Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How To Make A Sri Lankan Hotel Lobby Band

Sri Lanka has such an abundance of good music and musicians in so many styles and varieties. From the point of view of a drummer there can be few countries that are better. We've got the lot, from all the traditional Sri Lankan drumming to the modern drum kit players like Shiraaz Nooramith and Chris Dhason.

But, fuck me backwards with a large drum stick if I have to watch and listen to many more of the Colombo 5 star hotel lobby bands. They may be highly talented individuals, they might well go out on other nights of the week and play in other bands in other venues and have every man and his dog dancing in the aisles but, stick them in the lobby of a Colombo 5 star and they churn out utter shite.

You can make your own one. Here's what you need:

1. A good looking girl with a pretty and melodic voice. She has no bollocks to her voice though and is ideal for singing harmonies and backing vocals on one of Celine Dion's more low key songs. She owns lots of clothes that looked glamorous and sexy around the time that Back To The Future was out.

2. A curly haired Sri Lankan bloke with lots of keyboards. He has a gruff voice and can occasionally sing a tune, a love song, usually Three Times A Lady or If Tomorrow Never Comes. He has a thin pencil line moustache and an occasional guitar. Do you remember Daryl in Coming To America, the Eddie Murphy film? Well he should look like that.

3. About 3 servants. These are essential for setting up, unloading and blaming when things go wrong. Here in England drummers are often used for these things.

4. A drum machine. Preferably with the batteries about to run out. This is essential to make the slow songs even slower and the love songs even worse than they already are.

5. An Arab tourist. The venue will often provide this but it's usually best to bring your own. No other people in the audience will clap or be enthused by your performance, even me, because you've killed the music. The Arab tourist however, can be relied upon to whoop and holler with the attitude and enthusiasm of a Jolie or a Ciccone at an African orphanage's "adopt one get one free" day.

If you can't get hold of an Arab then a middle aged Spaniard or German can suffice, preferably in white trousers and with all the dancing ability of that elephant with three legs at Pinnawala that they spent the previous day watching.

6. A set list. This is the key factor. It MUST contain an array of songs that sound the same. Then they should be played so that they sound even more similar to each other than they did originally. There needs to be a Bob Marley song, a couple of Elton's creamy ones and of those old school country songs that our parents love. They must be sung in the style made famous by Vic Reeves and demonstrated here. Only one fast song is allowed and that song is be Summer of '69. However it must be played slowly and sung in the style of Chris De Burgh having a particularly painful poo.

Then, take all the ingredients and mix well. Add a spoonful of hotel management who insist that you keep it low key and "melodic" and throw in a large pinch of salt.

And, before you ask, yes, I do think I can do better!


Ian Selvarajah said...

Ha ha! Hilarious!! :)

In all fairness though, I did see a couple of really good bands back when I was there. Can't remember the names though...

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Hey Ian, long time no see. There are many great bands in SL, it's just those hotel lobby bands that I can't stand and even that's probably because they're told to play that way.