Your chance to hear the De Lanerolle Brothers live on stage in Sydney on August 18th

Reproduced from the Daily News Sri Lanka

Rare chance to see these exceptional brothers live right here in Sydney.

Click here for more details - Please hurry! Tickets are strictly limited.

Ishan De Lanerolle along with his brother Rohan De Lanerolle possesses one of the most beautiful and potent forces on earth - music. The brothers have been handed down voices that exist in the heavenly realm. ‘Outstanding Persons’ features Ishan De Lanerolle of the De Lanerolle Brothers who shared his views on his music, and what it means to him to have such a precious gift. 

Q: The De Lanerolle brothers have acquired legendary status in Sri Lanka and beyond our shores. How have you become so phenomenal and great?

l;mkkl;'kA. We have taken music and given it our twist. For example, if you take the 60’s and 70’s music, or even the Classical and Broadway songs, what we do as brothers is we bring in the element of harmony. Certain songs which were never written for harmonizing, we sing it in harmony. If you take people like Elvis Presley and his ‘Can’t help falling in love’ to ‘Burning Love’ to a Broadway song like ‘Love Changes Everything’ to ‘Sinatra,’ we bring in a harmony element, which a lot of people love.

This is one of the key factors behind what we do. And we don’t forget people. In our journey of almost eight years, we have always done things for the wellbeing of others such as charity shows for the uplifting of the music industry and working with children. So I think even overseas, people appreciate the way we do things.

Q: Undoubtedly, you have achieved so much, perhaps too many to recount. But if I were to ask you what some of the milestones are in your career, what would they be and why?

A. I would say being born to a wonderful family - my parents and my brother. My parents took very good care of us. My marriage is a personal milestone as well. The birth of my daughter is another milestone. Those are very close to my heart. But at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, one milestone was organizing the first Interschool Music Quiz and also starting the Thomian Chamber Orchestra in College. At that time, my brother Rohan and I were the only two brothers to have won the Best Actor’s trophy. I don’t know if it is still there. Then when it comes to singing, singing with the Revelations is one. Also, being in the team that won the Asian Choir Games and the World Choir Games Championship.

Forming the De Lanerolle Brothers and starting our own tea business was a big milestone. We sang on the same stage as Aaron Neville in New Orleans for an audience of over 5,000 people. Another milestone would be singing on Orchard road on Christmas day to a 50,000 crowd on Orchard Street with screens on either side of the road. You could hardly see the number of people.

Q: How was your school time at S.T.C and how did it impact your music?

A. Before I was at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, I was at S. Thomas’ Prep. Sometimes, I spent some of my interval time in the music room. I moved to S. Thomas’ College in Year 8 and Mrs. Abeynayake was our music teacher. She was such a wonderful music teacher. Mr. Russell Bartholomeus also taught us. My singing started after my O/Ls at college. I joined the choir at the time and started off as a tenor. At that time, my brother Rohan was a bass. So I think everyone felt that if I sang as a tenor, we could sing in harmony and do duets. But I was struggling to hit the notes, so I went into singing bass, because that was my vocal range. And that developed. I was also in the Western Band and I was playing the Euphonium. I was also involved in drama.

We had a farewell to Warden Neville De Alwis. As the President of the Drama Society, I thought with its rich tradition, it is time our college had an orchestra. I had friends involved in the music industry at that time, who went to various teachers to learn playing different instruments. So we brought them together. I wrote the music. So we started off thinking that we would only do the college song and the National Anthem at the function, but we ended up accompanying the entire middle school in their performances for that program. So I learnt organization skills and the college gave me that platform.

Q: Do you feel you and your brother Rohan have different styles in music and how do you complement each other?

A. Definitely Rohan and I like similar types of music, but Rohan will like a certain type more than I do. If anyone asks me what I really like, it is Broadway. And Rohan would say Classical. But definitely we do complement each other in the sense we are able to respect each others’ views, but we are able to bring to the table something new and something different. Rohan and I are very different in our own personalities. That difference is also a part of the success. I am a person who is very quick to announce an idea. But Rohan would be the person to question. So he will try and bring more meaning to the idea.

