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    Thursday 23-Jun
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  • Maestro Amaradeva's singular contribution towards Sri Lankan indigenous music tradition By Ranga CHANDRARATHNE (0)

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     SUNIL SHAN FERNANDO - Veteran Sri Lankan singer from Canada Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  rukmania
     Dated:  Thursday, June 23 2011 @ 11:51 AM EDT
     Viewed:  1508 times  
    Book Reviews
    The maiden musical album of Sunil Shan Fernando, who is a talented Sri Lankan singer residing in Canada, will be launched in near future. Sunil Shan stepped in to the music scene in late 80's, initially recording 4 songs which were featured on SLBC & ITN then. He is a talented singer with many variations & owns the ability of singing in various genres. The title of the album is "SIHINA LOKEDI". Lyricists such as Hemasiri Halpita, Kalpitha Pelawaththa, Kelum Srimal, Bandula Nanayakkarawasam, Chandradasa Fernando, Shantha Deshabandhu, Rev. Fr. James Jayasinghe, Sanath Udugama, Subash Munigodage, Thalatha Senapathi & Rukshan Karunanayake have penned lyrics for this album. Wonderful Music Directors namely, Sarath de Alwis, Snageeth Wickramasinghe, Mahinda Bandara, Rohana Weerasinghe, Ajith Jayaweera, Thisara Bandara, Priya Suriyasena, Sanath Udugama, Tharindu Darshana, Layananda Alles, Rukshan Karunanayake have composed music for this album. This album consists 19 new songs & 1 instrumental music. A duet song sung with veteran singer, Dammika Walpola is also included here.

     An interview with Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Tuesday, June 07 2011 @ 07:41 PM EDT
     Viewed:  1682 times  
    Book ReviewsOf POLITICS & POETICS

    By Sajitha PREMATUNGE

    The best way to introduce him is in his own words a ‘Sinhala Buddhist chauvinist’. “These are labels given by those who have not bothered to read my writing,” says Dr Gunadasa Amarasekara.

    He is a prominent Sinhala writer, poet and essayist and one of the founders of the Peradeniya School of Literary Tradition. His subject matter and style have been controversial while his political outspokenness has set him apart, while also subjecting him to much criticism. Daily News Artscope spoke with him on everything from politics to poetics.

    Q: Do you believe that the works of Sri Lankan English writers reflect Sri Lankan culture? A: I don’t think so. Judging by what I have read, they don’t reflect Sri Lankan culture, attitudes or the true picture of the country. A majority of Sri Lankan writing that takes place in the current setting is rather superficial. This is an attempt of the so called ‘Colombo 7’ crowd to write about rural Sri Lankan life, only succeeding at a tourist eye view. The writers lack experience.

    Q: What do you think about contemporary awards and literary festivals?

    A: The majority of the contemporary awards and literary festivals cater to the so-called international audience. It is a hoax that has nothing to do with the intellectual life of this country. The local literary festivals, for that matter, are also carnivals. They have nothing to do with serious, professional literature. Any third rate writer can secure an award.

    Literature is an integral part of a country’s intellectual culture. Standards in literature cannot be maintained as long as these bogus awards and festivals are in existence.

     Popular Sinhala scholar, teacher and playwright Kalasuri Arisen Ahubudu passed away Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Thursday, May 26 2011 @ 02:17 PM EDT
     Viewed:  1217 times  
    Sinhala CulturePopular Sinhala scholar, teacher and playwright Kalasuri Arisen Ahubudu passed away this morning at the age of 91.

    The late Ahubudu who was born in 1920 was named Ariyasena Ashuboda by his parents but later changed it to the Hela format due to his association with the Hela Havula movement. He was a writer, orator, scholar, playwright, teacher, Sinhala lyricist and poet.

    He had his early education at the Kataluwa government school and joined the Nittambuwa Teacher Training College . It was after his close association with Hela Havula stalwarts Cumaratunga Munidasa and Vellala Jayamaha in the thirties and forties that he sharpened his language skills. The name change to Arisen Ahubudu was also the result of this association.

    Ahubudu served 42 years as a teacher. Having first taught at Holy Trinity College in Nuwara Eliya, he moved to Mahinda College , Galle and later to Maha Bodhi College , Maradana. His longest stint came even later at S. Thomas' College from 1952 until 1979 where he is remembered for his significant contribution.

