ARTRA’s Top 10 of Artist Challenge l Music l Francesca Mudannayake

The greatest musician of all times Beethovan says music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is a strong form of expression that provides consolation to many, charged with a unique therapeutic power exerting an enormous appeal on the listeners which help them survive the various difficult human realities. A meaningful rhythmic rendition therefore has the capacity to direct individuals from basic entertainment to deep enlightenment. During ARTRA's quest for young upcoming individuals with remarkable artistic talent through ARTRA Artist challenge, Francesca Mudannayake was recognized as an emerging performance artist for her strong passion and an extraordinary flair in music. Gaining popularity within local and international music platforms as ‘Q’, Francesca admires dynamism and innovation in music which she inevitably fuses into her artwork. And according to Q's belief, experimentation, exploration, continuous learning and consistent practice are the key factors to mastering any kind of art.

Q has released two original songs namely ‘Control’ (2016), one on the tension and complexity of human relationships and subsequently ‘Everything You’ve Heard Before’ (2017) based on the empowerment of Brown women. Discovering her passion in her late teens, Q was determined to pursue music and create a genuine impact on people. Being assisted by the poet-rap artist Imaad Majeed and later coming under the wing of the brilliant visual artist/producer/director Bo Sedkid marked a pivotal change in her journey as an artist. Continuously Experimenting with her writing style, exploring her vocal and performance capabilities, Q is a promising multi-talented music personality. Responding to ARTRA, Q stressed on the immateriality of commercial benefits to her through music such as record deals, followers and tours insisting that her sole purpose is to make good music for people and address their conscience through it. Articulating the significant space music occupies in her life Francesca voiced, “For me, making music combines the best things in life – singing, writing, and performing. It's getting the chance to collaborate and be creative”.

Especially, ARTRA appreciates the quality entertainment produced by Francesca through her music pieces which leave food for thought provoking insightfulness and social consciousness in listeners. Her works purposefully embody an element of social education as they often explore themes like female empowerment, love, sadness and sexuality. Q also believes in the unrestricted freedom of creation for artists where he/she is given full rein to use the visual and audio content imaginatively which is quintessential in conveying a meaningful message across to the audience. Her liberal approach towards aesthetic production justifies the light, carefree yet intense nature of her voice and powerful lyrics. As a selective artist who is hardly seeking the spotlight, commercial success is secondary to Q. Therefore, she deviates from mainstream concepts always willing to differ and defy, voluntarily breaking boundaries through her penetrating voice complemented by cutting-edge music. Notably, ARTRA also applauds her nonconformity to traditionalism or normativity as an artist who attempts to cultivate hope for a more radical and rational youth generation. Elaborating on the role of music in stringing people with similar passions and dreams together Q shared that, “As an art form, it brings other players into the game –music videos require directors, album art requires photographers and graphic designers, recording requires musicians and engineers. Music is dependent on people working together and I find there’s so much beauty in that”.

Francesca has been engaged in the field as a professional singer since 2017, performing at venues such as the Botanik, Colombo Fashion Week, Closenberg Hotel and Café Ceylon. In addition, she has acted since the age of seven following her interest in film and theatre and was starred in Rehan Mudannayake's short film ‘The Red Mustang’ (2017). Q also appeared in Deepa Mehta's 'Water' (2004) and 'Midnight's Children' (2011). In reward to the body activism she champions through her music, Q has been featured in several local and international magazines including L'Officiel Italia, Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka, Fusion Fourteen and Selyn. Proving her all-rounding artistic and professional capacities Q has worked with many business companies and service providers where she has taken up different roles as the Arts Critic/Journalist at Wijeya Newspapers, the Co-manager/owner at Turquoise House BnB and Media and PR volunteer at Arka Initiative. Determined to bring change in the field and give voice to the voiceless through music, Fransesca is gradually gaining momentum in her music journey and she is looking forward to producing more creative and revolutionary music pieces in future. 

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2016 – singing ‘Love You Madly’ with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra at the Barbican Theatre (London) to 700 people.

2016 – Released my first ever original song ‘Control’ in collaboration with Bo Sedkid. Talked about the all-familiar topic of crushing on someone and willing them to make the first move.

2017 - Released my second original ‘Everything You’ve Heard Before’ in collaboration with Bo Sedkid. I talked about the experience of being fiercely proud of one’s ethnicity but finding it hard to co-exist in a world that isn’t so welcoming to brown women.

2018 – The first time I ever heard Bo Sedkid’s stuff was when he and Imaad Majeed released the wonderful ‘Quota’ way back when in 2016. I was so entranced by the song I knew I had to do a remix to it but it took a fair bit of time and the breakdown of a relationship for me to write the full song.

21st May, 2020 Performance Art