Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:47

Beyond negativity

Trust and Respect are the values Ranilkumar Amirthiah band leader of Black has built his career on. He often says that the people in front of the mike are more important that those behind the mike. Amirthiah believes in respecting his audience, his band members and enjoying his music. Melodies speaks to Amirthiah leader of Black, on music and life.

At the time Black started they did not have a fixed name, and this was 17 years ago. They started out as a three piece band, and they occasionally got another guy to join them, and they played as a four piece band. One day they were playing at Otters, and they were asked what the name of their band was. As they had no name Ranil looked around and they were all wearing black. And so Ranil said that the name of their band was Black! So that name stuck. So Black represents a lot of ideas.

Amirthiah uses FB to write about social issues and issues in life that he feels he needs to talk about. Now and then he posts quotes. So he calls it the ‘Black Board’. So when he gets an idea, he puts it and the date he got it, on his notes on his phone. And when he perfects it, he puts it down on FB.

“To me Black is actually a bit of a fashion statement and not a color. So for me it covers everything. Our band is famous for doing cover songs. So my pay off/ tag line for the band was that ‘black covers everything’. Black is me. A lot of people call ‘Black’ a negative thing, but for me, it is a very positive thing. But it has worked for me! Black is also simple and nothing flashy” said Amirthiah

If people think that ‘Black’ is strange that is the intrigue that he wants to create. Ranil is a simple person! The band ‘Black’, makes music for their audience, as simple as that. When they are in front of a roomful of people everyone matters. Everyone needs to get the vibe. This is their simple philosophy. When Amirthiah surveys his crowd, he knows that he will do the event to the best of his ability. His music is for his people. When a performer is sensitive to his or her audience that is when the event becomes something really great. Amirthiah more than a musician is an entertainer. To see a happy audience is his reward. His voice is combined with the passion within his heart. He is a crowd pleaser.

“The people in front of the mike are more important than the people behind the mike. That is my principle. As the band leader I must make sure that happens and I choose the right song and sequence and how it will entertain the people,” stated Amirthiah

Amirthiah believes making the wedding something special for the couple as they take their first dance. He understands that the wedding day is the most important day for a man and his wife. That dance is what they will remember. Everyone will also remember the band that played at the event and went out of their way to make the wedding grand and unforgettable. The band that made the wedding a royal wedding.

“70 percent of our music is our wedding business. I have to think how the couple will enjoy the music. At weddings some of the younger crowd at the end ask us for some rock and then we play!” said Amirthiah.

At private parties and dinner dances at times Black will play rock. At night clubs they used to predominately play rock. These events also calls for adaptation. Amirthiah personally believes that people will like anything if the band is good. Some of their performances have involved ‘3 Doors Down’, Nirvana, Pink Floyd and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“I like Jazz. I like any kind of music really. Personally I do not like heavy metal but I do like rock. I like alternate. When I write lyrics for my originals, suddenly I get ideas and that is the inspiration. Our first original came out of a birthday card I wrote for my wife. I wrote some words for her and she said it was nice. So I took it and made it into a song. We have put out five original Sinhala songs and one English Original (For t20 2012),” pointed out Amirthiah

Amirthiah’s men are safe. All his band members and four helpers are living good lives. Amirthiah is also doing well. This is all through the band. To see them leading comfortable life is Amirthiah’s greatest satisfaction. They make good money through the band. They have their houses and cars. This band which began in humble circumstances is now one of the most sought after bands in Sri Lanka.

“The band we started out as a hobby has now become so successful and profitable. And I have never begged anyone for work. A band needs to show what they are made of,” said Amirthiah.

Amirthiah’s deep beliefs about trust and respect which are the hallmarks of his professional life are also his deepest beliefs on life itself.

“I often wonder if people can believe in a God which they cannot see, then why do they not believe in people who they can see? I am not an atheist, agnostic or religious person. I just do not want to believe in something that I have not seen or experienced. They day I see it, feel it or experience it, is the day I start to follow it,” said Amirthiah.

As mentioned above he believes in respecting his audience and putting them before everything. This selfless value is also to be seen off stage. Trust to Amirthiah is priceless. Mistrust can be seen in human societies throughout the world. This is a value he has instilled in his daughter as well. It all starts with teaching your children to respect other people and their feelings. You need to respect the religious beliefs of others, but understand that religion which is not based on love and based on violence is a false religion and not a religion at all. Above all you need to teach children to respect life and that violence has no place in society.

“The main issue I see in the world is that I do not see people trusting each other. That is why there are borders and barriers in our world. That is why we lock our doors and go. We can’t trust each other. We can’t even trust anyone with our feelings and secrets. Even families have problems with trust issues. Trust and respect are the two most important things to me in this world. I need to respect someone’s religion. They teach religion in school, but tell me why are they not teaching respect? Why are they not teaching students how to trust? In Japan there is no religion in schools. We are losing our basic values in society,” explains Amirthiah

Finally Amirthiah leaves us with a message -‘You cannot decide who you will be born as. But you can decide who you will die as.’

(Daily News)

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