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Friday, December 8, 2017

Mary, Did You Know? - aKaPeLLe (Pentatonix Cover) From Srianee's daughter Manjula

To put all our viewers in the real Christmas Spirit, I wish to add yet another to the list of children of members of our batch who have excelled in the sphere of Arts. The latest addition is an outstanding  performance by Manjula, who is one of the singers in her group in Germany. Manjula is the daughter of Srianee (Bunter) Fernando Dias.

In this capella video, as you would have already guessed, Manjula is in the centre of the group. (Srianee claims that Manjula looks a bit like her. I am not going to argue about that but leave it to the reader to decide!). Manjula also advises the viewers to listen to the video with speakers on or with good headphones. For the benefit of the uninitiated (like me), a "Capella" video is one where the music is specifically group or solo singing without instrumental accompaniment or a piece intended to be performed in this way. "Capella" is an Italian word used for "in the manner of the chapel".

Let me now digress, as I usually do even when writing a short piece! This is another spin off from this blog - learning new things almost every day! No sooner I read Srianee's e-mail, I rushed to Google to see what a Capella video is. That is how I learnt about "Capella", and for a moment pretended to have known it right along! This is also the first time that I got to know at least this much about Srianee's daughter although I have been acting as if I have known Manjula for a long time!

Now, back to Manjula and her video. By way of an introduction, it is a Christmas song by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene. Arranged by Pentatonix, Paul Langford and performed by aKaPeLLe, from Hamburg, Germany (of which Srianee's daughter is a member).

This post about Manjula and her Capella video introduces her to an exclusive group - children of our batch colleagues who have excelled in varying fields, some of whom have already been featured on this Blog. Names that come to mind are Sujatha Maligaspe Lena, Malkanthi Wijesuriya McCormick, Suriyakanthi Karunaratne Amarasekara, Anton Ambrose, Sanath Lamabadusuriya (whose son won fame in Scrabble), Indra Anandasabapathy. I am sure there must be much more out there whose achievements have not reached our ears mainly because their parents are too modest to share with others.

Click on the following link and enjoy!

Have an enjoyable holiday season.


OR see below:


  1. An important correction Lucky, my daughter was a member of this group up until last year, but is no longer a member of the group. She got together with them recently to make this video. The group continues to sing together and you can find some of their songs on YouTube.

  2. I loved the performance! It takes a lot of skill to sing this type of music as you have to really concentrate while you do your part to prevent yourself from drifting to the main theme. Well done Manjula and company!

    It is also a pleasure to note the achievements of other chidren of our colleagues.

  3. What a fantastic quintet! What they present is out of this world! Each one is making a significant contribution and the total effect is fab. Manjula seems to me such an important part of this and I listened to the next piece 'The little drummer boy' too on the You Tube! What a start to the Christmas Season. I wish these young singers all success and I can see that they are already 'right up there'! Srianee, you have to be truly proud of Manjula. You must have encouraged her so you deserve some of the credit. Thanks a lot for sharing this lovely music with us. Zita

    1. On behalf of aKaPeLLe, thank you very much for your kind words!! They are thrilled to have extended their fan base to South Asia! Please feel free to share their videos and links with those who would enjoy them!

      Regarding your comment, my mother definitely deserves acknowledgement and thanks for all that she has done over the years. She has financed my piano lessons, acted as chauffeur for rehearsals (and aforementioned lessons) when I was too young to drive myself, attended every concert, recital, and performance she could (which were sometimes several states away from her), sent me congratulatory flowers, and had the patience of Job when I sang *to every song* on the car radio as a kid/teenager.

      However, in the collaborative and collective spirit of a cappella music, please know that my gratitude to my mother is merely one example. To all of you who are parents or relatives or even not-by-blood “aunties” or “uncles,” your children are grateful for your support in the pursuit of their interests.

      I wish all of you a splendid and peaceful Christmas season!


