Desmond D’Silva chats to Rob Foenander 88.3 Southern fm

Big Breakfast 88.3 – 4th November 2014

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A legacy of Song – Manny Candappa

Manny Candappa came to me early in 2011 with a project idea, having been recommended by a mutual friend in Tyrone Pereira.

Manny, 81 years old, wanted to record an album of songs in my home studio as a legacy for his family and close friends. So, we discussed the project, the songs and intended production details and “A Legacy of Song” was born.

Along the way, Manny  introduced another person to the recording process, Errol Fernando – pianist and accompanist. Errol would pick Manny up and bring him to my place for recording sessions.  Errol being the consummate professional would record his accompaniment and after a few practices with Manny – we would get to record the vocals.

Manny’s health was an issue at the time and that had to be taken into consideration. Because of his mobility problems, he could only lean against the wall in the recording booth with the aid of his walking stick. It was quite a challenge for me as the sound recordist/ producer but somehow we managed to pull it off.

I felt the completion of the project was an outstanding achievement by Manny.  It taught me a lesson about how, when faced with adversity, we can still somehow overcome obstacles if we remain passionate and committed to the challenge at hand. This is not about “how good” the production is i.e. vocally or musically etc. It is about an elderly gent determined to leave a legacy of song to his loved ones.  All of those assisting, Errol, Desmond White, Karen and myself, remain inspired by Manny’s determination and are pleased to have played some small part in the fulfilment of his recording dream.

We created a “short montage to help paint the picture!

This is Manny’s blurb on his CD sleeve that he wrote as a little background to himself.

Manny  Candappa brings to his singing a rich inheritance of music.
He was born into an ethnic group known as the Colombo Chetties, well known for their contribrution to church choral music.  His father, Lucas, a tenor, sang with them for 40 years.
Several members of his family, for two generations, played one or more musical instruments.  His sister, Prudence, played with the Colombo Symphony Orchestra, and a cousin, Beulah, was a concert violinist.  Manny’s only contribution to music was song.  From a very early age he sang with the family accompanists, and later standing by the piano played by his late beloved wife, Yvonne.
At school, S.B.C., he sang with choir trained by Bonny Fonseka, teacher, musician and composer.  He was often called upon to sing solos at house parties.  For several years he has held sing- a-longs in his home and held annual christmas carol parties.
A journalist and writer, he also hosts poetry readings.  Manny has not had any formal musical training, but had a few singing lessons from well known singer and music director, Lylie Godridge, and under the legendary Otto Neckvatal, one time member of the Vienna Boy’s Choir.
In Melbourne, Manny sang at a neighbourhood house concert, choosing as his song the one Al Jolson chose from his debut, Sweet Sixteen.
All the songs in this album have sentimental associations with particular people and places, making them all the more poignant.
Manny has two sons, one a priest, two daughters and five grand-children.
This album is meant to be a lasting legacy of love and harmony for them and for his friends.

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Don Sherman ‘The Singing Chef’

Don Sherman chats to Rob about his Culinary Skills!

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“KK” talks music with Rob Foenander on 88.3 Southern FM – Big Breakfast

Kaushalya Fonseka Mark, aka “KK”, chats to Rob Foenander about her music, inspirations & aspirations.

Watch the video: Can’t Get You Off My Mind – KK

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Rob Foenander chats to Mariazelle Goonetilleke on 88.3 Southern FM Melbourne

One of Sri Lanka’s great entertainers.


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Remembering Cliff Foenander

A tribute to the late great entertainer
Cliff Foenander

10 Dec 1934 – 21 Nov 2000
(a short tribute by Rob Foenander)

watch in full screen for the best experience, please enjoy

Every year, on the anniversary of Cliff Foenander’s death, I try to do something to relive the memories of the great entertainer and the fantastic uncle that he was ….. a real inspiration to me, so I put together this video.

The soundtrack is from his last professional studio recording 1994.  The album …. ‘Second Chance’.  It was recorded not long after his first battle with lung cancer.  The recording was made possible by Paul Dhamaratne and featured some of Australia’s finest jazz musicians.

The song list was completely Cliff’s choice … music he had loved through-out his career and dreamed of recording one day!

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Kumar Pereira – MasterChef final 12 contestant 2011

MasterChef final 12 contestant 2012

Kumar Pereira

Continuing with my profiling of Sri Lankans ‘making good’, I had an opportunity to meet Kumar Pereira, from Masterchef, at a gig where I performed.  I was instantly taken with his warm personality and can see why he was a favourite amongst the millions of viewers who tuned in to the show.

I’m always curious to know how life is after such success and profile on a mega rating TV reality program. Has it been good, bad or indifferent? Well, check out what Kumar has to say below, it just might surprise you.

