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.