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Friday, 31 July 2009

J. A. Milton Perera

J. A. Milton Perera (1929–1991) was a leading playback singer of Sri Lankan cinema during the '60s and '70s.

Milton was born on May 9, 1929 the son of J. A. Edwin Perera, also known as Tabla Podi Appuhamy, an accomplished tabla player. Inspired by his father, Milton became proficient on the tabla at a young age.

In 1940, Milton sang his first song for Radio Ceylon, "Alehi Bendi Jeewitha". It was written by Aloy Gunawardena around a Mohamed Sally melody. He subsequently had several popular songs on the radio, "Kale Api Denna," "Oba Wewa Wewa Pahana Mage," and "Kalyaniye."

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Somatilaka Jayamaha

Seldom heard

There are still a few singers like Somatilaka Jayamaha who are not swayed by big money to sing anything in the name of Sinhala music.also continue the policy of lending a hand to the talented singers who wish to do something good.'Siri Yahane' is the title of Somatilaka Jayamaha's latest release containing 16 well-rendered songs. Here again, they are sober numbers when compared with the jazzy stuff we hear throughout the day on the numerous radio channels. Listeners seldom get a chance of hearing Somatilaka's voice over them. What the criterion is, in selecting numbers for broadcast, we do not know.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Mervin Perera

It Was a sad News

2008 Dec 07, Kalubowila: One of the most popular Sri Lankan singer and musician Mervin Perera died this afternoon at the Colombo South Teaching Hospital in Kalubowila.

According to family sources Mervin Perera had suffered from diabetes for sometime and he was hospitalized at the Kalubowila Hospital for the past few days.

Mervin Perera, a father of three children, was born on September 21st, 1940 at Kuda Payagala in Southern Sri Lanka.

A Catholic, he learned the first notes of music from his father Herman Perera, a music master, who first taught him how to hold a violin.

Following fathers guidance young Mervin entered the Kalayathanaya in 1959 and after six years of training, started his teaching career as a music teacher in a remote village in Ampara.

Completing almost 50 years in the music arena, Mervin has come a long way since his days as a member of the village church choir.

Mervin Perera has many lilting melodies to his credit and was much loved by Sinhala music lovers.

His songs such as ‘Sanda midulata enawa’ and ‘me nagaraya’ were popular among Sinhala music fans.

An icon of the Sinhala music industry at one point, two years ago he released a collection of

Sinhala songs after a long interval of 12 years.

The collection entitled 'Suwanthethi Kusumaka' comes almost a decade after the CD 'Nilupul Yuwale' of the veteran singer-composer who has already enriched the local music with many melodious tunes.

Among his most memorable songs are 'Oba Dedunna', his debut released in 1972 which turned out to be an instant hit, 'Me Nagaraya' and 'Adare Ran Bingun' which have earned him accolades from both the adult and the young generations.

Despite the immense popularity his talents both as a singer and a musician brought to him, Mervyn always preferred simple things in life and shied away from the limelight.Mervyn has come a long way since his days as a member of the village church choir.

A Catholic, he learned the first notes of music from his father Herman Perera, a music master, who first taught him how to hold a violin. Young Mervyn entered the Kalayathanaya in 1959 and after six years of training, started his teaching career as Music teacher in a remote village in Ampara.

`It was in Ampara that I started composing music. Before I left for the job, my friend Tilakasiri Fernando gifted me with a guitar. So when I am in a pensive mood, I would just take the guitar and compose different tunes`.

Not for a moment did he fancy that these tunes composed as a past time would later adorn many a beautiful and memorable songs like `Pawe Wala` sung by Victor Ratnayake and `Ayanna Kiyanna` and `Nilambare` by Nanda Malini.

According to Mervyn, his career as a singer really started after he got a transfer to a Colombo school in 1970. That year, he participated in a Sarala Gee program at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.

Two years later recorded his first song `Oba Dedunna` written by Premakeerthi de Alwis which mesmerised Sri Lankan music fans. His successive works rich in both entertainment and meaning, proved to be equally good, if not better than, the first hit, and brought him to the zenith of popularity in the late 1970s.

Among his most memorable songs are `Oba Dedunna`, his debut released in 1972 which turned out to be an instant hit, `Me Nagaraya` and `Adare Ran Bingun` which have earned him accolades from both the adult and the young generations.

Veteran artistes like Premakeerthi de Alwis, KDK Dharmawardene, Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne and GSB Rani Perera made a lasting impact in his music life.

Ranmuthu Doowa Film

Sri lankan First Colour Movie - 1962 Director & Writer : Mike Wilson Producer Shesha Palihakkara, Cast : Gamini Fonseka Joe Abeywickrama Shane Gunaratne Jeevarani Kurukulasooriya Tilakasiri Fernando Vincent Waas,This is may be first Film to Asia with underwater scenes,may be world also...???
This is very rare Chance to see full movie,Because no Any Of Full copy even National Film Cooperation SriLanka too,
All of original negatives and copies cannot find out.this was produced to 16 MM version then after blow up to 35MM,
part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

part 5

part 6

part 7

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

C. T . Fernando

Cyril Tudor Fernando (January 28, 1921 1977) was a popular Sri Lankan singer.
Fernando entered music in the 1940s. He was praised by critics for the themes and wording of his songs like `Vana Bamaru,` `Bilinda Nelwa Ukule` and `Rosa Male.` His other popular songs include `Lo Ad Giles Male Tarawa` and `Mariya Mawu Kuse.`


Early life and career
Fernando was born in Kadalana, Moratuwa and educated at St. Mary`s College, Nawalpitiya. As a student Fernando showed interest in the arts participating in school dramas and singing with the local church choir.
In 1946, Fernando successfully auditioned for a position as grade one radio artist on Radio Ceylon. There he had his first popular song with `Pinsinduwanne,` a plea to children to stop harming birds. The song was written by R. N. H. Perera.

Commercial artist

In 1952 Fernando branched out as a commercial artist signing with HMV subsidiary Cargills Company. He recorded many of his popular songs with the label including `Pinsiduwanne`, `Suwanda Rosa`, `Bara Bage`, `Ambilimame`, `Lo Ada Ninde`, `Gilimale Taruwa`, `Kimada Sumihiriye`, `Amba Ruk` and `Bilinda Nelawe Ukule`.
From 1959 to 1960 Fernando was rated the most popular singer in the country. He continued his recording career recording the LP `The Golden Voice of C.T. Fernando` with the Lewis Brown company. His recordings featured lyrics by Lalith S. Maithripala, Karunaratna Abeysekara, Sarath Wimalaweera and Wimaladasa Perera.
Fernando recorded a popular duet, `Pun Sanda Hinahenne,` with Rukmani Devi. Another duet, `Selalihini Kovul Handa,` was done with Lata Walpola.

