A Wonderful Story About a Sri Lankan Boy and the Drummer from Vintage Trouble

One of my best discoveries of 2015 was Vintage Trouble, a modern neo-soul band from LA who opened a big chunk of AC/DC’s world tour. Check them out below and then have a look at the interview I did with them. Not only is this a really good group, but they’re some fantastic humans, too.

The quietest guy in the interview was drummer Richard Danielson. But you know what they say about still waters, right?

Last February, this video of an unknown young man in an unknown country started making the rounds.

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Posted by Gayan Nishantha on Sunday, February 2, 2014

The views quickly piled up. The boy was obviously very talented and motiviated to be a drummer. But who was he? Where was he?

Richard was one of the people who was moved by the video. He vowed to give the kid a proper kit worth at least $1,000–if only he could be found.  Here’s Richard’s quote in the Telegraph:

[The video] reminded me of myself when I was young,” he says. “I wanted drums so bad that I made a kit out of big steel 50-gallon drums and old bottles, and what have you, much like this kid, but nowhere near as elaborate. Thing is, this kid really has got some impassioned innate ability. It’s my true feeling that he was born to play the drums.

One fan named David Tradewell–Vintage Trouble fans are known as “Troublemakers”–made it his mission to find the boy.  Again from the Telegraph:“I thought social media is used for so much nonsense, usually involving selling s— and posting selfies, so for a change let’s turn it into a force for good.”

It took months, but Tradewell traced the original post to a man in Nambara watta-Athkandura, a remote village in the southwest corner of Sri Lanka. Using a local connection, it was determined that the young man in the video was Wanna Pura Thushan Anuskla Dulanjana, son of a poor cinnamon farmer. Mom was off working as a maid in Qatar and hadn’t seen her children in two years.

Tradewell communicated all this to Daniel who put together a Gretch drumkit. Getting the kit to the village was a real ordeal–lots of local fixing was needed to even get on the dirt roads that lead to the village–but he got it done.

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Anushka had never seen a real drum set before, so he was confused at first. But within 15 minutes, the boy had it down. He hasn’t stopped smiling–or playing–since.

You really need to read the entire story. Find it here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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