Q&A Scene: Sheyana Wijesingha ~ The Sheyana Band

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

Big Hearts is where Big Love comes from. A place where you use your Big Heart to look after your planet and each other. It’s worth it, it means something to be alive in these times. It’s not all for nothing because we make a difference. Big Hearts is more than Big Love. It’s a higher love. I was out of my comfort zone in unfamiliar territory when I worked on that complex riff and unusual tuning. I bunkered down in Penguin, Tasmania and wrote “Big Hearts” with a fine wine, channeling Greg Allman & Foo Fighters for inspiration, I worked relentlessly on that riff and those lyrics. That song kept me grounded and hopeful in uncertain times.
The Sheyana Band’s EP Ricochet came together during covid lockdown in Tasmania. Making the best of a bad situation and with plenty of time to reflect, Sheyana and the band focused on songwriting, and the the music emerged from those strange, uneasy times. The songs were the lights at the end of the tunnel, at a time when we were both separated and unified. Through the music and the artwork, this EP is a tribute to the loved ones we’ve lost along the way, and the big hearts working towards a higher love and respect for one another and our planet.
After Covid restrictions eased, we started working the song into shape in production sessions with the band and sound engineer Russell Pilling and went from beating it out on a cardboard box at rehearsal to pouring our heart and soul into the recording. We recorded drums, bass and acoustic guitar at Red Robin Recording at Leith, Tasmania, getting that live feel down along with one of the best “no stress” recording sessions we’ve ever had. We recorded electric guitars in the loungeroom and vocals in the doorway of a tiny library at Studio 90 in Penguin.
We’ve just done a bunch of sold out launch gigs and live to radio performances across Tassie. The mini album has been well received in our home state.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?

Big Hearts by The Sheyana Band. Big Hearts is my favourite song on The Sheyana Band’s Ricochet EP. It’s a song from the heart. It’s the best track for our first single.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

The Sheyana Band are like a fine wine. A ripe fruity musical banquet, fusing stylistic flavours from Australian Rhythm & Soul, American Funk & Blues, English Pop/Rock & Punk, with a dash of Southern Country/Folk.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

We played support act for Renae Geyer when she performed at the Burnie Arts & Function Centre in Tasmania, a few years back, and would you believe, I got to cook breakfast for her and her entourage the next morning at a Cafe called The Groovy Penguin in my home town.

What, or who, inspires you?

Life, love, family, emotions, knowledge, my musical heroes, courage.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

What are you listening to by Chris Stapleton.

What’s next for you?

More songwriting and recording. Making video clips. Honing our live shows & performing for different audiences at national events and overseas.

What’s your scene?

My family, sharing the love, swimming in the river of music, surrounded by nature.

The Sheyana Band’s EP, ‘Ricochet’, came together during covid lockdown in Tasmania. Making the best of a bad situation and with plenty of time to reflect, Sheyana and the band focused on song writing, and the music emerged from those strange, uneasy times. The songs were the lights at the end of the tunnel, at a time when we were both separated and unified. Through the music and the artwork, this EP is a tribute to the loved ones we’ve lost along the way, and the big hearts working towards a higher love and respect for one another and our planet.

Song Descriptions

Remarkable Man
A full throttle country rock number, a very worthy single to follow up to Big Hearts. The song begins with the full band straight in, it’s up-tempo, catchy and full of riffs and hooks from the very competent guitar section, foot tapping all the way to the end.

My Darlin’
Another full band tune with a Beatles-esque intro, the song then quickly hits the classic americana/country references with the addition of some Hammond and backing vocals to the full band arrangement. Up-tempo and yet another killer tune from this release.

Ricochet
A pumping rhythm section intro starts this up-tempo rocker. Great electric guitars, Hammond organ and the usual strong lead vocal set the tone for this one. You can imagine this being a live favourite, very accessible and plenty going on all the way to the end.

About

Influenced by the classics and drawing inspiration from their deep Tassie roots, The Sheyana Band are like a fine wine. A ripe fruity musical banquet, fusing stylistic flavours from Australian Rhythm & Soul, American Funk & Blues, English Pop/Rock & Punk, with a dash of Southern Country/Folk.

The Sheyana Band shake it up, roll it on the rocks, pour it in the groove and serve it with passion. Delighting audiences with an exciting delivery of powerhouse vocals, brilliant musicianship and heartfelt song writing, their captivating live shows have seen them share the stage with Australia’s finest.

London born, Tasmanian based singer, songwriter and guitarist, Sheyana, has been hooked on music since early childhood. The soulful Celtic/Sri Lankan storyteller brings flavour to the table with her stellar band, featuring Wayne Rand on lead guitars/vocals, Dan Jeffrey on bass & Leigh Hill on drums/vocals.

Having national and international recognition and airplay, the band have supported Deborah Conway, Hoodoo Gurus, Neil Finn, Meg Mac, Mojo Juju, Gang of Youths, Renee Geyer, Diesel, The Angels, Kevin Borich, Ian Moss, Bill Chambers and Fanny Lumsden. Nationally they won “The Chris Wilson Award” for Emerging Act of Year” with their album Big Love in 2018.

The Sheyana Band received a top ten hit in Sri Lanka in 2015 with their single “Keep the Change”, along with a Best Act nomination. Sheyana scored a blues award with the OzSong International Song Writing Competition in 2011 for her song “Two Birds”, which also made it to the finals in “Fresh Air” ABC National Song writing Competition. The Sheyana Band are a favourite act at major Tassie events: Skyfields 2017-2018, Forth Valley Blues Festival 2018, Party In The Paddock 2018-2019, Fruits of the Roots 2019, Festival of King Island 2020, Red Hot Summer after party 2021, Junction Arts Festival 2021, and Riverbend Blues 2023.

The Sheyana Band EP ‘Ricochet’ is Out Now via FOG/MGM

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About Mary Boukouvalas 1614 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.