C,T s son Priyantha Fernando live in Auckland, 2007 .NZ. Music by panduka. Naveen and Bruce on guitar, Levon on sax, Hayden and Thilanka on trumpet, pandu on bass, Nilu and Anil on keys, Amila and Alistair on drums.
Video done by Shyam

Nevil Fernando


will be remembered of those our Srilankan sinhala artists…this is only a few collection…i hope to add more and updated weekly…

Nightingale of Sri Lanka

In the year 2007, Latha Walpola – celebrates 60th Anniversary of her reign in singing overwhelmingly rising to the highest echelons as the incontrovertible Nightingale of Sri Lanka. Latha Walpola – Nightingale of Sri LankaLatha Walpola – Nightingale of Sri Lanka

Latha, born and bred in Galkissa emerged her inborn talents of singing as a leading singer in a Church Choir. Known by her childhood name as Rita Jenevi Fernando she was introduced to then Radio Ceylon (Now-Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation) at the age of 13 years with her mother’s permission by her family friend C.A.Fonseka, a popular Radio dramatist at the time. She started her career in playing different characters in C.A,Fonseka’s radio dramas very popular from late 50s to mid 60s. He was the father of Radio artist C.D.Fonseka.

In 1947 she made her debut in singing “Kandulu Denethe Vehena”, song composed by Vincent de Alwis, the versatile violinist at Radio Ceylon and sang duets with him in his Sarala Gee Programs conducted by Radio Ceylon. Observing her congenital talents and skills Vincent de Alwis introduced her to Susil Premaratne and C.T.Fernando. “Namo Mariyanee” recorded by her in 1948 with her melodious voice became a household favorite in Sri Lanka showered upon with outstanding success. “Seethala Duruthu Mahe”, “Mihiri Suwanda Vihiduwa” “Nunwa Jaya Handa Pem”, “Soka Nege Den”, “Oba Prema Raja Mage” and many other songs recorded in 1948, 1949 and 1950 became highly popular together with Carroll songs composed by Fr Mercelyn Jayakody.

She was fortunate to have recorded a few songs like “Sukomala Banda Lelawa”, “Dunhinda Helena” and “Diyaluma Helena” originally sung by Chitra Somapala. By 1950 she became a shining spectacle invading the living rooms of each and every household in Sri Lanka by her beaming golden voice. Mohamed Ghouse, P.L.A.Somapala and B.S.Perera the famous musicians at the time brilliantly utilized her harmonious voice of high-pitched tone into their musical creations.

It is hard to reminiscence the exact number of songs that she has recorded so far. The proximate number of songs she is credited with could be penned 6000 as known at the 50th Anniversary of Celebrations in 1997. Basically it is presumed that the total number of songs would be 6500 by now.

In recognition of her miraculous voice par with the award winning Latha Mangeshkar, Queen of Music in India, deep voice playback singer Susil Premaratne named this future Nightingale of Sri Lanka as one and only Latha of the island of Sri Lanka.

Latha made her debut in playback singing for film “Eda Rae” in 1952 albeit it was screened in 1953. This sparkling artist recorded songs for three films during the same year as an amateur. Latha and Dharmadasa Walpola began their career as the most successful playback singers by singing in “Prema Tharangaya” for the first time. It is historically significant that it was Music Director Muttusami’s first film too. The melodious songs such as “Honda hondama veya lowa kisima thenaka nehe”, “Pera kala pawa paladee pape gewawi” have remained etched in our memories for decades. Embraced with abundance of affection and attachment, this singing duo got married and Latha became known as Latha Walpola. By 1958 Latha & Dharmadasa were the only two leading playback singers in Sri Lanka film industry. Amazingly Latha had contributed to a record number of 22 films after five years of her debut in film industry that is by 1958 while versatile actress-singer Rukmani Devi had made it for only 10 films. During the last 54 years Latha has made a reputation of recording for nearly 580 films some of which are yet to be screened. Film.

It was a great honor to those Radio artists Susil Premaratne, C.T.Fernando, C.D.Fonseka, Edward Perera, B.P.Wickremasinghe, Clarence Wijewardana, Haroon Lanthra, Dharmadasa Walpola, Mohideen Baig, W.D.Amaradeva, Milton Perera, H.R.Jothipala, Victor Ratnayake, T.M.Jayaratne, Milton Mallawarachchi, Sanath Nandasiri, M.S.Fernando, Rukhantha Gunatilleke, Gratien Ananda, Samantha Perera, G.S.B.Rani Perera, Indrani Wijebandara and Sujatha Attanayake to have absorbed into singing with this acclaimed artist during the last six decades.

Music Directors Mohamed Ghouse, R.Mutthusami, B.S.Perera, Sunil Shantha, R.A.Chandrasena, W.D.Amaradeva, P.L.A.Somapala, Premasiri Khemadasa, Sarath Dassanayake, Stanley Pieris, Rohana Weerasinghe and Samantha Perera thrilled with admiration of her musical brilliancy have stimulated her contribution of professional singing to their innovative creation of music.

The island recognized lyric writers Ananda Samarakoon (Composer of the National Anthem), Arisen Ahubudu, Karunaratne Abeysekera, Chitrananda Abeysekera, Hugo Fernando, D.T.Fernando, Ananda Sarath Wimalaweera, Fr. Mercelyn Jayakody, Herbert M. Seneviratne, Madawala S.Ratnayake, Chandraratne Manawasinghe, Sunil Ariyaratne, Sunil Sarath Perera, Mahagama Sekera, Ajantha Ranasinghe and Premakeerthi de Alwis shared their intellectual compositions soaked with scintillating lyrics of touching moments in life to this great unassuming singing persona who has conquered the seven seas with an immense reservoir of singing aptitude

She holds the record for being the only artist to have sung with South Indian musicians like Dakshinamurthi in film ‘Duppathage Duka” and “Suraya”, Sathyamurthi, T.R.Papa, Jamuna Rani, K.Rani, Saraswathi and Sri Lankan film stars Herby Seneviratne, Dommie Jayawardana, Vijaya Kumaratunga and Ravindra Randeniya.

Latha the only Sri Lankan artist who was fortune to playback singing under the direction of famous Indian Musicians such as Darshana Murthi, S.S.Weda,T.R.Papa, R. Sundaranam , Raja Thangendra, Gowradanam, and Jayadev.

Latha Walpola has made an exemplary contribution to enrich Sinhala music with her unique style of singing in a lilting and mellifluous voice that has captivated the hearts of young and old equally at home and abroad with lasting memories. “Mathalang” and “Ahankara Sthree” were two films of gorgeous music orchestrated by Music Maestro R.Muttusami featuring the superior skills of Dharmadasa and Latha. “Jevithe vikareki”, “Lankaren malak pipee” with Dharmadasa Walpola (Ahankara Sthree)”, “Pem mala gotha gele” with Dharmadasa, “Ranvan dul karalin pesila” (Mathalang)” and “Loke jeevath vannata dedeneku one wei” with Clarence Wijewardane (Janaka saha Manju) and hundreds of unforgettable lovely songs remain delineated on the lips of music fans living around the globe.

A special feature is that Latha has recorded play back singing for every actress in Sinhala cinema except Rukmani Devi, the Queen of Sinhala filmdom. She started playback singing for Sita Jayawardana in film “Eda Rae” to present day Chaturika Pieris and Anarkalee . In coincidence with her insurmountable musical career, she not only sang playback for actresses Rohini Jayakody and Girley Gunawardana in 50s and 60s but also enjoyed the rare opportunity of singing behind their two actress daughters Veena Jayakody and Sabita Perera in later years.

Since the inception of film industry in Sri Lanka it was she who recorded playback singing for every main actress in Sinhala films. Rukmani Devi sang only for her role by herself. Latha who is recognized to be with a screen voice was aptly offered playback singing for other actresses matching her voice with theirs.

