bright Shiny things” (BST).

Tharanga’s multifaceted interests and talents have led her to be a trail blazer. In 2015 her journey, story and success also resulted in her to becoming a TED fellow in 2015. As a TED fellow she has given inspirational talks and performances at both TED and several TEDx conferences.

At present, Tharanga continues to perform as an Opera singer, works as a visual artist, runs a private music studio for aspiring musicians, is a faculty member at The Wharton Institute for the performing arts and serves on the board of trustees at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. Tharanga currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and two young children.

Experience Tharanga’s beautiful voice here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgbbBfUCZAw

For more information:
https://www.tharangagoonetilleke.com/

Photos: Ryan Lash, Erica Moffitt and Emitha LLC (@emithastudios)/Christopher Smith

SPECTACULAR CULTURAL PERFORMANCES FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD ON SRI LANKA DAY 2022 VIRTUAL EVENT

Sri Lanka Day Expo & Parade, a virtual Global Celebration, was launched in the United States on the Sri Lanka Foundation International Virtual Platform on August 13th and 14th, 2022. This epic event introduced Sri Lanka’s historical heritage and culture, music, dance forms, and local food and products to a worldwide audience. All that and more while being entertained by breathtaking cultural performances, you can click on the videos below to watch the spectacular performances if you missed the event. 

Throughout the two-day festivities, mesmerizing dance and music performances included Sri Lankan traditional music, dances, art, and theatre staged from Sri Lanka, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, the U.K., and India. The performances were interspersed with a cultural fashion show with Sri Lankan models showcasing Sri Lankan outfits of different styles. 

Click on the links below to watch the Performances by the Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts, formed in 2015, the only Accredited Sri Lankan Traditional Performing Arts in the USA. Its mission is to preserve, support, celebrate and present to a wide range of audiences the culture, language, dance and arts of Sri Lanka through performances, workshops, educational outreach programs, and formal instruction. 

1) The Sri Lanka Day Theme Song dance performed by SLF Academy of Performing Arts Students is a message to all Sri Lankans to come together on this Sri Lanka Day to celebrate Sri Lankan culture and heritage. 



2)This performance depicts masculinity and female elegance smoothly tochzuning the unique classical theatrical effects of the Kandyan dance of Sri Lanka performed by SLF Academy of Performing Arts External Lecturers Nirosha Wijegunasekare and Akila Palipana. 



Stay tuned with us to watch more videos of the Amazing Cultural Performances next week!!!! 

Fundraiser Event Coming Up Hosted by Holy Family Convent Alumni Association of California to Raise Funds for Lady Ridgeway Hospital in Sri Lanka

Holy Family Convent Alumni Association of California

Presents

A NIGHT UNDER THE STARS

JOIN US FOR AN EVENING OF GIVING BACK, LOVE HOPE IN TRUE FAMILIAN SPIRIT.

PROCEEDS TO GO TO THE LADY RIDGEWAY HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN, COLOMBO, SRI LANKA!!!!

DATE: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8TH, 2022


TIME:6.30pm to 11.30pm

MUSIC BY DJ JOHNNY

DINNER, DANCING AND RAFFLE DRAW WITH EXCITING PRIZES!!!!

ADDRESS: 880 ROSALIND RD, SAN MARINO, CA 91108

TICKETS: $80


Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children is the largest free of charge Pediatric Hospital in Sri Lanka. It serves as the national referral center for pediatric care for Sri Lanka. Once deemed to be the largest Children’s Hospital in South Asia, Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children (LRH) is working with a vision of becoming the best health care center for children in South Asia by 2025.

Currently the hospital has six general paediatric Medical and five general paediatric Surgical units. It further has specialised units in Cardiology and Cardiothoracic surgery, Orthopaedic, Orthopedic Spinal surgery, Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Neonatology, Intensive Care, Orthodontics, Restorative Dental Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Burns and ENT Surgery.

In addition to these Radiology, Pathology, Haematology, Microbiology and Anesthesiology departments headed by senior consultants provide quality, assistance to both inpatients and outpatients. Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and speech therapy.

See below list of items requested by Lady Ridgeway Hospital:

List of items


For more information contact:
Ishani:(626)524-6477
Nadhini:(909)609-9787
Flora:(949)295-9216
Thushara: (909)680-2362
Nwlioufer:(909)636-1449

SLF Int, USA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Legend Late Desmond De Silva is honored for his Excellence being an iconic Sri Lankan Singer & Entertainer & Was Known as the “King of Baila”

Desmond Anaclitus Rajiv De Silva was born in Matara Sri Lanka in 1944, studied in St Peter’s College Colombo and St Thomas’s College Matara. He was recognized as being the iconic Sri Lankan Entertainer in Sri Lanka and within the expat communities around the world. Desmond combines a powerful voice with a fantastic range that stirs the heart of the young and old.