     Tribute to Artiste Mahagamasekara Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Tuesday, January 11 2011 @ 09:25 AM EST
     Viewed:  3000 times  
    Sri Lanka Music SceneBy Rohana Wansatilaka

    Mahagamasekara was born on April 07, 1929 at Radawana, Gampaha. Even in his student life, he showed his capability in the various fields of Sinhala literature. Later he was able to build a popularity among avid readers, as an erudite artist.

    He was a poet, a short story writer, a novelist, a playwriter, a film director, a lyricist and a good artist. In a short period of time, Sekara specially evinced talents in the field of Sinhala poetry.

    This intuitive poet published eight collections of poetry. They are Wiyanga (1960), Sakvalihini (1962), Heta Irak Payai (1963), Maknisada Yath (1964), Rajathilaka Lionel ha Priyantha (1967), Bodima (1970), Nomiyemi (1973) and Prabuddha (1977). Final collection of poetry was published after his untimely death.

    In Sekara’s poetry books, special features could be noticed. One of the special features emerged in his poems is depicting love affairs among lovers. “Premawanthayo” could be given for example. In this, an old couple is enacted. These lovers lived together with happiness in their young age.

    However, when they were very old, they like to separate with happiness. They do not like to love each other even in chilly days. This class of poems shows us that there would be a suitable age for loving.

    In his collections of poetry, urbanisation is depicted, as a special feature. Handa Saha New York Nuwara could be indicated for instance. In this, the absence of leisure and complexity in urbanised cities are shown elegantly. At present, people work in factories, as machines due to unpleasant urbanisation. In this, moon symbolises the beauty of village.

    The city “New York” symbolises the complexity of urbanisation. In this, deterioration of civilisation in the urbanised city is shown before us. The man who was enacted in this, lives lonely without associating others. This poem alludes the beauty of village and unleisure of urbanisation. However, Sekara admired good things of the urbanisation.

    One of the features of his poetry books is containing of visionary thoughts. The concept “Death” has been entered to his two collections of poetry. He always talk about beauty of the death. Sekara presented his concept in his first poetry book named Wiyanga.

    He introduced the “death” as a beautiful thing. Further more, Sekara has pointed out the death as eternal sleep. He describes this concept even in the collection named Nomiyemi. Accordingly, this poet seems to have presented visionary thoughts in his some anthologies. Sekara enacts the class disparity existing at present society. In addition, the misery of the poor is depicted pleasantly. His collection of poetry named Mak Nisada Yath could be indicated for instance.

    Binden Binde Jale
    Pippayen wete
    Belekka Tin Regath
    Lamo wata sitith
    This poem imagines the reality of the life of many poor children who have settled near the area of Kelani river. A rhythem that is suitable for the subject matter could be seen in this stanza. This poet has elaborated existing social problems in the present society.

    Prostitution is one of the social problems existing in Sri Lankan society. This poet enacts the prostitutes in some of his poems. He does not treat the prostitutes as low characters. He points out the prostitution as a living way. He sympathizes the harlots. This proves his humanism regarding poor women.

    Sekara implicitly depicts the mutual connection between poverty and prostitution. He used the word Amma to the prostitute in the poem. According to these features, it is obvious that subject matter of his poetry books has extended in a vast area.

    Mahagamasekara was not fortunate enough to live a long period of time. He passed away on January 14, 1976, when he was forty six years old. His sudden demise was an irreparable lose to modern Sinhala literature.


     Presentation of "Chimes of The 70's" Christmas Song to His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  rukmania
     Dated:  Friday, December 31 2010 @ 12:24 PM EST
     Viewed:  2025 times  
    General News The initial copy of the song "Naththal Daa" which is the first Christmas song produced by "Chimes of The 70's" band was presented to the His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith at the Archbishop's House yesterday. The song was written by veteran artist, Bhadraji Mahinda Jayathilaka residing in USA, while melody & music directions were composed by Rukshan Karunanayake, who is the band leader of "Chimes of The 70's". The song was sung by Chulani Suraweera & Vimani Kapurubandara studying in grade 11 & grade 08. In the mean time members of Chimes of The 70's band, Sugath Asanka (Keyboards), Chaminda Pushpakumara & Udesha Karunanayke (Drummers) participated at the presentation.

     Siril A Seelawimala - Lyricist beyond lines Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Wednesday, December 29 2010 @ 06:07 PM EST
     Viewed:  2120 times  
    Sri Lanka Music Scene Aravinda HETTIARACHCHI

    One day in the 1950s a senior media person Thevis Guruge sent a lean and talented young wordsmith to meet D B Dhanapala, the founder of Davasa newspaper, to make him occupy as a journalist. And this newspaper, at that moment, had no vacancy for a journalist. Yet the interviewer D B Dhanapala was fond of having a general chat with this interesting character and asked him: "Did you climb the stairs one step after another to reach here?"