As far back as 1960s it became largely a profitable business to dub Sinhala dialogue into Hindi and Tamil movies running popular in Sri Lanka. In most films the main actresses were Vyjanthimala, Nimmi, Shawithri, Nanda Chitra Krishna Kumari, Achala and Nadira. Latha Walpola was adjudged the best for her pre-eminent singing over original playback singers in India. Playback singing in films ‘Pathiwatha’, Ahinsaka Prayogya,Mage Putha , Angulimala, Sudu Nangi, Shimbo,Veera Putha , Veera Vicrama and ‘Anjalee’ is a clear testament to her masterly performance of fascinated singing.

In the initial stages of the emergence of film industry in Sri Lanka, filming was done mostly in South India since advance technology was not available in Sri Lanka. Propensity of the producers to hire popular South Indian playback singers was challenged by Latha Walpola singing 90% of songs with high degree of unparalleled passion of melody. Indians sang one or two songs for a lesser rate compared to Latha’s nearly 8 songs in each film.”Veera Vijaya”, “Suraya”.and Mathalan are the few example. The most significant contribution she made to the Sri Lanka film industry is that the way she challenged to Indian artists and broken down their monopoly.

Latha is recognized as the only female singer who has a combination of singing caliber of Classical songs, Chorus songs, Baila songs, Vannam and Western songs.

It is said that Latha with Fanto Fernando sang a Western song in the monthly musical program known by “Masika Renguma” music orchestrated by B.S.Perera and conducted by the then Radio Ceylon was vehemently criticized by the listeners for the mere reason it was of westernized culture.

She is not only the leading playback singer but also invariably the successful singer in Kalasuri Khemadasa’s famous gee nalu ‘Bari Sil’, ‘Kela Mal’ and ‘Nawarella’. Kalasuri Latha Walpola sang major songs in “Daskon” drama produced by Herberat M. Senaviratne and in “Kumara Kassapa” opera telecast by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. It has been noted that currently she has been singing the theme song in most of the television dramas.

In addition to her singing she has played a few mini roles in “Eda Rae”, “Prema Tharagaya” and “Radala Piliruwa” and shared her acting capability while singing ‘Ale Nam Kale Nambuwa Soya’ in film “Radala Piliruwa”.

The Buddhist Jathaka story of ‘Angulimala’ filmed in Hindi and later dubbed into Sinhala became a box office movie in Sri Lanka in which Latha dubbed her pristine voice for world popular Indian film star Nimmi.

She missed the golden opportunity of recordings with many high profile singers and frequent travel to India for recordings due her demand of highly expensive charges.

On account of her outstanding contribution to Sinhala music during the last sixty years, Latha’s name will glow writ large in letters of gold in the history of Sri Lankan music. It was just after six years from her entrance to Kala Lokaya that a certain popular newspaper conducted a gallop poll in 1953 to determine the Best Female Singer in Popularity at the time. Vasantha Sandanayake, Vivienne de Silva Boralessa and Latha Jenevi Fernando became the first, second and third respectively.

In the latter part of 1960, a polling contest was organized by the ‘Visithura’ cinema newspaper to determine the Best Popular singer of the era. Latha polling a record highest number of votes became the Best Popular Singer while W.D.Amaradeva, Mohideen Baig, Dharmadasa Walpola and H.R.Jothipala respectively won the second, third, fourth and fifth positions.

Latha the oleaginous four-time Sarasavi Award winner has won the Golden Conch Award in 1995, Golden Jubilee Presidential Award for Pioneers of Film Industry in 1997 and Appreciation Award of OCIC among a number of other accolades presented to her in recognition of her grandiose performance of indomitable competence in singing.

In her accomplishment as the greatest artist of all times, she won the Life Time Awards known as the Golden Swan Award presented by the Lake House of the Associated Newspapers in 1992, OCIC Golden award in 2006, U.W.Sumathipala Memorial Award by the Sumathipala Group and Swarnabhimani Golden Award by Swarnavahini.

In 1974 Deepasika Award was presented to her in appreciation of her achievement as the only female singer who remarkably contributed a maximum number of songs to the film industry in Sri Lanka.

As a tribute to her outstanding presentation of musical brilliancy, the Government of Sri Lanka has quite appropriately honored her with Kala Suri Award distinctively awarded to the rare and precious greatness of inestimable contribution made to Arts & Culture.

Latha, gifted with artistic aptitude albeit no education background in music, has surprised the versatile musicians with her adaptable high scale singing. She has developed her innate talents during the last 60 years of singing with primordial function of voice rising to the loftiest heights of her musical career. Sri Lanka lends a degree of credence to her glistening glory in music and owes a debt of gratitude for her admirable dedication to music in entertaining the people home and the Sri Lankan expatriates abroad. She is a National Treasure worthy of emulation. Latha Walpola is the indisputable Nightingale of Sri Lanka.

By T.K.Premadasa

- Asian Tribune –

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Sunil Santha

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Baddaliyanage Don Joseph John alias Sunil Santha was born on 14th of April 1915 at Dehiyagatha, Jaela. His parents died whilst he was still a baby, so he was brought up by his grand mother and uncles. His youngest uncle Mr.M.J.Perera was a music lover. Sunil Santha learned to play the harmonium from him.

He came first in the island in the school leaving certificate examination and won the Weeraratne award. In 1933 he passed the Teachers Final Examination. As a teacher at Mt.Calvary School he exhibited his talent in drama, vocal, music, art and handwork.

From 1936 to 1939 his students won the competition at the Southern Schools Music Competition thrice and the challenge cup was given to the Calvary school. In 1938 he passed the Intermediate Gandarva Examination and also obtained a certificate in physical training and learned to play the piono accordion and the gitar. He learned Sinhala folk songs and Wannam from Urapola Banda Gurunnanse.

Before long ,however he gave up teaching to pursue a musical carrier ,and in 1939 left for India where he studied ndustani,Classical and Bengali Orchestral and Vocal music, first at ShantiNiketan. After spending one year he went to Batkhande Sangeeth Vidyapeeth. ,Allahabad. He became first in the first Division in instrumental(sitar)and first Division in vocal where he obtained Sangeeth Visarad Degree after four year course of study

In 1944 he returned to the Island as Sunil Santha. He met Mr. Kapukotuwa and as The Government had appointed a person for the post of music inspector he refused the music teachers appointment. He read the books by Munidasa Kumaratunga and Raphiel Thennakoon and realized the necessity of creating Sri Lankan music.

He wrote a letter titled Montessori Method of Music to the Silumina Newspaper and on shorter method to learning music to Prabodaya. He started a music class at Kanuwana, Jaela. In 1946 he stayed in the house of Suriyashankar Molligoda at Bambalapitiya and started his quest to find Sinhala Music. On the 2nd of March 1946 he sang songs at the Kumaratunga Commemoration ceremony, soon he became a superstar after he recorded Olu Pipila at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. That was the first song recorded in a record.

The people who saw him performing those days compared him to a Greek god. Another compared him to a handsome Indian prince with Aryan features. His skin was ivory in colour. He was five feet 11 inches tall.

