Sri Lanka re-discovers Jazz Star Yolande Bavan

Sri Lankans are re-discovering the world famous jazz singer, Yolande Bavan who was born in Colombo on June 1st 1942. Yolande’s career in the world of Jazz blossomed in Ceylon when she had her own weekly radio program over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon, the oldest radio station in South Asia. She soon became a household name in the city of Colombo and participated in many music concerts on the island.
 Yolande toured South Asia and Australia with Graham Bell’s jazz band in the early 1960s. Her big break came in the United States when she replaced Annie Ross and was the toast of America when she sang with the legendary jazz group, Lambert, Hendricks and Bavan.George Avakian, record producer, recalls how Yolande joined the group on the record sleeve notes from Basin Street East:"[Dave and Jon] met Yolande while she was in London and found that she was a fan of the group’s and had learned several of their intricate arrangements just for fun. When a serious illness incapacitated Annie Ross a week or two later toward the end of their European tour, Dave and Jon returned to the States without her. After starting their U.S. engagement, they decided they had to take a chance on Yolande. She arrived just in time for a concert at Union College in Schenectady, New York." Yolande appeared on stage in the USA in a saree – she had a powerful voice and the audiences loved her style.
 She recorded three live albums with Lambert, Hendricks and Bavan. The group folded when Lambert and Bavan left the group in 1964.
 Yolande was mentored by the great Billie Holiday. She met Billie Holiday when she was 19 years old. It developed into a close bond, almost a mother-daughter relationship.
 The younger generation of Sri Lankans and indeed young jazz enthusiasts may not have even heard of Yolande Bavan who is also an actress. She even acted on Broadway, in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Bombay Dreams.’
 Thanks to YouTube they can now see Yolande Bavan in action –
 For further information on Yolande Bavan, Sri Lanka’s jazz star please see her website: