Manike Mage Hithe: Dubai grooves to Sri Lankan singer’s viral track
Posted on September 23rd, 2021

Sandhya D’Mello /Dubai Courtesy WKND

Yohani de Silva, 28, has become an overnight sensation with her lilting Sinhalese song that has broken the internet

Manike Mage Hithe, the Sinhalese viral track that has taken the Internet by storm, is transcending musical, cultural and language boundaries. Sung by 28-year-old Sri Lankan singer Yohani de Silva, the song which translates to ‘Baby In My Heart’, has been downloaded million times on Instagram, TikTok and has crossed 100 million views on YouTube.

From Bollywood celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Tiger Shroff, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Priyanka Chopra Jonas to dance freaks and music lovers, millions jumped on the bandwagon and made their Insta reels.

Khaleej Times spoke to some Sri Lankan residents and musicians living in the city to decode Yohani’s viral track. Asheni Dharmarathne, who is a beauty specialist at Indi salon in Business Bay, says the song sounds emotional and resonates with young couples in relationships. Dharmarathne adds that it talks about the feeling and idea of being in love.

While another Sri Lankan and Sharjah resident, Gayani Hewanayake, says, I think the song is hit because of lyrics and catchy tune. Although people did not understand the lyrics, the listeners were fascinated by the melody. The singer has utilised more dynamic range and performed in a sentimental way and hence the song became an instant hit worldwide, especially in India with Bollywood stars grooving to the tune.”

Hewanayake, who is a manager at Zulekha Hospital, adds, Being a Sri Lankan, I’m proud of Yohani’s performance, her vocalisation is simply amazing and exceptional. Within a short span of time, she won everyone’s heart and I wish her good luck with loads of love.”

The viral version of the Sinhalese song sung by Sri Lankan singer-rappers Yohani and Satheeshan, was released in May 2021, while the original song was produced by Sri Lankan music producer Chamath Sangeeth in July last year.

According to Ushani Karawita, another Sharjah resident, Yohani’s track became a hit because of its easy lyrics and catchy melody”. Yohani de Silva is a young talent of Sri Lanka. She was lucky enough to get the attention of legendary Amitabh Bachchan and the whole world, breaking the boundaries of countries and languages,” says Karawita, who is a music composer and a singer herself. She is also the founder of Ushani Karawita Sangeetha Ashramaya in Sharjah and has created several songs in Sinhalese, many of which have been broadcast on Sri Lankan television and radio. Most of her songs are quite popular on her Facebook page ‘Mage swathanthara Gee Nirmana’.

This song has very decent language and simple words which are easy to pronounce. Sinhala is one of the beautiful languages in the world,” says Karawita.

Jogiraj Sikidar, founder and director of Malhaar Centre for Performing Arts, is a Hindustani classical vocalist. Sikidar says, I heard the viral song when my wife posted it on her social media. She mentioned that she couldn’t get the catchy number out of her mind and was listening to it on repeat. I got very curious and watched the video and could not resist but play the song on loop.”

Sikidar explains that the current version of the Sinhalese song went viral because of its earthy and simplistic approach. The tune is very catchy and Yohani’s voice has a raspy and rusty feel that has done wonders to the overall presentation. The video has been shot with a simplistic approach with a girl-next-door feel. The connotation of the lyrics have taken a backseat for the international audience in this case. It is a peppy and hummable song that everyone can sing along even if they don’t understand a word.”

Sikidar points out that we get smitten by some songs because of their simplicity. We are exposed to flashy music videos with stars featuring in them accompanied by heavy background scores. And then comes this video as a fresh breath of air, which is simple, relatable, hummable, adaptable, and with feel-good factor. I guess the most difficult part of any creation is how to keep things simple and that’s where this song has touched the right cord,” he says.

Yohani’s track reminds us of Kolaveri Di or Gangnam Style which amassed a huge fan following on the Internet in a flash. If your music moves someone, it will work always, irrespective of its lyrics. People connect with the emotions depicted. Food and music are emotions that we all connect with,” adds Sikidar.

The song not only became a hit on Instagram Reels, but also on streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Amazon Music and Spotify.

Dubai-resident Pavithra Uday, who is a radio and television presenter and a singer, has lent her dubbing voice for a few Malayalam movies. The first time I heard the track I remember feeling this will be an earworm that wriggles in your mind. It was soothing, cute and very fresh to my ears. Full credit to the original singers Yohani and Satheeshan who sang it,” says Uday, who has also worked with Indian music directors like Shaan Rahman and Gopi Sundar.

The song was all over the Internet. I jumped on the trend-wagon by making a Hindi version of Manike Mage Hithe that is romantic and could appeal to my listeners here,” Uday says.

Resonating with music lovers world over, Uday adds that music is not bound to any language. We live in a country where it’s easy to meet people from all parts of the world and who speak a plethora of languages and appreciate all genres of music.”

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