In 1946 he published his first song book "Ridi Walawa". He created songs which he sang for various charity songs like Home for the Elders of Mallika in Colombo. He published many song books. They are Hela Ridi Walawa, Mihiriyawa Mal Mihira, Heli Mihira, Sunil Handa, Song Folio, Song of Lanka, Guvan Thotilla, Desheeya Sangeethaya, Sangeethaye Atthiwarama as Sunil was against Indian Ragadari music his enemies started a battle to expel him form the Radio Ceylon.

They damaged across his discs and some of the people who were with him at the beginning pirated his songs and published them to earn money. Sunil attacked these people in his song books. In 1951 Peramuna news paper did a survey and named Sunil Santha as the most popular singer of the year.

Meanwhile the enemies of Sunil Santha who favored Hindustani Music laid a trap on him. That was to get down Mr. Ratanjankar from India to audition the Sinhala artists. They mentioned that anybody who refused that audition would be expelled from the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. The Lankadeepa News paper published an editorial against the audition of Mr. Ratanjankar. They questioned about the special reason for bringing down Ratanjankar to audition the Sinhala artists. Would that be necessary for his pupils like Sunil Santha to face that audition? Is it necessary to audition artists at this time? Are they doing that for the progress of art? That news paper protested against the audition of Ratanjankar.

Sunil Santha boycotted the audition of Ratanjankar. He was expelled from the SLBC. In 1952 he married Bernadet Leelawathi Jayasekara. She was a trained teacher.

In 1953 Sunil started his classes in the Maradana Newton building. He promised to teach 10 pupils free of charge. At that time Mr. Albert Perera (W.D. Amaradeva) who played the violin for Sunil Santha’s songs was having financial difficulties. Sunil Santha helped him by allowing him to teach music in his Panadura music classes.

In 1955 the great journalist D.B.Dhanapala started a campaign and exposed the plight of Sunil Santha through the columns of Lankadeepa. The money collected by the paper was given to Sunil Santha.

In 1956 Doctor Lester James Pieris invited Sunil to make tunes for the songs of "Rekhawa" and "Sandeshaya". The songs were masterpieces and even now they are very popular.

Sunil tried various trades like selling clothes and doing photography. He became very close to poor people's hearts. Many parents sent their teenage sons to get advice from Sunil Santha.

In 1967 Director General Mr. Neville Jayaweera invited Sunil Santha to the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and asked him to do programs in music. He created revolutionary music and created songs in one note and four notes and five notes. Mr. Jayaweera asked Sunil to audition the artist. Mr. H.W. Rupasinghe and W.D.Amaradeva assisted him.

In 1970 Sunil moved to his uncle’s house as the land lady wanted the house. Mrs. Agnes Perera the widow of his uncle was very kind to Sunil Santha’s family and asked them to live in a section of their house. His cousins cleaned the poultry shed. They used that as a study room for the family. Sunil and Leela had three sons and one daughter.

Sunil continued to repair radios and other electrical equipments. In 1977 Mr. H.M. Gunasekara who was the Director of Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation produced a record named "Sunil Gee." There was a debate about whether there is a written music in the Sigiri songs. Some scholars opposed that idea. Sunil created Sigiri Gee and showed that there is a possibility of written music in Kurutu Gee as our ancestors were so intelligent in constructing such great buildings as Lovamahapaya and Sigiriya.

Twenty eighth of February of 1981 was the saddest day of Sunil Santha’s life. His third son Jagath was drowned in the Blue Oceanic Hotel Negombo. That death is still a mystery. Sunil suffered a heart attack and was admitted to the Colombo General Hospital. He died on the 11th April 1981.
His eyes were donated to two people.
On the 13th of April he was laid to rest in the Dehiyagatha cemetery.

දේශයක් පිනවූ නිහඬ උදාරකලාකරුවා

ආනන්ද සමරකෝන් පිළිබඳ මතක සටහන්

පුංචි දවස්වල සව් කඩදාසි කෑල්ලක් තොල්පටවල රඳවා පිඹිමින් සංගීතයක් පිට කිරීමට ඔහු පුරුදු විය. මේ පුරුද්ද දුටු වැඩිහිටි ඥාතියෙක් ඔහුට මවුත් ඕගනයක් තෑගි කැර ඇත. එදා සිට මේ දරුවා දවස ගෙවූයේ මවුත් ඕගනය දෙතොල රඳවාගෙනය. ඒ නිසා ඔහුගේ දෙතොල තුවාල විය.

ආනන්ද සමරකෝන් නම් ඒ මහා කලාකරුවා කුඩා වියේ සිටම සංගීතයට ලැදි බැව් ඇඟවෙන එක් අපූරු අවස්ථාවකි ඒ.

එපමණක් නොව සංගීතයට ලැදි සිය පියා (සැමුවෙල්) ඉදිරියේදි කුඩා ආනන්ද සමරකෝන් ප‍්‍රවීණ සංගීතඥයකු ගෙන් නියත වියරණ ලැබීය. ඒ රූපසිංහ මාස්ටර් ගෙනි.

පියා සාදිරිස් මාස්ටර් සහ රූපසිංහ මාස්ටර් සමඟ තබ්ලාව වයමින් විනෝද වූ දවසක වයලීනය රැගෙන එන ලෙස ආනන්ද නම් පුංචි කොලු පැටියාට අණක් ලැබිණි. කුඩා දරුවා වයලීනය රැගෙන ආවේ තත් මත ඇඟිලි තුඩු මෙහෙයවමිනි.

තත්මත ඇඟිලි රැඳුණු ආකාරය දුටු රූපසිංහ මාස්ටර් විමතියට පත්විය. ආනන්ද ගේ පියා අමතා "සැමි කවද හරි තමුසෙගෙ කොල්ලා ලංකාවේ ලොකුම සංගීතඥයෙක් වෙනවා" යැයි ඔහු එසැනින් කීවේ අනාගතය ඉවෙන් දුටු අයුරිනි.

නිදහස් දිනය සමඟ නිබඳව අපගේ සිහියට නැඟෙන ජාතික ගීයේ නිර්මාතෘවරයා වන ආනන්ද සමරකෝන් ගීත රචනය, සංගීත නිර්මාණය පමණක් නොව චිත‍්‍ර ශිල්පයට ද මහත් කුසලතා පෑ අසමසම කලාකරුවෙකි.

ශී‍්‍ර ලංකා මාතා
අප ශී‍්‍ර ලංකා
නමෝ නමෝ මාතා

ලොකු - කුඩා අප හැමගේ මුවග රැඳුණු මේ උදාර ජාතික ගීය පසුපස කතාව ද රසවත්ය.

ඔහු ඒ පිළිබඳ මතක සටහන් තබා ඇත්තේ මේ අයුරිනි.

“1940 ඔක්තෝබර් 20 දා සවස ගෙදර ගියෙමි. මගේ උපන් දේශය කෙරේ, මා සිත බැඳුණු උදාර සිතුවිලි හා සෞන්දර්ය කෙළවරක් නැත. මම කල්පනා කළෙමි. ඒ මේ අත ඇවිද්දෙමි.

