Sounds of the Underground

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Colombo, 1999

I can still remember the smoky exteriors of the 80 Club down Independence Avenue that night.

I was revisiting a place where my late grandfather was once an office bearer. This meant I was forced into the club’s Christmas parties; an annual episode that would eventually end up with me throwing a shit-fit. A large breaded man in a red suit tried to carry me and give me presents. I was having none of that!

Coming back nearly 2 decades later to have a drink with friends, I was  lucky to be witness to a group of surly young teenagers attempt to play heavy metal. Ok, so they were no Motorhead, but was I hearing what I was hearing? Someone was actually doing something heavier than CCR?

Hallelujah. This is good, very good. But was this to be a flash-in-the-pan sort of thing, or did it have the wings to fly?

———-

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Colombo, 2016

The surly teenagers are now grown men. And their cup runneth over.

A colossal scene has emerged in the world of underground music. A million mushroom operations have bloomed, and some very successfully. Hela Black Metal, Rock Fusion, Pure Sri Lankan Metal, Anarchy – call it what you may, but we’re on to something good. Really good. Sri Lankan musicians are touring the world, and a new generation of metal heads are born. Nails painted black, these broody figures find release in the music and go forth into the world exhilarated for having experienced this sonic boom.

LT Magazine’s March 2016 issue has just hit shelves. Its cover story, Sounds of the Underground was produced by yours truly; a story I must have been writing in my head since that smoke-drenched night at the 80 Club 16 years ago. I write this story because it’s a darn shame that more of you haven’t heard the world-class sounds of your own country. I shouldn’t be one of a handful of music lovers spoilt for choice. Now more than ever, when our outstanding craftsmanship is being acknowledged by experts from across the world, this story must be heard.

If you come across this cover in bookshop, gallery or supermarket – take the time to pick it up. Especially if you claim to love good music. Listen to Sri Lanka’s rich underground that’s been nearly 2 decades in the making. Listen to it before you put on your radio and let Justin Beiber take you away again.

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