    The youngster replied: "No sir, I climbed two steps at a time."

    Dhanapala was bemused by the youngsters' answer and attitude; the young man was favoured to become a journalist. Dhanapala's this action supported to bring forward a strong personality in journalism and lyricism from the 50's to the 90's in Lankan history.

    This youngster quickly got into hard work and later climbed up to the position of Davasa Chief Editor, and then to the same position in another newspaper, Riviresa.

     Grecian Ananda dies in Sri Lanka on Dec 29 2010 Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Wednesday, December 29 2010 @ 06:03 PM EST
     Viewed:  1891 times  
    Sri Lanka Music SceneVeteran vocalist and movie background singer, Grecian Ananda dies in Sri Lanka, today.

    Source: Dinamina - Sri Lanka

     An interview with Ridmaya Musical group leader and professional drummer Tyron Silva Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Thursday, December 16 2010 @ 08:42 PM EST
     Viewed:  1758 times  
    Sri Lanka Music Scene


     Crooning to her tunes Sujatha Attanayake sings to raise war-hero funds Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Wednesday, December 15 2010 @ 10:39 PM EST
     Viewed:  2537 times  
    Sri Lanka Music SceneBy Uvindu ILLPERUMA

    Sujatha Attanayake, whose voice had been silent for many years, will reawaken her voice in the coming year. The news will definitely arouse the temptation the fans had for her voice. As Attanayake revealed to the Artscope she will host a concert to raise funds for the welfare of war heroes.

    "When I sang Yuda Bime Avi Gata my son was in grade six. He later joined the army. I never thought I will have to face the same fate. Now I feel the meaning of the song I voiced long time ago." Sujatha recalled old times.

    Dedicating a son for a worthy national cause is dignity to a mother though the suffering of loss will live forever in her heart.

    "I went to Pooneryn where my son went on his no-return journey. I visited some camps close by too. Our sons who dedicated their valuable youth to a national cause wait for a good lifestyle. I have a right to talk about them. The progress of welfare programs should accelerate. That's my idea. That's why I'm going to sing for them." Sujatha said.

    Speaking of local music education Sujathat opined the conditions are in a sorry state.

    "Our education system still doesn't give priority to aesthetic subjects to the extent they deserve. No wonder our young generation is so much confused. If you want to check my logic simply look at most students. They are terrible and they don't think or feel the value of a colleague's life. That's why they assault each other till blood comes out. I am sure they would not stop the assault till they see the blood of the victim. That's the status of schools. The situation within the universities is of course no exception. The principal reason is that they lack opportunities to immerse their minds in aesthetic subjects. They don't know how to sing, how to dance, how to draw or how to play a musical instrument. They are only vulnerable to music which is not music. That's just a hustle and bustle." She explained.

    During the 1971 insurgency no student from any music college was killed or abducted on suspicion. This was because people living with music cannot trouble others. Music can bring them sensitivity, virtues and gentleman qualities.

    "On the contrary the modern student engages in music or other aesthetic subject, and later has to quit the subject as they come to grade 10. They have to give up music for English Literature. Parents and teachers emphasize on English since the language is a must. But it will be too late when the country fathoms the mistake they did by depriving the students of the opportunity. Since I worked with education sector I know what it lacks the most is people with common sense to work on policies and schedules." Sujatha opined.

    Speaking on music programs which save the day for electronic media she expressed her disappointment. "A singer or a musician cannot come to a higher position overnight. It requires much dedication and knowledge. But what these TV channels do is crowning an apprentice with a large number of SMS votes. Crowning is not that necessary. Recognition of a singer with inborn talents is the necessity. Then those people who can sing well but have no sound music knowledge should be given that. Since they are not given with what they need, they come before people as stars overnight and go into oblivion in no time. According to my perspective these reality shows are tomfoolery to the very word."

    Music comes in association of virtues. Most budding vocalists have no idea about this aspect. They sing just for money. They want themselves to get marketed. In fact media should be responsible for this negative development, Attanayake said.

    "You can see how loathsome those girls, who dance showing off their bodies, are. I was a dancer myself too sometime back. So I can notice the wrong gestures in these dancers. They mislead the ignorant audience."

    "I am not an artiste who sings hosannas for anyone," Sujatha stresses, "that's why I can talk in this manner. I have that dignity being an artiste who is true to what I learned."