රාති‍්‍ර 10 ට පමණ සිය පහන නිවා කළුවරේ කල්පනා කළෙමි. තරමක නින්දක් ගියේය. අඩ සිහිනයකින් මෙන් "නමෝ නමෝ" ගීතය මනසේ සටහන් විය. පසුදා උදේ එය ලීවෙමි"

ගාල්ලේ මහින්ද විද්‍යාලයේ සංගීත ගුරුවරයා ලෙස කටයුතු කළ ඔහු පසුවදා මේ ගීය පියානෝව වයමින් සිසු දරුවන්ට කියා දුන්නේය.

ඔහු රචනා කළ මෙ දේශාභිමානී ගීතය, එම විද්‍යාලයේ සිසුන්ට ඉගැන්වූ පසු ගීත පොතකට ඇතුළත් කෙරුණි. ඒ ඔහු විසින් රචනා කරන ලද "ගීත කුමුදුනී" නම් පොතටය. මේ කෘතියට ඔහු දේශාභිමානී ගීත රැසක් රචනා කළේය.

ආනන්ද සමරකෝන් කරලැයින් සමඟ විවාහ වූ දා

ඔහු මොහොතකටවත් නොසිතූ දෙයක් සිදුවිය. ටික කලෙකට පසු ඔහු රචනා කළ මේ ගීතය කමිටුවක් මඟින් තෝරාගන්නා ලදුව, නිදහස් දින උලෙළකදී ප‍්‍රථම වරට ගායනා කෙරිණි. ඒ 1949 වසරේදීය. කොළඹ මියුසියස් බාලිකා විද්‍යාල සිසුවියෝ "නමෝ නමෝ මාතා" යනුවෙන් එසේ සාමුහිකව ගැයූහ.

ඔහු විසින් රචනා කරන ලද එම "නමෝ නමෝ මාතා" ගීතය පසු කලෙක, "ශී‍්‍ර ලංකා මාතා" යනුවෙන් ලංකාවේ ජාතික ගීය ලෙස එවක රජය විසින් තෝරා ගන්නා ලදි.

ඉන් අනතුරුව 1951 වසරේ සිට නොකඩවා සෑම නිදහස් දින උලෙළකදීම මේ ගීතය, ගායනය කෙරිණි.

ජාතික ගීයේ ඉතිහාසයේ වගතුග සොයා යන ගමනේදී මේ උසස් නිර්මාණය දැයට තිළිණ කළ ඒ සෞන්දර්යවේදියා ගේ ජීවන ගමන ද අමතක කළ නොහේ.

1911 ජනවාරි 11 වැනි දින පාදුක්කේ වටරැක ලියන්වල නම් ගමේ දී ආනන්ද සමරකෝන් උපත ලැබීය. ඔහුගේ පියා සැමුවෙල් සමරකෝන්ය. මව ඩොමින්ගා පීරිස් වූවාය.

පිරිමි දරුවන් හතරදෙනෙකුගෙන් යුත් පවුලේ තෙවැන්නා ආනන්ද සමරකෝන්ය. ඔහු කුඩා කාලයේ සිටම කලාවට ඇල්මක් දක්වා ඇත. එනම් උපතින්ම සමරකෝන් හට සංගීතය පිහිටා තිබුණි.

ඔහු මූලික අධ්‍යාපනය ලැබුවේ පිළියන්දල වෑවල ගමේ පිහිටි රජයේ පාසලෙනි. ඒ වන විට ඔහුට වයස අවුරුදු 8 ක් පමණ විය. ඔහුගේ් නෙත ගැටෙමින් සොබා සෞන්දර්යයේ සිරි විඳ ගනිමින් පළමුව ගීතයක් ලියුවේත්, ලියා ගැයුවේත් වෑවල රජයේ පාසලෙහි කුඩා පංතිවල ඉගෙනුම ලබන කාලයේදීය.

කුඩා සමරකෝන් තමාට අපි‍්‍රය වූ ගණිත පාඩම වේලාවේ දී ගණිත පොතේ ගීයක් ලියුවේ පාසල අසලින් ගලා යන වේරැහැර ගඟ සිහි කරමිනි. මෙහිදි ගණිත පාඩම වේලාවේ බාහිර වැඩක නිරත වීම හේතු කොට ගෙන ගුරුවරයාගේ ඇනුම් බැනුම් වලටද ලක් විය.

සමරකෝන් නැගු සිතුවම්

ඉන් නොනැවතුණ ගුරුතුමා කුඩා සමරකෝන් හට තමා ලියූ ගීතය පංතිය ඉදිරියේ හඬ නඟා ගායනා කරන ලෙස දඬුවමක් පැනවූයේය. ගීතය ගැයීමෙන් ගුරුවරයාගේ කෝපය නැති කිරීමට කුඩා සමරකෝන් දරුවා සමත් විය. ඒ ඔහු කලාවට සම්බන්ධ වූ ප‍්‍රථම අවස්ථාවයි.

තරුණයෙකු ලෙස 1934 ඉන්දියාවේ "ශාන්ති නිකේතන විශ්ව භාරතී" විද්‍යාලයට ඇතුළු වූ ඔහු සංගීතයත් චිත‍්‍ර ශාස්ත‍්‍රයත් හොඳින් ප‍්‍රගුණ කළේය. රාගධාරි සංගීතයේ ද රවීÁද්‍ර සංගීතයේ ද මනා ආභාෂය ලැබුවේය.

ලංකාවට පැමිණ අප දේශයටම ආවේණික වූ ස්වතන්ත‍්‍ර සරල ගීත ශෛලියක් හඳුන්වා දුන්නේය. "පුදමු මේ කුසම්, බැස සීතල ගඟුලේ, විලේ මලක් පිපිලා කදිමයි, පුංචි සුදා සුදු කැටියා, ඇසේ මධුර ජීවනයේ ගීතා, සරු සාර කෙතේ, එන්ඩ ද මැණිකේ මමත් දියඹටා, වරෙං හීන් සැරේ, පොඩිමල් එතනෝ, සුනිලේ ගුවනේ පායා, අක්කේ අක්කේ අර බලන්නකෝ" වැනි ගීත ඒ සඳහා කදිම නිදසුන්ය.

ජන ගී ආරයෙන්, සංවාද සහිතව නිර්මාණය කොටගත් මේ ගීතවලින් එවකට පැවති සිංහල සංගීත රටාව නව මඟකට අඩි තාලම දැමීය.

චිත‍්‍රපට සඳහා ගීත රචනයෙන් ඔහු නොයෙක්වර දායක විය. 'සුජාතා' චිත‍්‍රපටයේ එන "මන රංජන දර්ශනීය ලංකා" "සැඩ සුළං" හී "ශී‍්‍ර ලංකා මා පි‍්‍රයාදර ජයභූමි" "ඉදිරියට යමු සැවොමා" "පෙම් කැකුළ පිපී එනවිට මහදේ" "ජීවන මේ ගමන සංසාරේ" වැනි ගීත රැසක් අදටත් ජනපි‍්‍රයය.

අම්බලන්ගොඩ ධර්මාශෝක, ගාල්ලේ මහින්ද විද්‍යාලය, කොළඹ ආනන්ද බාලිකාව, මාතර සුජාතා විද්‍යාලය, කොළඹ ආනන්ද, නාලන්දා වැනි විද්‍යාල රැසක ද චිත‍්‍ර සංගීත ගුරුවරයකු ලෙස සේවය කළේය.