    2. Welcome to the blog, Manjula. Parents do these things hoping that their children will get some joy out of the experience. I am happy that you do. Aren't you glad that I made you stick with the piano lessons until you graduated from high school? Do visit the blog when you have time because you will find out that your mother has some very creative friends!

    3. Manjula, it is so nice of you to post a comment. I am touched by your comments about your Mum and so pleased that she is loved and appreciated so much. She is indeed a delightful and cheery person we all love and respect.

      I tried my hand at acapella recently when I joined a local choir group one evening with one of my friends who invited me to "come and see". The lady who led us was amazing and I couldn't believe what we came up with once she got the 4 or 5 groups doing the right thing at the right time. I am definitely going again!

      The experience Srianee had with you when you were a kid reminds me of my own children who were led into the music world as a matter of course and started with piano,one went on to clarinet and the other to trumpet but neither continued as they began to protest as they got older! Both are grateful that they learned how to read music and the elder one Gehan bought himself a piano and has gone up to Grade 8! This was purely on his own, of course his mother is an accomplished concert pianist but she did not directly influence him. The other one Roshan play the guitar and forms groups now and again with friends. My view is that their lives are so much richer because of music.

      By the way, I don't know how good your Sinhalese is but the last comment I made on this post which has not elicited any in return, may need translation for you. I said "Akka pelle- nangi koheda" and Akka means elder sis and pelle means a hut and nangi is younger sis and koheda is where. So it goes "Elder sis is in the hut, where is the younger sis?"

    4. Thank you for your comment, Uncle Mahendra! I agree: Life would indeed be empty without music!
      Now I must confess: My mom has taught me many things, but sadly, I am not fluent in Singhalese. I know about ten words/phrases at the most. So, your joke went right over my head!!

    5. Not surprising and totally understandable. I suspect you are fluent in English, German and French and maybe a few more useful languages! I am glad I added the explanation for my little joke! I love punning on words, much easier in English. Have super wonderful "massive" Xmas!

    6. PS. Trust me, the number of comments does not reflect the numbers who visit the Blog as you may have suspected already, a lot of my generation are a bit, how shall I put it, uncomfortable with IT stuff your generation takes for granted. You have a wide audience!

    7. I am glad to see that you two have "met' on the Blog. Thanks for all the nice things you both said about me. (But you knew I'd be checking didn't you?) Manjula, check out Mahengee on YouTube and see what a talented guy he is! And I'm sorry I didn't teach you Sinhala when you were young!

    8. Of course we knew you would be checking, that's why it had to be an honest opinion!

  4. Zita and Mahen, thank you for your comments, which are valued because I know that you two are very talented musicians too. I'm glad you enjoyed their singing. Do follow them on YouTube even though Manjula is no longer with the group. They are thrilled that we have posted their video on our blog.

  5. Lucky, thank you for alerting me to this video I enjoyed very much-
    Srianee, thank you for sharing this with us - so nice you are back !
    This is a perfectly coordinated production- they are a very talented group and your daughter sings beautifully- congratulations to you both-
    Bach Musica NZ have at times incorporated sections of capella into their oratorios by Bach, Handel etc- of course they are a huge choral group
    conducted by internationally renowned German born Rita Paczian who does a great job-
    Bunter,you may remember Miss Simon the principal of Ladies’ College in our time saying that the best of all musical instruments is the human voice, to encourage us to sing- Having been Australian, she did get us to sing “Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree”, though I think her favorite hymn was
    “I wow to thee my country” the English patriotic hymn written to beautiful music by Gustav Holst. I remember singing this at every important occasion in school !
    Thanks Srianee - please congratulate your daughter on my behalf- it was great singing.
    Don’t disappear again !

  6. Rohini, thank you for comments. My daughter and her friends will value them. I know you appreciate good music. How is your piano playing coming along? I have fond memories of Miss Simon and the Kookaburra song as well! I will try hard to stay connected to the blog and not disappear! BTW, I added a comment on Zita's poem which was followed by the lively discussion between you and Mahen.