Stigmata in a Pandemic World: Trials and Triumphs of 2020

Stigmata hailing from Colombo, Sri Lanka is part of the performance arts fabric of the nation. Since the ensemble’s inception two decades ago, the band has forged a pathway for originality through captivating storytelling, a gift to intertwine musical ability, captivating song craftmanship and an amazing live show.

It’s hard to encapsulate all of the band’s accomplishments within a single article. Stigmata’s influence is vast, larger than most people realize. Their music is performed in tribute by a range of artists, be it on an amateur stage to professional platforms, played at corporate and academic events, clubs and pubs, presentations, public and private gatherings, people have walked the isle to their music and been aired in radio stations around the world.

Stigmata symbolizes something much more of course; a sound, a lifestyle, a movement, something akin to a sort of cult like subculture of its own. Stigmata changed the infrastructure and face of the local music industry forever, inspiring an array of talent that have emerged island wide. With a discography spanning four full length albums; they’ve had their albums ‘Hollow Dreams’ (2003), ‘Silent Chaos Serpentine’ (2006), ‘Psalms of Conscious Martyrdom’ (2010) and ‘The Ascetic Paradox’ (2015) be selected globally as album of the year favourites from the US to Europe to the Middle East and Asia. The band hasover twenty songs released, they’ve headlined and represented Sri Lanka around the world, with accolades from being featured on the Discovery Channel and BBC Radio to MTV Asia and Triple J Radio, the band has performed in Army Stadiums and world class Amphitheatres to Auditoriums and Pubs earning a reputation for its authentic innovation and progressive thinking, mesmeric musicianship, deep lyrics and resonating music while amassing a loyal following globally.

2020 marks the mega Twenty-Year Anniversary for drummer Hafzel Preena, bassist Thisara Dhananjaya and co-founders guitarist Tennyson Napoleon and vocalist Suresh de Silva. And despite facing equal hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic having swept the world, the band chose to act responsibly and to keep their fans safe by postponing three overseas tours and a series of local shows. But that doesn’t mean they stayed silent and inactive. The band got to work on its crazily anticipated Fifth album; recording new music in Sri Lanka and sending it to UK to be mixed and mastered by Grammy nominated production legend Romesh Dodangoda. An icon who has worked with the likes of international superstars like Motorhead, Architects, Bring Me the Horizon and Sylosis.

Stigmata keeping busy as always completed and released two singles off the new album (which is still being recorded) the emotional ‘Alyssa’; an anthem as a tribute to pets who are no longer with us, with a unique campaign (a first of its kind in Sri Lanka) supported by a heart-breaking music video comprising photographs and video footage of dearly departed and lost pets from around the globe.

The second most recently released single is a bone-crushing and chilling tune called ‘Sacred Spaces: Solve et Coagula’, its official music video released very recently that has been the talk of music listeners and video production houses. The music video features brilliant animations and startling imagery courtesy of the band’s very own bassist and professional videographer Thisara (Evilcat Lab).

The new album is sponsored by local heavyweights and event specialists Suriya Brothers.

The Four Piece launched new merchandise earlier this year which sold out in a few weeks; the now iconic XX Year Anniversary Armcut courtesy of Empire Clothing Inc., a name revolutionising men’s clothing in the country.

“We aren’t a band even capable of resting on our laurels we think. The moment the pandemic hit we chose to adapt and align a strategy to keep active and working hard, in this case it was in the form of working on the new album and releasing new music – both songs and music videos – to not just engage but give something to our fans who’ve always been brilliant to us. In these difficult times music, art, literature, film and theatre are needed now, more than ever, to give hope, to bring us together and to keep us all entertained through this wretched pandemic tempest raging and defiling the world.” the band responded, exclusively to the Good PR.

Stigmata is one of the most active ensembles, having embraced the advents or technology and digital media, always interacting and engaging with its fans globally and locally. So be sure to check out their official pages on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for some of the coolest content in the region.

2020 has been a pretty shitty year (an understatement really) and so many of us are down, depressed, and really struggling, clutching at straws with this resurgent wave. Yet the band wanted to close with this powerful message. “This pandemic is tainting all our spirits and leaving us all disgruntled and in a dark place. Yet as a nation we have faced a twenty-year civil war, a Tsunami, bomb blasts and so much more. We can and will overcome this, a day at a time perhaps, but we will need to fight this together, we need to practice every precaution conceivable and be safe but also be practical as we can’t let our economy plunge and livelihoods suffer. We need to formulate a plan, endorse good habits thinking of our communities and we need to start building our vocational pursuits by finding new means and ways and strategies in this new norm. Humanity will prevail because when pushed to the tether, humanity always gets back on its feet and pushes back hard.”

To that we at the Good PR say Amen.

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