සිරිල් වික‍්‍රමගේ

වික්ටර් බණ්ඩාර

නාරද දිසාසේකර

සුනිල් සමරකෝන්

ඔහු මෙරටට අග‍්‍රගණ්‍ය ගෝලයින් රැසක් දායාද කළේය.

සී ද එස් කුලතිලක, සරත් ප‍්‍රනාන්දු, අමරදේව, ආනන්ද තිස්ස ද අල්විස් ඒ අය අතර වූහ. ඒ අතර ඔහු විසින් ලංකාදීප, ජනතා, සිළුමිණ ආදී පුවත්පත් වල සැපැයූ ලිපි රැසකි.

ස්වර ලිපි සහිත ළමා ගීත සියයකටම ආසන්න සංඛ්‍යාවක්, පුවත්පත්, සඟා කෘති සඳහා සම්පාදනය කළේය.

අමරණීය කලා නිර්මාණ රැසක්, ඉතිරි කොට අනපේක්‍ෂිත මොහොතක (1962 වසරේදී) මොලොවින් සදහටම සමුගත් ආනන්ද සමරකෝන් ගේ සමීපතමයන් කීපදෙනෙක් ද ඔහුගේ ජීවිතය හා බැඳි වැදගත් තතු හෙළි කරන්නට අප හා එක්වූහ.

මුලින්ම ඒ මතකය අවදි කළේ රංගන ශිල්පී, සිරිල් වික‍්‍රමගේය.

සමරකෝන් මහතා මුලින්ම මම හඳුනාගත්තේ "ශී‍්‍ර ජයනා" ගුරුන්නාන්සේගෙන් නැටුම් ඉගෙන ගන්නා කාලයේදී. එතුමා නිර්මාණය කළ 'බැලේ' නාට්‍යයන්ට සංගීතය නිර්මාණය කරන්න ඔහු නිතර දෙවේලේ එනවා.

ඔහු සතු මානුෂීය ගුණය වඩාත් කැපිලා පෙනුණා. හැමෝමත් එක්කම සුහදව, සිත්දිනා ගෙන කටයුතු කරන ඔහු බෙහෙවින් පි‍්‍රයමනාප කෙනෙක් වුණා. අපි බොහොම මිත‍්‍රශීලීව කාලයක් ඇසුරු කළා.

මේ මිතුරුකම නිසාම කොළඹ ආපුවාම මා සමඟමයි නතර වුණේ. අවසන් කාලයේදී බොරැල්ල "ඩියුරෝයි" හෝටලයේ කාමරයක නතර වෙලා මාත් සමඟ නිර්මාණ කටයුතුවල යෙදුණා.

ඔහු ගැන කතා කරන කොට මහා සංගීතවේදියාණන් ගැන කතා කරනවද? නැතිනම් ඔහු තුල සිටින චිත‍්‍ර ශිල්පියා, එසේ නැත්නම් දේශපෙ‍්‍ර්මියා ගැන කතා කරනවද කියන එකයි ප‍්‍රශ්නේ.

මෙවැනි චරිත ගැන අද අපේ ළමා පරපුරට කියාදීම වැදගත්. මොහුගේ කලා කෞෂල්‍ය පිළිබඳව කතා දෙකක් නැහැ. ඔහු කළ මෙහෙවර පිළිබඳව කිසිම තැනකින්, රජයකින්, ඇගයීමකට ලක් කළේ නෑ. මා දන්නා විදිහට ඔහු, අවසන් කාලයේ දැඩිසේ හුදෙකලා වුණා. බොහෝ කලකිරුණා.

සමරකෝන් පදනමේ ලේකම් වික්ටර් බණ්ඩාර සේනාරත්න. ඔහු මගේ පියා (මේජර්වරයෙකු වන විමල බණ්ඩාර සේනාරත්න) ගේ අතිජාත මිත‍්‍රයෙක්. චිත‍්‍ර, සංගීතය, ගායනය, නැටුම්, ලේඛනය, පද රචනය, රංගනය මේ කොයික ගත්තත් ඔහු සතු දැනුම, නිර්මාණශීලීත්වය හරි අගෙයි. අතට අහුවුණ ඕනෑම සංගීත භාණ්ඩයක් වාදනය කිරීමේ හුරුව ඔහුට තිබුණා. දක්ෂ සිතාර් වාදකයෙක්.

උස අ' 5 අ'' 8 ක් පමණ හීන්දෑරි තළෙළු මේ අපූරු මිතුරා අපේ නිවහනේ තිබූ සංගීතකාමී පරිසරයට ආදරය කළා. ඔහු එහිදී නිර්මාණ කටයුතු රැසක් කළා. මට එතකොට අවුරුද දහයක කොලු ගැටයෙක්. මට මතකයි ඒ ගී තනු.

බැස සීතල ගඟුලේ.... සැඩ සුළං චිත‍්‍රපටයේ තේමා ගීතය වූ ශී‍්‍ර ලංකා, මා පි‍්‍රයාදර ජයභූමී, දුප්පතාගේ දුක, වැදිබිම චිත‍්‍රපට ගීත. ඔහු කලාවට වගේම පරිසරයට ඉතා ආදරය, ඇල්ම දක්වපු කෙනෙක්. ඔහුගේ ගීත ජනපි‍්‍රය වීමට හේතුව පරිසරය, සොබා සෞන්දර්ය, ජන ගීතය බද්ධව නිර්මාණ කිරීමයි.

ඔහු උපතින් කි‍්‍රස්තු භක්තිකයෙක්. උප්පැන්නේ තිබුණ නම පවා පසුකාලෙක ඔහු වෙනස් කර ගත්තා. සැම විටෙකම ජාතික ඇඳුම තමයි ඔහු ඇන්දෙ. ඔහු මියයන තුරුම බෞද්ධයෙකු ලෙස කටයුතු කළා.

හරිම සුන්දර හදවතක් තිබුණා. ඉතාම කරුණාවන්ත කෙනෙක් ඔහු. ඔහුගේ කලා හැකියාව අනන්තයි, අප‍්‍රමාණයි. හරියට මහා සාගරයක් වගෙයි. එවන් කෙනෙකුගේ් උපතත් දුර්ලභ දෙයක්.

මේ ලෙස තවදුරටත් අදහස් දක්වන්නේ එදා ඔහු හා හිතවතෙකුව සිටි ප‍්‍රවීණ ගායන ශිල්පී නාරද දිසා සේකරයන්.

ඔය 1954 වසර. මම ඒ කාලෙදි ගුවන් විදුලියේ වැඩ කළා. සමරකෝන්, සුනිල් ශාන්තයන් ද ඇවිත් වැඩසටහන් කළා. ඒත් හිටපු ගමන් මේ දෙන්නගේ වැඩ තහනම් වුණා.

වනවිට ඔවුන් අපටම ආවේණික වූ සිංහල සම්ප‍්‍රදායක් හඳුන්වා දෙමින් ඒ නිර්මාණ කටයුතුවල නියැළුණු නිසා ඔවුන් ගිය මඟ යන්න මට අවශ්‍ය වුණා.

ලංකා පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේදීත් ප‍්‍රශ්න කළා, මේ දෙන්නගේ වැඩ තහනම් වීම ගැන. නැවත ඔවුන්ගේ කැඳවීම් පණිවිඩය, ඔවුන් වෙතට එදා රැගෙන ගියේ මමයි.

