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OpinionsManike Mage Hithe’s Yohani delivers another scintillating single ‘KELLA’

Manike Mage Hithe’s Yohani delivers another scintillating single ‘KELLA’


By Arun Kumar Shrivastav

Do you remember Yohani Diloka de Silva, the young Sri Lankan singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, and YouTuber who took the music by storm with a folk song “Manike Mage Hithe” rendered soulfully with elements of contemporary pop and rap? If you are wondering where Yohani is, let us tell you that she is in Mumbai and her latest song “Kella” (girl in Sinhalese) launched in December 2023 has crossed one million viewers two months ago.

In an interview with The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) in February 2024, she said, “In 2019 when I came down to Sri Lanka to pursue music as a career while training my voice, I set myself a goal that one day I will release my album. That year I did my first song, ‘Free to Love' written by Dilanjan Seneviratne. The title Kella came to me towards the end of the process as the album carries true stories of various women from all paths of life.”

Kella has sparked a wave of reactions from viewers worldwide. The song, accompanied by a captivating music video, has garnered attention for its artistic prowess and also ignited discussions on societal issues.

“I wanted it to be about us. We who fall in love, we who go through body shaming, we who go through a bad breakup, we who are struggling to get out of an abusive relationship. Stories about us. And I want you to know that you are heard and you are not alone.”

The song's lyrics, penned with poetic finesse, evoke imagery that resonates deeply with listeners. From the description of the enigmatic “Kella” with her stud-frilled attire to the rhythmic movements, each verse paints a vivid picture. The fusion of traditional Sinhala lyrics with contemporary beats creates a unique experience that transcends language barriers, allowing the music to be appreciated on a global scale.

“I do a song to tell a story, to bring out an emotion; for me a song is successful as long as it tells the story, but now I have this constant pressure of every song I release to be a massive hit,” she says to explain how with fame and fandom come the pressure to be exceptional. Always!

There's a spectrum of viewer comments on YouTube, ranging from heartfelt admiration to critical analysis. Some emphasize their love for the song despite not understanding the language fully. Others praise the song's ability to capture the essence of feminine mystique.

One notable aspect is the appeal of Yohani's music, as evident from comments pouring in from places like , Bangladesh, South Africa, and beyond.

“It's from Sri Lanka to the world,” she says proudly in the interview, which is why she came back home for the launch. “Having tied up with T Series, my career was set in India. Not knowing how the public would accept it was a huge risk and investment I was willing to take on as I knew these stories had to be heard. And the response makes it all worth it. It's the best feeling in the world.”

Yohani has been working on establishing herself in India, a country that embraced “Manike Mage Hithe” wholeheartedly. She signed a major record deal with T-Series, the world's largest YouTube channel, in April 2022. This suggests a focus on playback singing and collaborations with Indian musicians.

Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1993, Yohani's musical journey began at a young age. Her parents, a former army officer and a former cabin crew member, instilled a love for music in her. Piano lessons and participation in her school's western band nurtured her musical talents. She later picked up the guitar and honed her singing skills, all the while inspired by a diverse range of music.

Yohani launched her career on YouTube, uploading covers of popular songs. Her rap cover of “Deviyange Bare” garnered early recognition, and numerous singing and rapping covers followed, earning her the title “Rap Princess” of Sri Lanka.

However, the global spotlight arrived in 2021 with her cover of the Sri Lankan folk song “Manike Mage Hithe.” The song became a viral sensation, topping charts across Asia and racking up millions of views on YouTube.

For all her success, Yohani is clear about her purpose. “Know your ‘why'… why you're doing this,” she smiles to The Sunday Times interviewer. “Because somewhere down the line with the challenges that come your way you might want to give up but if you know your ‘why' there will be a solid reason for you to align yourself back into the path set ahead of you.” (IPA Service)



The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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