Q: What would you call your style of music and how did you develop it?

A. Like I said, I like Broadway for the simple fact that it is surrounded by a story. The songs complement the story line. For me, one of my favourite musicals would be Les Miserables. I also like a variety of other musicals such as Sound of Music and Andrew Lloyd Webber. They created such wonderful music and wonderful storylines. I teach children and I have over 100 students. I encourage parents to take their children to watch such productions. Those days my brother performed with the Philharmonic Orchestra, I used to go for these performances and watch them. All of that had an impact. Even when I started the orchestra in college, it impacted me because of what I saw at the Philharmonic Orchestra. I even went overseas and watched performances. My brother used to go for training in England, and he came back and imparted what he learnt to me.

Q: If you could name a few people who you had the honour of performing with, who would they be?

A. We have done opening acts for people like Olivia Newton John in a concert in Sri Lanka and the Bellamy Brothers. Olivia Newton John was very encouraging. It is a great honour to perform with my own brother. Because it is challenge to perform with him. You have to know exactly what you are doing. I have had the honour to be accompanied on piano by Rohan De Silva, the famous international pianist and singing with Sabina Cvilak who has sung with Andrea Bocelli.

Q: Do you feel that the De Lanerolle Brothers have a teenage following? Because these days lots of young people go for rock and hard mettle?

A. When we started our singing, our shows appealed to older audiences. But every year we have noticed the young segment is growing. I have been shocked because I see some of the rock bands at our shows. So I have asked ‘what are you’ll doing here?’ and the answer is very different to what I expected. They said: ‘We have come here to listen to the harmony and the music.’ So we have a lot of young people coming to the shows and they say that they love this music. Some of the parents have told us that their 14 to 16 year-old-children love to listen to us. Music is always something that evolves. If you take Ed Sheeran’s ‘Photograph’ it is loved by all. Young and old people like it, but it is a very modern song. People like different genres of music. People may hate different types of genres. Variety is the spice of life. If everyone allows other people to respect their views, I think that would be a great thing.

Q: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?

A. If I am able to be an impact to society, to some people, and if I have done some good deeds, that is the memory I would leave behind. So I would like to be known as a person who has helped the community through his music and through just being a human being. If I can touch someone’s life and be a healing to them, I have realized the importance of being a human being in this world.

Q: Do you have anyone special in your life and how did that develop?

A. Yes, my wife Shanaz. Our Warden right now. Father Marc Billimoria was my class master at S.T.C. When he became a priest, he was first posted in Moratuwa if I am not mistaken. Then he was posted in Mirihana. I was in India and I had come back to Sri Lanka and he called me and asked me whether I could train the choir. So I said ok. When I went to choir practice, Shanaz was the choir leader.

Q: What is your secret to success and what is your advice to a young boy or girl who wants to succeed? For that matter what is the message you wish to give teenagers?

A. I would say nothing comes easy. You have a tough and winding road ahead. Sometimes there are bumps and potholes on the way. Sometimes you might even be waylaid onto another side. But if there is anything you want to achieve, keep your focus and you will achieve it. So I would want to reiterate in my own words ‘you need to have a plan for anything. There is a lot more training you need to do to keep something going. There is always a lot of work that comes with it. Even with my students, when we do vocal exercises they say it is boring. But if you don’t do those, you will have a good voice but you won’t have a consistent voice. There is always room for improvement. Always get strength from a weakness.

Q: What in life sustains you and strengthens you?

A. God. Finally it is he who makes things happen. We are controlled by the bigger force outside. In our words, it is God but everyone’s faith is different and I think everyone believes there is some force in their lives that controls them. Who decides who gets saved and who doesn’t? It is he who sustains you and strengthens you. 



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