ගුවන් විදුලියෙ නොයෙකුත් කප්පාදු නිසා ඔවුන්ගේ දැනුමෙන් උපරිම ප‍්‍රයෝජන ලබන්න අපට හැකි වුණේ නෑ.

මේ දෙදෙනා නිර්මාණය කළ සමහර ගී තැටි, යකඩ ඇණවලින් ඉරා විනාශ කරපු යුගයක ඒ ගී තැටි, හැකි පමණින් ආරක්ෂා කොට සංරක්ෂණය කරන්නට මට හැකි වුණා. මම නොහිටියා නම් ඒ දේත් වැළකී යනවා.

එවකට මම ගුවන් විදුලියේ ඉංජිනේරු අංශයේයි සේවය කළේ. ඉන්දියාවට ගොස් තාගෝර් තුමාගෙන් චිත‍්‍ර, සංගීත ශිල්ප ඉගෙන පැමිණියත් ඔහු කිසි විටෙක අනුකරණ වාදියෙකු වූයේ නෑ. ඔහු අන්තිමට ඉදිරිපත් කළේ පහණ හා රන් එතනා ගීත නාටකය. එහි ප‍්‍රධාන ගායකයා හැටියට මාව තෝරා ගත්තා.

ඔහු පිළිබඳව නොදන්නා බොහොමයක් දේවල් ගැන කතා කරන්න කැමතියි.

මෙසේ සංවාදයකට එළැඹුණේ සුනිල් සමරකෝන්. ඔහු ආනන්ද සමරකෝන් මහතාගේ සොයුරකු වූ බර්ටි සමරකෝන්ගේ වැඩිමහල් පුතණුවන්ය.

ඔහු ශ්‍රේෂ්ට චිත‍්‍ර ශිල්පියෙක්. ඔහු ඇඳ ප‍්‍රදර්ශනයට තැබූ සිතුවම් රැසක් තවමත් මා ළඟ තිබෙනවා. ඔහු චිත‍්‍ර ඇඳි ක‍්‍රමයේ ද විශේෂත්වයක් තියෙනවා.

එය හඳුන්වන්නේ "පිරිදෝ සිත්තම්" නමින්. පරිසරයෙන් ලබාගත් පස්, මැටි, ගල්, බොරලු, අගුරු, දුරු මිරිස් හා විවිධ ශාක පත‍්‍රවල යුෂ වලිනුයි චිත‍්‍ර ඇඳ ගත්තේ. විවිධ රටවලට ගොස් ඒවා ප‍්‍රදර්ශනය කළා. ඒ රටවල තවමත් ඒ සිතුවම්, කෞතුකාගාරවල දැක ගත හැකියි.

මුළු ලෝකය පුරාම චිත‍්‍ර ප‍්‍රදර්ශන පැවැත්වුවා. පසුකාලීනව කොළඹ විශාඛා බාලිකා විද්‍යාලයේත්, නුගේගොඩ ශාන්ත ජෝන් විද්‍යාලයේත් පාසැල් ගීත ඔහු විසින් නිර්මාණය කළා.

ඔහු බොහෝ ගීත ලීවේ තනුවද හිතට නඟා ගනිමින්. එය මා දකින සුවිශේෂත්වයක්. පවුලේ අයට හරිම ආදරෙයි. ලොකු අම්මා (කරලැයින්) ඔහුගේ කලා දිවියට සහාය වුණා.

ඔහු කලාව නිසා බොහෝ ළතැවුල්, වේදනාකාරී කටුක අත්දැකීම් ලැබුවා. කුළුදුලේ උපන් එකම දරුවා වූ පස් හැවිරිදි "අරුණාදීපගේ" වියෝව ඔහුගේ වේදනාව දෙගුණ, තෙගුණ කළා.

ඔහු "කලා සෙවණ" නමින් කලායතනයක් පවත්වා ගෙන ගියා. ගුවන් විදුලියේදී, කලා මණ්ඩලයේදී ඔහුට හිමිවූ තැන සතුරන්ගේ කුමන්ත‍්‍රණ නිසා අහිමි වුණා.

එදා ජාතික ගීය වෙනුවෙන් රජය පිරිනැමූ රු 2500 මුදල පවා ලබා ගැනීමට ඔහුට හැකිවුණේ නෑ. ඒ එදා ඒ ගීතය, "කුමුදුනී" පොතෙහි ප‍්‍රකාශයට පත්වීම නිසායි.

ලොකු තාත්තා දරුණු ලෙසම සිත් තැවුලට පත් කළ සිදුවීම නම්, එදා ඔහු ඉතා ගෞරවයෙන් ලියූ "නමෝ නමෝ මාතා" ගීයට එල්ල වූ අපවාදයන්.

1961 දී එවක රජය ඔහුගෙන් කිසිවක් නොවිමසා ඒ ගීය ආරම්භයේ එන "නමෝ නමෝ මාතා" වාක්‍ය ඛණ්ඩය වෙනුවට "ශී‍්‍ර ලංකා මාතා" යනුවෙන් කොටසක් එක් කළා. ගණ දොස් ඇති නිසා ජාතික ගීය සංශෝධනය කළ යුතු යැයි නැඟුණු උද්ඝෝෂණවලට මුවා වෙලා කෙරුණේ පලිගැනීමක්.

"මේ කලකිරීම එන්න එන්නම වැඩි වුණා. ඒ නිසා මහප්පා හුඟක් දුකෙන් සිටියා මතකයි.

ඒ ගීය වෙනස් කරපු දවසේ හවස ඔහු නුගේගොඩ පාගොඩ, අපේ නිවසට ආවේ කඳුළු පුරවාගෙන. මට එතකොට අවුරුදු 14 යි. එදත් ඔහු එයාගෙ සුපුරුදු බේබි ඔස්ටින් කාරෙකෙන් ආවේ.

"පුතා මගේ ඔළුව ගලවලා, වෙන ඔළුවක් හයි කළා." එදා ඔහු කීව දේ අරුත මට දැනුයි වැටහෙන්නේ."

මෙවන් නිර්මාණයක් කිරීමෙන් කිසිවකුගෙන්, කිසි බලධරයෙකුගේ නිසි ඇගයීමක් ලැබුණේ නෑ. අඩුම තරමේ ඔහු නමින් පාරක් හෝ ස්මාරකයක් වත් සාදා නැහැ."

"එදා 1962 අප්‍රේල් 02 වෙනිදා. හරියටම ඔහුගේ මවගේ උපන්දිනය දා. එදා ආච්චි අම්මා හිටියේ අපේ ගෙදර. ඒ දවසේ කාල බීලා, විනෝද වෙලා, ආච්චි අම්මාටත් වැඳලා ඔහු කළා අපූරු නිර්මාණයක්. බුදුන්වහන්සේව සිතුවමට නඟා, ඒ අසල හිඳින සුන්දර මුව පොව්වෙකු. මට ඒ දවසේ සහලෝලා උණ.

එදා ඔහු ගෙදර ගොස් ලොකු අම්මාත් සමඟ සුහදව කතා කරලා තිබුණා. නින්දට ගොස් ඔහු පහුවදා අවදි වූයේ නැහැ. ඔහු නිදි පෙති පානය කළ බව අප දැනගත්තේ පසුවයි."