Desmond was known as a main stream performer who engaged and entertained audience around the world. He started his musical career when he was 19 years old in Sri Lanka and since then he has celebrated over 50 years as an entertainer. His musical career began when he started as the lead vocalist with the popular bands such as Fireflies, Jetliners, Spitfires and then he formed his own band, “Desmond & the Clan” in 1976 which became a sell out at the Capricorn Night Club in Colombo the nights when they performed. His band was contracted by the Katmandu Hotel where he was discovered by an agent who offered them a contract to tour the Scandinavian region for almost 7 years.

Desmond then decided to sing Pop, Country, Jazz, Motown & Rock & Roll to a wide range of audience and was always able to engage the audience and had the ability to motivate their participation. He was also known as the King of Baila and has recorded over 800 bailas and majority of them specifically written for him to sing. He has also performed in other languages such as Cantonese, Hindi and Tamil.

Desmond’s popularity has soared as a solo artist and he had undertaken demanding schedules overseas engagements at sold out events with his band, “Desmond & the Impressions” based in Sydney. During his Solo Career his Versatility as a performer really shined through his ability to imitate artists such as Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, the Bee Gees, Elvis and even Eddie Jayamana was outstanding.

He was Awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 by the UK Lanka Times in London. He also represented our Mother Lanka at the 5th Olympiad of Songs in Athens, Greece in 1974 and Yamaha Song Festival in Tokyo, Japan in 1975. These are the reputations of his invaluable contributions to the music world.

Not all entertainers are gifted with the ability of going five decades in the business while still sustaining their enthusiasm and demand at the highest level. But flamboyant and dynamic Desmond De Silva did!

SLF Int, 2005 Award Winner, TEDx Gateway: Fell in love with operatic voice at 12, reveals Lyric Soprano Tharanga Goonetilleke

There are many moments that encapsulates all that is charming about Tharanga Goonetilleke, Juilliard trained opera singer. Her performances have been praised by The Washington Times as ‘magical’ and her voice by The NewYork Times as ‘appealingly rich’. Apparently, the music that made her fall in love with opera was a New Zealander Maori soprano named Kiri Te Kanawa.

She was 13 years old and never imagined a path to stardom, let alone a career in operatic singing. Her talent was discovered by a music professor, who brought her to America. She graduated with the artist diploma for Opera Studies and is the first and only woman from Sri Lanka to have been accepted to for Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School so far.

How did a young lady from Sri Lanka decided to conquer the formidable Western art form of opera?

Being a native of Sri Lanka, I never imagined that this would be a career option for me. I was hoping to become someone in the medical field. Music and singing were just hobbies and probably what I was most passionate about. I received a scholarship to study music in the USA, which was the first time I realized that this can actually be a career option for me.

How did you get interested in music?

My mother taught me how to read music. I fell in love with the operatic voice when I first heard a casette tape of Kiri te Kanawa. I was about 12 years old. I use to pretend to sing like her. Our school choir director, Christine Perera encouraged me to train my voice. I have sung leading roles in Opera under the baton of famous conductors such as Lorin Maazel, George Manahan, Anne Manson and Gary Wedow, to name a few. She has worked with renowned directors Stephen Wadsworth, Robin Guarino, Fabrizio Melano and Jay Lesenger.

What are the challenges faced by you?

Being ‘different’ in a field that is mostly made up of those from the West. Having to learn to sing in at least four to five languages that is not my first language.

What are the learning outcomes in the whole process?

Nothing good comes easy. Also, I get to teach other like myself no matter which part of the world they are from. It has been a rewarding journey of performing and teaching.

What are your plans for the future?
Be the best performer, teacher and mother I can possibly be.

What message do you want to give the audience?
How to follow your own unique path no matter what the challenges are.

Achievements
President’s scholarship of Sri Lanka.
Associate of the Trinity College of Music, London.
Full scholarship to Converse College, Spartanburg, SC, USA.
Full Scholarship to The Juilliard School, New York, USA.
Makiko Narumi Prize at The Juilliard School.
Singing at New York City Opera.

Click on the link below to watch her performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNhHT7rZpHc