RF: So how is life after MasterChef ?
KP: It hasn’t stopped- in fact it has changed,  I have given up teaching design at TAFE and now do other things

RF. What are you doing these days?
KP: After the show, I was requested to do demos around the country and overseas, Fiji, Sri Lanka and in the UK. I was also approached by Allen & Unwin to write and illustrate a book, then the following year was asked to take part in MasterChef All Stars, and continued with doing demos and cooking classes and travel

RF: Has the MasterChef profile then helped your career in food ?
KP: It has been as a result of MasterChef that I have a new career in food, writing and speaking

RF: What was the pressure like on set?
KP: It was immense, very long hours which involved early morning starts and late nights and this was on the set, when we were on outside locations we were flat out for the best part of the day and night

RF: Do you believe you achieved all your objectives by appearing on the show ?
KP: I didn’t have any expectations or an agenda. I guess I was naive, and all I wanted to do was to prove to myself that I could do something I liked doing and to see how I would go

RF: Any regrets or was it all a positive experience for you?
KP: It was a positive experience and I learned so much, both about myself and about cooking, even though it was difficult

RF: Would you take part in another reality show again?
KP: Well I went back to do MasterChefAll Stars, though I will not do another reality show

RF: What were your family’s thoughts on you being a contestant on MC?
KP: Like me they didn’t have any expectations as we didn’t know what to expect. Later however they were very supportive and encouraging

RF: Your other career in Graphic design would appear to be very successful
KP: It was, and I am glad I had that experience as it taught me about working hard and enjoying what you do

RF: Are you still involved in design at all. ?
KP: I do my own website, and have just published a range of cards “Paletteables’ see

RF: How did you feel when your “Kumar’s Family Cookbook” was published in May 2013?
KP: It was a lot of work having to write stories [family history] recipes, test the recipes, and illustrate all recipes as well, all in all it was a hugely hard but exciting project

RF: Was it well received by the community?
KP: From the feedback [press/radio interviews] as well as the talks I had to do it has been received well

RF: What advice do you give to anyone thinking of going on a reality TV show?
KP: Think long and hard before you commit as, it isn’t easy being on the show and even more difficult after it.

Previous Q & A:  Andrew De Silva winner of Australia’s Got Talent 2012.  Read it here  Andrew was also profiled in my Melbourne Observer newspaper column.

As always, feel free to comment or send me a message. I’d welcome any feedback that I can pass onto my guests.

Produced by Rob Foenander




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Life After Reality TV for Andrew De Silva.

For all those who followed Andrew De Silva on his journey to winning the reality TV show Australia’s Got Talent in 2012, you will be somewhat familiar with his story.

From phenomenal music success with his R & B band CDB in the 90s to his fight with cancer and other personal issues, Andrew has put it all behind him and is back in total control.

I was interested to know how life is for Andrew since winning the Grand Prize of $250.000. So, I put some questions to him for inclusion in my music media Blog plus my weekly column in the Melbourne Observer newspaper.


Footnote: Andrew is the son of Carina & Sri Lankan entertainer, Conrad De Silva.

RF: Firstly, how is your health Andrew ?

AD:  Very well thanks, I’m probably the fittest I’ve been in my life. I’m really into fitness & I do my best to keep healthy.

RF: Has the profile from AGT been beneficial in terms of new additional work ?

AD. I used to gig quite a lot before the show as I had many residencies around Melbourne but now, it’s mainly appearances & events. It’s nice to have a break from doing the same gigs every week – although, I was very thankful to be so busy! I also had the opportunity to open for Mariah Carey as well which was awesome.

RF: Has the additional profile helped your music sales?

AD. Yes, I’ve had 3 singles & I’m about to release another single then album. It’s so good to get out some original music again.

RF: Are you getting airplay on commercial radio?

AD: I’ve had great support from radio with my last single “Miracle” which had huge support from radio programmers. When Miracle was released in 2013, it was the most added to radio across all major stations the week it was released. And when in Sri Lanka, it got airplay and also charted there.

RF: How helpful was the $250.000 winners cheque.?

AD. Very! It’s been nothing but a real blessing. Whilst I was on the show, I stopped doing all my gigs just to save my voice so I wasn’t earning anything..Thank God I won!

RF: Was it hard to talk about your stutter and your experience with cancer on National TV to millions of people?

AD. Well, I didn’t plan to. I just started opening up & sharing my life during the interviews. I guess, I felt that I could be helping others & just simply inspiring others.

RF: Was it something that the producers of the show wanted to profile in depth?

AD: They must have because, they like to dig deep into the contestants life. I guess it makes for good TV.

RF. Do you believe you achieved all your objectives by appearing on the show ?

AD: Objectives? Didn’t really have any to be honest except to step out of my comfort zone & see what happens. It was a real last minute decision to audition. In fact, just weeks before the first audition – I tried to back out of it!

RF: How was your Sri Lankan concert/s & when were they?

AD. I went in September 2013. It was quite overwhelming to get such a warm welcome from people there. I took my band with me & the shows were amazing. We all had an experience that we’d never forget. I had only been to Sri Lanka when I was 8 years old, so, it was very special to go there & perform.

RF: Any plans to return for more shows?

AD. I may be there this NYE.

RF: What would your advice be to any artist wanting a career in the entertainment industry?

AD. The main thing I would suggest is to – get really good at your craft & find out who you really are. It takes a while sometimes. Music is one of the most rewarding careers out there, whether you are famous or not.

RF: Ok, so where to from now for Andrew De Silva ?

AD. Well the show was really only the start of the new chapter in my life. The show has been great for me personally. I’ve faced a few challenges head on & my faith has also grown so much. I’m also looking forward to sharing more of my music with Australia.

Produced by Rob Foenander

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