කෙසේ වුවත් ඔහු ජනතාවාදී කලාකරුවෙකි. නිර්මාණශීලි කලාකරුවෙකුගෙන් දේශයට සිදුවිය යුතු උදාර මෙහෙවර ඔහු ඉටුකැර ඇත.

Ivor Dennis

Ivor Dennis and His Master's Voice
by Cecil Perera
ersatile Singer and Music Composer Ivor Dennis will be 75 on 28th May, 2007. He was educated at Davi Samara, Seeduwa, Maris Stella College and Loyola College Negombo. Ivor is a genuine find and a disciple of maestro Sunil Santha.

In 1952, Ivor had participated in an amateur song festival of Radio Ceylon, wherein he sang Sunil Santha’s "Waren Heen Sare, Redhee Walave". Maestro Sunil Santha had heard the recital on the radio, inspite of a slight slur spotted by the maestro, he was confused, as the voice was almost identical to his own. On making inquiries the Great Maestro found out that Pasquelge Don Augustine Ivor Dennis of Seeduwa had been the singer. From that day, the relationship between the ‘Guru’ and the Disciple never wavered.

Genuine Sinhala music was first introduced to the local cinema in Dr. Lester James Peiris ‘Rekhava’ followed by ‘Sandesaya’. Sunil Santha composed the tunes for all songs in both films. Sunil did not travel to India for the recordings, instead he nominated Ivor to stand in for him. In addition to his singing, Ivor trained the playback artistes.

He was appointed an A grade singer in 1958. He won the Presidential Award for the best Playback Singer for the film ‘Hima Kathara’. He was closely associated in the productions of ‘Madhura Madhu, Pancha Madhura , Ran Walawa and Seegiri Gee’,during the second coming of Sunil Santha to Radio Ceylon or the SLBC. Ivor’s first song to be recorded was ‘Kurulu Paradiseye’ set to the music of the Maestro, and the lyrics were Thilak Sudharman Silva’s. His patriotic song, composed by him ‘Abhimananeeyavoo Navodeye Hiru’ written by Leslie Boteju is a masterpiece. His cassette ‘Abhmana Gee’ was produced in1984.

He was a consultant at the Government College of Music, and worked with W D Makuloluwa in ‘Depano and Pahanin Pahana’. He was a key singer in Premasiri Khemadasa’s operas, ‘Manasawila and Pirinivan Mangallaya’. He sang in Khemdasa Master’s cassette ‘Raja Weda’ and Ven. Rambukkana Siddartha Thero’s ‘Sansare Api and Gammane Api’. Ivor was a playback singer for many Sinhala films.

Ivor participated in song recitals in Japan, Indonesia, Italy, England and New Zealand.

After the initial breakthrough of Fr. Macelline Jayakody into local church music, the partnership of Rev. Fr. Moses Perera and his nephew Sunil Santha were almost revolutionary. The beautiful and meaningful lyrics of Fr. Moses were adorned by devotionfull and melodious tunes of Sunil Santha. The hymnal ‘Obata Pasasa Gee’ was published in 1964.

Ivor continued the good work of his Guru, and composed music for Fr. Moses in ‘Obata Pasasa Gee’ 2 and 4 in 1968 and 1973. He joined the Pubuduwa in 1974 and initiated a new trend in its musical prayers. Pubuduwa produced two cassettes ‘Ape pavulen oba mahimaya’ and ‘Obe wethi Rajindo’, wherein all the tunes were composed by Ivor. He received an OCIC award for the services rendered to Christian Literary Music.He was a pioneer of the ‘Rasanjalie Kala Kavaya’ which had a galaxy of stars. To name a few, Ralex and Tony Ranasinghe, Leslie Boteju, Jackson Anthony, Kumarie Munasinghe, Joe Dambulugala, Malkanthie Pieris, K Francis, Alexis Fernando, Francis Horana, Anthony Molligoda. Rev. Frs. Earnest Poruthota and Joe Quintus Perera were the clergy involved.

He composed music for the works of Rev. Frs. Molligoda Moses, and sang for his cassettes and that of Frs. Cyril Gamini, Cecil Joy and Anthony Hemantha. Those who were fortunate to participate at the centenary celebration of Fr. Moses at the Kuda Madhu Church, Dehiyagatha, which was presided over by Rt. Rev. Dr. Oswald Gomis and Rt. Ev. Dr. Elmo Perera still remember, how the congregation was stunned, and the deafening silence that prevailed when Ivor sang ‘Sirureni Seba Namo’ composed by him and written by Fr. Moses..

Though 75, he is very much active, being involved with his own compositions, carrying on the Sunil Gee tradition, and a live wire of the church musical activities. He has a host of competent disciples.

Ivor Dennis is a humble man not allured by gold or silver. We trust that he would produce a couple of CDs, so that the true music lovers and the future generations could appreciate and listen to his unique, melodious and powerful voice.
He was Sunil Shantha's much favoured disciple. He not only was able to follow his guru's vision and mission but replicate is voice. Veteran musician and singer Ivor Dennis has completed fifty golden years in his service to Sri Lankan music which to his master gave an identity.

Coinciding with his 75th birthday, Ivor released a compact disc with 15 of his new songs and a launch of a book titled 'Apa Dutu Ivor Dennis' edited by Chandra Keerthi Kularatne at a felicitation ceremony organised with a musical titled 'Uthurana Kiri Kalasa Vilasin' at the Elphinstone Theatre last week.
At the opening of the ceremony

Ivor's life took a , when Patrick Denipitiya brought the good news in 1951 that he is wanted by Sunil Shantha, who was a hero for him then and became this young man's mentor later. This was after the greatest musician and singer who was impressed by Ivor's voice, having heard him sing one of his songs over the radio, invited him to sing in his chorus. It was when Ivor was still schooling and took part in a programme for amateur singers on the radio. The song he sang was Sunil Santha's "Waren Heensare, Redee Walawe". If not for a slight hitch in his singing, Sunil Shantha would have had thought that he was hearing his own voice.

And he sent Patrick to Seeduwa to pick the young man who matched his voice identically. In fact, Sunil Santha who was in Ja-ela, used to pick him up and bring him for classes in Colombo. Ever since, Ivor was besides his master and has been his faithful follower,".

Starting a professional singing career in 1956, Ivor Dennis recalls 1986 as a memorable year in his life, for it was in this year that he won first place in an international singing competition organized by the Asian Broadcasting Union in New Zealand. For his service to the country and his guru, the cultural Ministry awarded Ivor with a special 'Desha Nethru' award for his contribution.

Following in the footsteps of his guru, Ivor never used his talent to profit for himself. He used it for others, for the country and to God. He was in charge of the music section of "Pubuduwa"-Catholic Renewal Movement and he was one of the leading lay artistes who changed the trend of inserting words into popular song to use in worship. Further his tunes had an eastern flavour and he played a pivotal role in localising church singing.

"Sunil Shantha was the greatest artiste born in this land and sacrificed his life for the principles he believed. By joining him in his journey, Ivor did great service to the country and its music," Rev. Fr. Oscar Abeyratne, the head of 'Pubuduwa' said. "Like his mentor, Ivor Denis never let himself be sold to wealth, money or any other worldly gain," Fr, Abeyratne said.

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