     Maestro Amaradeva's singular contribution towards Sri Lankan indigenous music tradition By Ranga CHANDRARATHNE Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Tuesday, December 07 2010 @ 07:47 PM EST
     Viewed:  9132 times  
    Sri Lanka Music SceneAs maestro W.D Ameradeva celebrates his 83rd birthday, it is pertinent to look back on evolution of Sri Lankan tradition or music culture and pivotal role he played in it as vocalist and musician.

    Like in the field of cinema, Sri Lankan music scene was also under the overarching influence of Indian music. Although the absence of a truly Sri Lankan tradition of music may contribute to the situation, it was rather the lack of insight and creativity on the part of most of the musicians in the field which, by and large, contributed to making Sri Lanka a dumping ground for cheap Indian music in general and film music in particular.

    What most of the popular musicians of the day did was to insert Sinhalese lyrics into popular Hindi notations. Although there was no Sri Lankan system of music, it could have been possible for Sri Lankan musicians to capture the heart beat of the nation in composing music. The ingenuity on the part of Dr.W.D Ameradeva is his ability to recreate a distinctively Sri Lankan tradition of music albeit drawing inspiration from the classical Hindustani tradition.

    It was Amaradeva who salvaged Sri Lankan music from the corruptive influence of cheap Indian film music and copied Hindi notations. He rendered much-needed tone and signature to his melodious songs which have now become part of the national heritage.

    His contribution, particularly, to play-back songs is legendary. For instance, it is no secret that the theme song of Siri Gunasinghe's seminal work "Sathsamudura" is so inseparably linked to the film that the name Sathsamudura always evokes the melodious and deep voice of the maestro.

    At an early stage of his career, Amaradeva had the fortune of working with legendary lyricists of the era. Lyricists like Mahagama Sekera, Chandraratna Manavasinghe, Madavala Ratnayaka, Arisen Ahubudu, Dalton Alwis and Wimal Abhayasundara were the most gifted lyricists of that era. The elegant and poetical lyrics were further beautified as Amaradeva rendered his melodious voice to them.

    According to Ajith Samaranayake, Amaradeva's intellectual life was dominated by a rich assortment of friends and artistes including intellectual giants such as Ananda Samarakoon, Sunil Shantha, Vasantha Kumara, Premakumara, Panibharatha and Sesha Palihakkara.

    They used to meet at Chitrasena's studio at Kollupitiya which provided them with a cultural ashram.

    The zenith of Amaradeva's achievement during this period is considered the music he composed for Premakumara Epitawela's 'Selalihini Sandesaya' where he was able to render a novel interpretation to the traditional 'samudragosha' metre in which much of classical Sinhala poetry has been written and a novel style in poetry recitation.

    Maestro Amaradeva belongs to a rare group of practitioners who were able to bridge the gap between academic excellence and outstanding success on popular stage or on media.

    Although he is steeped in the classical Hindustani music, Amaradeva is conversant with diverse traditions of music, both Western and occidental and also with folk music.

    At an early stage of his career, he composed music for his own songs. However, subsequently he sang the songs whose melodies were composed by other musicians.

    His contribution as a musician to uplift the public taste includes a series of programmes he conducted over the national radio under the titles Madhuvanti, Rasamiyuru, Vijayageetha and Swarnawarna. He also conducted a series of TV programmes Gi Ama Bindu, Gisaraniya, Sanka Padma and Sangeetha Makaranda.

    The music he composed for Ediriweeera Sarachchandra's Buddhist plays (Vessantara, Lomahamsa, and Bavakadaturava) makes up of his music legacy. Amaradeva's music is appreciated by not only audiences in Sri Lanka but also internationaly as well. Expatriate Sinhala communities in diverse parts of the world are highly appreciative of his songs for the singular reason that they carry the authentic Sri Lankan signature.

    However, it should be stated here that though his songs evoke patriotic feelings, they are certainly not categorized into philistine chauvinism that are sometimes associated with the words 'indigenousness and national signature'.

    As he is conversant with diverse traditions of music, he experiments with Western music. His experiments and other innovations include using techniques in Western music such as harmonies and counterharmonies for his creations. In addition, he also derives inspiration from South Indian and Tamil musical forms. He composed music for ballet, films, theatre, radio and television.

    In recognition of his immense contribution to Sri Lankan arena of music, he has been presented with many prestigious awards including Padma Shri award which was presented to him on India's Republic Day and Ramon Magsaysay award.

    His voice, by and large, reflects the spirit of the nation. Amaradeva rendered his tutored voice to many songs that have reverberated in the heart and mind of thousands of Sri Lankans for years to come.


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