A video starts playing with three young men pushing a car of the Morris Minor variety. With the gentle swaying music, floats with the words ‘Ape Bappage Punchi Bandapu Akkage Duwa,’ a string of words for a relationship that could be described in one word, spark curiosity to the listener and holds their attention to listen more.

The lyrics go on to unfold the story of youth and romance. The whirlwind attraction, mother who matches horoscopes looking for a partner and the long phone bill commonly associated with such romances are all there, with the parting hope that the song would get ‘hits’ so that he could be able to pay the phone bill.
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The song, which has over 600,000 likes on You Tube is the creation of the members of the band Civil Voice. Sachintha Pulasthi, Lasitha Gunawardena and Chathula Indrachapa make up the band members.

The Nation joined them for a chat, to find the real story behind Bappage Akkage Duwa and backstage lives of the trio.
Their music stems from early stages of life and has spanned school life to adult life when they would pursue music professionally. Today they are a trio of upcoming musicians, rapidly winning popularity over time.

Lasitha and Sachintha met at an inter-school music competition, during their school days. Then, they parted ways, where each of them followed a banking career only to realize that they were far from their true calling.

It was during these days that the band came together in order to participate on ITN Wenasa.

“At the time, our band was not called Civil Voice. We went through five to seven names before we came up with Civil Voice. And it has stuck,” says Lasitha. Bappage akkage duw (3)

They wanted their music to be a medium through which they could talk to people. The two songs they have released so far have no heavy words that are difficult to understand. The words are so simple that they could be grasped by anyone at once. “We wanted to make music that immediately appeals to the crowds. We wanted to include all people into our music, despite whether they are music enthusiast or not,” says Lasitha.

The band has existed for three years before being christened Civil Voice, two years ago. En route to success, they went through a heart-wrenching experience when Vikum Jayasinghe, the fourth member of the band and the keyboardist lost his battle with cancer.

“It had a huge effect on our lives as for three to four years we were together, day and night, practising. We were a family,” said Lasitha.

After Vikum’s death, the band temporarily halted their operations for one and half years.  Lasitha pointed to a keyboard leaning against a wall and declared: “ That’s his keyboard, it is just the way he left it on that last day.We haven’t even opened it up since there are so many memories associated with it. We wish he is here to share what we are achieving now. Wherever he is, we know his blessings are with us.”Bappage akkage duw (4)

Between the three of them, they play up to 20 instruments. Sachintha likes to play the flute while Lasitha plays saxophone, violin and guitar while Chathula plays all instruments except for the guitar. All three of them sing. “Sometimes we don’t sing songs with original instruments the song is accompanied with. Instead, we might play the same tune with a different instrument. This is different and sometimes better liked by the people. Nowadays people like differences as long as these are good. This way, we add some musical value to the original songs”, said Lasitha.

Both Sachintha and Chathula are involved in writing lyrics for their original songs. Together, the threesome acts as their own music composers as well. Speaking on the conception of Bappage Akkage Duwa, they revealed that the initial idea of the song belonged to Sachintha. “I came up with a good melody and wanted to do something different. Typical Sinhala word is ‘Nana’. I wanted to find an expanded form in order to express this relationship. That’s how Punchi Bandapu Bappage Akkage Duwa came about,” says Sachintha.

When asked whether it was based on a personal experience, he laughed it off and replied that his aim was to create a song that ran along comedy lines, which is fun and engages the young crowd. “This has been achieved since the song has been trending on You Tube for about two weeks and topped many chart shows including Asana 15 in TV1,” said Sachintha.

The video is a concept by Jude Jayaprakashan. The director of photography is Chamath Hasanka. In addition to being musically gifted, the process of making a video requires certain acting skills from the subjects. “They actually wanted us to dance on the video. We really tried but each of us kept doing different steps, so they had to give it up,” said Sachintha.

The shooting of the video took place at Galle Fort last year, during the period when the sun exposure peaked and the temperature was at its highest.  “Yureni Noshika, who is the model in the video had an assistant to hold an umbrella for her, but we were sweating like nothing,” said Sachintha humourously reminiscing.

“We listen to all types of music that there is and we are not stuck to one genre.That’s what any professional musician should do, since there are good things to follow in every genre. We borrow from different genres when we create our melodies,” says Lasitha.
The group’s second song Vairaye Ginisilu, takes a different turn. It themed around revenge and explores into deeper meanings.

It’s a rock song, aimed at a different segment of fans.”We actually decided to launch this song as our second at the last minute. We had only a week to do recordings, video and planning. We did shooting at the railway yard in Maradana and even then we didn’t have the audio with us, we only had the lyrics and the melody,” Lasith explained. The song was recorded at seven different studios and took many sleepless nights before it was completed.
Their upcoming song is named Jayasamagi Mawatha. “It explores into behaviour pattern of people coming from different social and economical backgrounds as well as politicians who have different mindsets. We just roll it together, with an interesting video,” says Sachintha.

Covering the costs of producing a video is no mean feat for these musicians. “We don’t have a ringing tone market or anything so it is difficult”, said Sachintha.

They believe creative satisfaction lies with making people happy with their music.

“Music comes from our soul and there is no need to pay people to listen to us. If we work true to our heart, one day we will be successful, we wait for that day,” Sachintha declared in conclusion.

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