|Why we love Pandit Amaradeva:
Amaradeva is the creator of modern Sinhala Music. His biography is its history. He set out to discover the genuine idiom of Sinhala music, the highest development of which to date is the art song. He sensed that in this Indian isle called Lanka the foundation of its music had to be based on the Indian raagahadhari tradition. It had to derive its sustenance from Lanka’s folk music. Its enrichment had to come from judicious interaction with other musical traditions of humankind. His is the recipe that empowered Amaradeva to elevate the minor musical genre song to the level of serious art.
Amaradeva has composed and sung some of the best songs - the musical gems - ever created in the universe of Sinhala music. Dr Lester James Peries the Founding Father of Sinhala cinema, judged that Amaradeva’s voice “is the greatest musical instrument we have in this country”. The magic of his voice, the exquisite permutations and combinations of notes that comprise his melodic creations, the pristine perfection of his pitch and his impeccable phrasing add up to make him an absolutely unique vocal artiste.
In its strictest sense absolutely unique means the sole existing specimen. And that precisely is what he is. In the Kingdom of Sinhala music Amaradeva has long been the anointed sovereign. It is true to say that the more we know him the more we love him; but the more we know of him, the less there is that is both original and significant we have to say about him. So all one can do at this point in time is to ask rhetorically: “When comes such another?” and answer: “Never”.