Evergreen trumpeter Dallas Achilles celebrated 50 years in the music business in style taking a trip down memory lane at a musical extravaganza featuring some of
Among a galaxy of performers invited by Alston Koch, who was instrumental in drawing in the invitees to honour Dallas, were the legendary line- up from the 50’s and 60’s comprising, Des Kelly, Conrad de Silva, Malcolm De Kauwe, the latter a respected performer in Perth over the past 27 years, and Claude Selvaratnam who had the audience teary and spellbound with their breathtaking performance.
They were ably backed by guitar maestros Milroy Passe de Silva and Tony Fernando, with famed saxophonist Ernie Walker, Dallas’ Anglo Indian partner Derek Stewart, Elmo Mulholland, Eddie James, Rob Foenander, and among the younger generation, Cathy and Peter Menzies and Andrea Marr appearing as guest performers for the night. Incidentally, Cathy and Peter Menzies are the offspring of legendary musician Tom Menzies who was
There were also the musical comedy acts performed by Chris Pietersz and Arthur Speldewinde that had the crowd in stitches. I caught up with
“My first real gig was in September 1957 where as a 16-year-old, I sang at the Christian Guild for the first time,” he recalled. His talent was soon noticed and before long he found himself moving into the mainstream of
Dallas Achilles has been a member of almost every single band of note in Sri Lanka especially the famous combos such as Raddy Ferreira Combo, Adrian Ferdinands Combo, Helen Lucas Combo, Peter Prins Combo, Rex de Silva and the Rhythm Dukes, Gabo and the Breakaways, and the ever famous Jetliners.After migrating to Australia in 1974 with his beauty queen wife Sita, (nee Gunaratne), he played at some of the biggest night spots in Melbourne notably the Swagman, teaming up with Ernie Walker, Tyronne Senn, Felix Fernando, Conrad de Silva and Milroy Passe De Silva who were other well known Sri Lankans to perform at this venue.
At 66, he still enjoys turning up for Replay 6 at their endless dinner dances in
Sunday Observer Nov 4 2007
COMMENT: Tom Menezies was also my guru and taught me the art of playing jazz drums and reading drum music scientifically at his home at Dehiwela in the sixties. Both Cathy and Peter were little kids then and used to sit around me and listen while I played rums and Tom played piano. On some practice sessions I remember Cathy, little as she was then, playing the piano while Tom played on his Double Bass and I belted out the skins. I simply cpouldn't hold back the emotions when I read the above news article in todays Sundat Times. Tom was a fantastic man and a great musician who will always linger in my heart. – Fazli Sameer