Sydney Kolam Maduwa -The June Swing Along

Sunil de Silva

Sunday night the 24th of June was not an event where the audience sat in a darkened hall watching performers on a lighted stage. The whole hall of about one hundred and ninety women, men, girls and boys, mellowing from the ‘oldies’ through to the ‘not so young’ sang their hearts out.

They launched into the fifty five songs - English, Sinhala and Tamil including some that cleverly mixed Sinhala and Tamil lyrics, demonstrating how the synchronization could be a lesson for our home country to emulate. The lyrics had been compiled into a song book by Gunsamin and Devika

It was a feast of music with the voices of the hundred and ninety sang in a chorus, some singing all the songs and others as many or few as they liked.

In September 2017, The Sydney Kolam Maduwa foreshadowed that we would be moving along the modern trend [in theatrical terms] of breaking down “the fourth wall”. Suggesting by this evocative expression that at the next Swingalong, the audience would be part of the ‘performance’, unlike in the usual theatrical performance, where the actors remain within the two walls and the back curtain of the stage and the ‘open’ wall separating the actors from the audience. Significantly the fall of a curtain in conventional theatre strengthens this perception.

Last year we broke new ground, spearheaded by our MC Chitran Duraisamy and our President Ashra Ponnusamy who led from the front. Once again this year, the Kolam Singers Co-ordinated by – Ashra, Daya Gonsalkorale, Devika de Fonseka and Professor Kailasapathy with the backing music of Roger Menezes, Sudarshini Duraisamy, Ezmal Lye and Priyanga De Fonseka had the audience following the songs first from their tables and as the swing caught on, some joining the singers in front of the stage.

Chitran coaxed Navaranjini  Olegasegarem and Charmaine Vamadeva to take over the piano and keyboard. Other guests like Percy Gunasekera on tabla and Sathis de Silva on keyboard joined the band. The singers in the audience who joined the Kolam Singers, notably Dr Mahendra Gonsalkorale, Pauline Gunewardene, Hyacinth Jones, Terry Fernando, Jaysri Thraisingham, Marini, Kevin Ruberu, Jumbo Jebanesan not only added vocal exuberance but with the backing music spurred the audience into enthusiastic participation.

There was a short break for the raffle draw after which the music led by Roger had the floor packed with dancers. There was such a demand on the designated dance floor that a group started dancing at the back of the hall.

The table décor by Gunasmin Lye and the table plan by Devika de Fonseka had the audience comfortably seated in groups of their choice.

There was delicious food and soft drinks that fed and overfed the crowded hall which was laid out by Senanie, Natasha, Padma, Luxmi, Dorothy MacIntyre and Mozelle Ediriweera.

A cascade of emails from the attendees with glowing compliments that could be encapsulated in one that said “thirty dollars for an evening better than a hundred dollar dinner dance”!

Please click here to enjoy the album of photos from this event



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