Orange Mango is a (adjective 1 and 2) and sound-focused act based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. We believe in leaving behind the boundaries of traditional music performance and breaking the routines, because I is the Orange that tastes the mango, you is the mango that’s filled with pulp, we serve ties to not be held back by our loved ones, to create what does not exist yet, we are the concussions of your piss mixed with your grandma's dream, the elephant in the room, the warning sign before the great awakening, also a grand example of loneliness unhinged, mixed with a new age noise pop and a pinch of tech induced funk dance indie pop and a dash of ambient country hip-hop. “Trying to make people dance is never a crime but taking a dump on your best friend's dog should be. Mango mangooo. Goo orange geeeee geee mang mango de orange de." In other words, The orangest mango is not the only one that has the same time as the other one.
Photography by Shehan Obeysekara
The alternative experimental scene in Colombo, Sri Lanka is getting even more exciting. Orange Mango, a homegrown musical group, is as fresh as its name, and it’s here to stay.
Orange Mango describes themselves as a “sound-focused act” that “believe in leaving behind the boundaries of traditional music performance and breaking the routines, because I is the Orange that tastes the mango, you is the mango that’s filled with pulp” and also “trying to make people dance is never a crime but taking a dump on your best friend's dog should be.” Conversations with the personnels were not as absurd as their self-description. An online interview facilitated by Thattu Pattu earlier in June revealed a group of passionate musicians who also happen to be a gang of good friends. The five of them are regular urbanites who go to work and pay their bills and survive the nationwide financial turmoil — just like many other 30-somethings living in Sri Lanka today.
When they are on the stage, however, they are the most colorful misfits willing to do the naughtiest shenanigans for the entertainment of the spectators. They wear vibrant costumes that they designed themselves, including layers of colorful fabrics, head scarfs, and accessories. Their music is full of contradictions: upbeat but it doesn’t make you want to dance — you would want to stay still and watch. It is a blend of pop, funk, and rock, as well as an obvious flare of jazz, but not in a pretentious way. Orange Mango is everything but pretentious.
Orange Mango was officially founded in 2021. The musicians had been jamming together for a while and had long-standing friendships when they were approached by Musicmatters to be featured in one of its live-streamed series. The invitation allowed them to brew their individual antiques into a pot of interesting sonic experience. They insisted on having two basses, and a keyboard player who shouts incomprehensible hums to the mic. They call their own theatrics as “playful”, with an irreverence towards the powers that be. However, their satirical indifference towards the world around them is in itself a sarcastic response towards the hardship they have to see and endure in daily life that often go unnoticed.
They mentioned that the 2019 Easter bombing, the recent economic crisis, and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, not only have put their lives into even more struggle but also shaped their perspective in going through the difficult experience. They mentioned that the sense of community has become even more important, and taking care of each other in their little pond of niche musicians has been even more important than ever. Playing music in Orange Mango has been their fun way to let the steam out. Bass player, Riyal, has said in the interview, “We make social observations.” Thus, it can be interpreted that Orange Mango is a safe space for the musician and for the spectators to bask in the absurd but sweet sonic dessert bowl that is Orange Mango.
Therefore, until it is the time for the intelligible, let’s sing together: “Mango mangooo. Goo orange geeeee geee mang mango de orange de."
A Refreshing Serving
By Gisela Swaragita with contributions from Imaad Majeed
Orange Mango Live
Vijitha Jayarathna - Hello
Nihal Nelson - Koachchi Baila
Sakwala Chakraya - Lunatic Fre
Cancer - Burn Down The Oberoi (And Piss On The Money)
Asela Perera - Ghost Machine
O O - O O
Mix Master Blong Jesus Christ - Live @ Down Town Pulse 2013
We asked Orange Mango to curate a playlist that would situate their work in their local context. They chose to highlight songs by musicians they have collaborated with, as well as songs by their contemporaries. They have found these works to be inspiring and influential to their own explorations.
The audio recordings contained in this playlist have been used for non-commercial, educational purposes in compliance with the fair use provisions of the Intellectual Property Act, No. 36 of 2003.