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Alex & Nilusha Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Review by Liza Dezfouli
Australian Stage
May 31, 2015

Fresh from having won Cuba’s Premio Internacional award for their album Tales to Tell in Havana last month, Melbourne based Alex and Nilusha (with local friends Geoff Hughes and Frank DiSario) opened for The Richard Bona Quintet at The Coopers Malthouse. And what a treat – a double dip of deliciousness this night. Sri lankan born Nilusha Dassenaike is a vocal virtuoso, and she captivated the audience with a stunning display of technique, ranging in style from the most delicate of ‘loungie’ seductive vocal zephyrs to gentle African lullabies to gut-renching dirges for lost worlds, all set against Alex Pertout’s intricate percussion. An exqusitely drawn out classical Middle Eastern lament was the highlight of their set, moving and atmospheric, conjuring ancient times. 


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Alex & Nilusha Melbourne International Jazz Festival
Review by Sean Car
Southbank News
June 11, 2015

Rarely can one leave a musical performance and say that they were left truly entertained, spellbound and captivated by what they saw. However, I would like to confidently speak on behalf of every audience member at Southbank’s Malthouse Theatre on the second night of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and say the Richard Bona Quintet achieved just that. The Cameroonian virtuoso bassist and singer’s international quintet served up an exquisite, fun and engaging showcase of jazz-fusion, Afro-Latin and scintillating solo acapella. And that’s not to take anything away from the evening’s opening act, Alex and Nilusha, which provided the audience with a more than satisfying musical entrée. Sri Lankan-born Nilusha Dassenaike’s voice was like nothing you’ve ever heard come out of a human being. Her virtuosic vocal abilities were more reminiscent of something one might hear from an instrument, ranging from the most delicate to the most deep and enigmatic tones, which transported the listener to another place. All of this in tandem with Alex Pertout’s intricate percussion and interlaced by spells of impressive jazz instrumental.


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Alex & Nilusha Melbourne International Jazz Festival
Review by David James
The Guardian (UK)
June7, 2013

The festival, which continues this weekend, has so far proved a reliable mirror of global trends in jazz. Two distinct directions are emerging. One is the sophistication of the African-American tradition, which stretches back over one hundred years in an unbroken line from New Orleans marching bands to bebop, funk, soul and rock. The second direction jazz has taken is deconstruction, a sort of musical post modernism. Jazz’s strengths, improvisation and an emphasis on exuberant rhythms, are retained. But other elements are drawn from many different traditions and countries. Another variant of the deconstructionist school of jazz is the blending of different ethnic styles. Percussionist Alex Pertout, pianist Andrea Keller and singer Nilusha Dassenaike, appearing as support for Christian McBride, presented a delicate fusing of different traditions. Especially fine was a version of the Brazilian classic 'Waters of March', which was preceded by a vocal tour of Sri Lanka.


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Alex & Nilusha Melbourne Recital Centre
Review by Carol Middleton
Australian Stage
November 26, 2010

The Melbourne support act, Alex & Nilusha was a good choice to open the show. Also drawing on many cultural sources for inspiration – jazz, Indian and Brazilian – the group had a similar lineup to Richard Bona’s and fine musical versatility.


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Alex & Nilusha Melbourne Recital Centre
Review by Romesh
The Mocha Times Blogspot
November 30, 2010

I was lucky enough to notice a poster for a one-night only show featuring Richard Bona and his group, presenting their latest 'Ten Shades of the Blues' album. It was a must see, and frankly, it was an awesome performance, and surprisingly enough, the support act was absolutely amazing. They simply swept me off my feet. They were, Alex & Nilusha! Highly recommended.





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