Fusion of Cultures and Music Mastery
When the times cry out for something unique, something original, something different, something that brings about change, then that change maker shall appear. Change itself creates change, and change creates people. Change creates music. Music spawns music. And today the youth of the world are into new age music. Music that transcends and dissolves boundaries of the mind. Change ushers in a bold new age. Arjun Coomaraswamy, is YouTube’s most viewed UK Asian Artist. A Sri Lanka born superstar, Arjun is a talented singer/songwriter,
producer and multi-instrumentalist. He is known for his fusion of contemporary western and eastern sounds, combining R&B with elements of South Asian music.
Arjun has a total of over 1.1 billion views on YouTube, and has over 3 million social media followers. Arjun, a globetrotting celebrity, has performed across all six continents over the course of his career. Arjun’s foray into the Sri Lankan music scene has been orchestrated by TMCI-SL, who exclusively represent Arjun in Sri Lanka and the Maldives and will manage his commercial music and entertainment interests in these territories.
The Daily News, recently attended the launch of the remake of the Gypsies classic “Oye Ojaye”, which is a collaboration by Arjun Coomaraswamy and gypsy Piyal Perera. Arjun has now released his maiden entry into the Sri Lankan charts. His dream, we are told, is to perform a major concert after doing some more collaborations. “I have been asked by fans over the years to do a Sinhala song and I’m happy to say it’s finally happened! Sri Lanka has awesome singers and music producers, and I’d really enjoy having the chance to spend a longer period ‘getting a vibe’ of the local scene, and the opportunity to
collaborate with a legend such as Piyal Perera was a dream come true. Ojaye is actually my favorite song from my childhood, so it feels surreal to be able to recreate it with the original singer himself,” says Arjun.
The Gypsies are huge in Sri Lanka. They have always been so. They are one of Sri Lanka’s greatest, most successful and oldest bands. This baila band has something of a baila cult following in Sri Lanka. When you talk about success in the music scene in Sri Lanka, the Gypsies immediately come to your mind. Piyal Perera of the Gypsies has said: “I was very happy to hear from TMCI that Arjun wanted to do a remake of ‘Ojaye’, a song that was very dear to me. Having seen and heard Arjun’s previous work, I was amazed by this young man’s talent. I had no hesitation in agreeing to this very unique remake. I feel he has done such a good job with it that Sunil Aiya would be proud”
Saying that the legend Sunil, would be proud of this collaboration is such a powerful statement. It is a statement that says a lot about the quality and the creative genius of Arjun Coomaraswamy. The music video itself is extremely entertaining and catchy. What makes it so appealing is that it brings R&B into the forest scene. The Veddas perform energetic western dance moves and all the while it is R&B mode. The youth who are into new age music, would simply call the music video and Arjun’s lyrics, very cool. There is also an element of romance in the music video!
“This is my first ever Sinhala song. It is an honor to be here with Piyal from the Gypsies. The Gypsies was my favorite band during my childhood. I grew up in the UK, but I am Sri Lankan, so I have a close link to Sri Lanka. So every time I came to Sri Lanka as a child, I heard this song at parties and weddings, and it became my favorite song. To be able to recreate this song in my style with an English and Sinhala mix, is an honor for me. To do it with Piyal himself from the Gypsies is even better. This is my first entry into the Sri Lankan music scene. I would like to do a concert next year. Most of my songs up to now have been mainly Hindi and Indian Songs. My background in the UK has been more oriented towards the Indian scene/Bollywood/Tamil songs. I am very happy to be back in Sri Lanka doing my first Sinhala song,” said Arjun.
Arjun admitted that “Oye Ojaye” is already a very big and popular song in Sri Lanka, so doing this remake was very challenging. “You need to preserve the essence of the song and not ruin it. It took us 18 months to make the song. We went back and forth, trying different beats and different sounds. We wanted to keep the original Baila feel to it, while making it a bit more Western. My verses are in English and Piyal’s verses are in Sinhala. So it is nice to have a mix, a fusion of English and Sinhala.”
For Arjun collaborating with Piyal was a dream come true. Piyal and Arjun have a very similar mindset and there was a lot of synergy when it came to the making of the song. “Piyal is very chilled and easy going. I have a few more songs planned out, some covers and some of my own songs in Sinhalese. I will be singing in Sinhala more. And again as said before, I hope to do a concert next year.”
Piyal Pererapointed out that Hasinth Pathirana who captured the video did a tremendous job and that overall he is happy with how the video has turned out. The original song was done 35 years ago, yet this new video nicely merges both timelines. According to the original story, the Gypsies go into the jungle and meet the veddas. According to the new music video, Arjun and Piyal go back into the jungle (and they seem to be lost). Arjun ends up rescuing a vedda girl after hearing her crying for help. The vedda girl tells her people (who soon arrive on the spot) that Arjun did not hurt her. Piyal immediately shows up on the scene and the vedda chief recognizes him as that friend he met so long ago. They all go back to the Vedda Village and the remake of the Oye Ojaye song officially starts.
“I love the content of the music video. The aim was to be faithful to the original. In my music video I play the part of a British tourist. Piyal and I go into the jungle. I rescue the vedda girl and then I fall in love with her. The vedda chief recognizes Piyal from the last time. And then everything just falls into place,” said Arjun.