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Thursday 23-Jun
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     Oba laga Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  srimeth
     Dated:  Monday, August 23 2010 @ 04:17 AM EDT
     Viewed:  1170 times  
    Poems & Short Stories

     Visharada Neela Wickramasinghe: Versatile playback singer By Sunil THENABADU Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Monday, August 09 2010 @ 06:43 PM EDT
     Viewed:  2861 times  
    Sri Lanka Music Scene Visharada Neela Wickramasinghe is an accomplished singer, teacher, composer, a super grade artist at Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) in both classical and light music and a director of music. She is a versatile playback singer having sung in about 70 films. Her singing career has spanned for over 42 years since she sang her first song for the then Radio Ceylon in 1959 for the program 'Amateur Voice.' She has always sung with an intensity of feeling. She has evolved her own inimitable style of singing.

    Neela inherited her musical talents from her parents. Her father was known for his skills in singing and acting while her mother excelled in folk songs. She owes her success to such reputed music teachers as Amara Athukorala, Vincent Somapala, Ananda Jayasinghe, Sarath Dassanayake and Premadasa Mudunkotuwa. After obtaining her Sangeeth Visharada degree in 1974, she became a music teacher. After teaching music in several schools for over 23 years, she retired to concentrate on her musical career.

    She possesses characteristics of choosing the proper and ideal lyrics and she is very particular with regard to the meanings, rhythms and echoes of her songs which had always given the listener immense ecstatic delight.


     A distinguished musician remembered - The late Clarence Wijewardena’s 67th birthday falls today, August 03, 2010 Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Monday, August 02 2010 @ 08:43 PM EDT
     Viewed:  1361 times  
    Sri Lanka Music SceneThis Great Musician was born in Haputale and was the eldest of a family of 5 (2 sons and 2 daughters). Clarence’s father was a Doctor in the estates and served in towns such as Balangoda, Hatton, Matale and Ratnapura. His mother was a Matron.

    Though Clarence spent much of his time in Colombo, many of his songs portrayed people and events which focused on the village Batugedara in Ratnapura where he happened to meet the comely lass Sheela who later became his beloved wife.

    Clarence had the rare distinction of being called A Vageyakar a word akin to Indian Classical Music. Vageyakar means a person who composes a song, gives it a melody and also sings it. In other words he was a multi-faceted musician. He was Music Director for the films Chathumadura, Hello Shyama, Chalitharangali, Apeksha and Sikurulia the latter of which became immensely popular. Susima and Nidikumba Mal were among the teledramas for which he operated as Music Director. He provided the melody and music for a song sung by Maestro W.D. Amaradeva in Nidikumba Mal. It was Clarence who introduced the Electric Guitar to the pop scene in Sri Lanka and was the first to release a non-stop cassette to the country. He is also remembered for producing a cassette on the occasion when Sri Lanka won test status.

    Clarence has composed over a 2000 songs with Golden Chimes, Super Golden Chimes, Moonstones and two other Artists. He was however such a deserving singer but an unsung singer in his own land. He was unfortunate in one sense as there was no honour bestowed on him by any government or affiliated institution except by a handful of private institutions.

    The number of some of the present day top ranking singers and musicians to whom Clarence gave a helping hand and the much required ‘push’ are many. But it is pathetic that only a handful of those artistes cared to call over at his residents during the time he was ailing. Of course some of his friends overseas were generous enough to send recordings of some musical fiestas held by Clarence. Some of these include tapes of shows held in the states in Los Angeles in 1990, in Australia in 1989, in Napoli, Italy in 1993 and also in Canada.

    Clarence had a glowing vision. He had enthusiastic plans of selling his property in Nugegoda and constructing a fully equipped, sophisticated and ultra modern Music Studio and possessed many a catalogue. Though these documents are still in safe custody, its owner is no more with us.

    Chandral Fonseka, Bassist of Super Golden Chimes once had written an article to the newspapers that a song could be enjoyed in 3 different ways. First that it could be enjoyed by hearing. Second that it could be felt in one’s body and thirdly when one begins to enjoy it with one’s heart. In his article he goes on to say that Clarence possessed all these elements in his songs that he composed and that was the reason why it penetrated the hearts of the young and old alike.

    Presently Clarence’s wife Sheela is holidaying in Australia having joined her only daughter Amila who is already a citizen in Australia. Sheela would however be back in Sri Lanka soon. As she is expected to attend to litigation matters where she has filed action against intellectual property matters pertaining to Clarence. May the name of Clarence remain a Legend in the Hearts of all his music fans!

    By Siri Hettiarachchi from http://www.dailynews.lk/2010/08/03/fea23.asp


     R R Samarakoon dies in Sri Lanka Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Sunday, August 01 2010 @ 12:53 PM EDT
     Viewed:  1453 times  
    Sri Lanka Stage/Movies

     Premakeerthi de Alwis and colours that remain unnamed Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Friday, July 30 2010 @ 07:19 PM EDT
     Viewed:  2332 times  
    Sri Lanka Music Scene My maternal grandmother died on what would have been the 50th birthday of her daughter, who had died at the age of 10. My father mentioned it in passing and observed softly that it can take a long time to get over someone’s death. This is true. People come into our lives without notice, without bugle call and press release. They go without saying anything sometimes. And they return in the same way.

    I had grieved and done with grieving, I thought, for my friends who died in the late eighties for the crime of having been born in the wrong decade, but they returned and demanded fresh tears one inauspicious day in the year 1998 as I watched a documentary about characters and events captured in the telling recounting of the ouster of Salvadore Allende’s democratically elected Government in Chile in 1973, Battle of Chile. The sequel aptly titled Chile: Obstinate Memory was shot by the same film-maker, Patricio Guzm n, in 1997. It called forth ghosts that had refused to leave memory in terms of time’s dictates which I had thought held but that is another story.

    Today I am writing about a different arrival. It happened last Saturday. Maharagama Youth Centre. A concert in aid of an artiste who needed a kidney transplant. Sandakadapahana. Sunil Edirisinghe. There was a poorvikaava (introductory) to each song, enlightening a full house of circumstances that birthed composition, implication of thought or some musical oddity. At one point the artiste spoke, in his characteristic mildness, about a lyricist. Premakeerthi de Alwis. He rattled off some of the better known compositions to which he, Sunil, had added voice. He spoke wistfully about Premakeerthi. He didn’t mention the circumstances of his absence, i.e. the fact of his ‘absenting’.

    On July 31, 1989, exactly 21 years ago, a group of masked men led Premakeerthi de Alwis, then a presenter attached to Rupavahini, out of his house. He was shot dead. The murderers, without doubt, were members of the deadly Deshapremi Janatha Vyaparaya (DJV) and that meant ‘JVP’ back then. His ‘crime’ apparently was that he had ‘announced’ at a Gam Udawa. He was 42.

    Today, Premakeerthi, had he been alive, would be 63. He was at the time of his death a prolific lyricist and a much sought after one too. Sunil mentioned Muniseku pita negi asaruweki (‘A horse riding a man’, naturally about gambling) and Banen benda rajarata pedesinne (a poignant song decrying cattle slaughter). I checked the Internet. I was stunned. Readers don’t really know who writes the news stories they read in newspapers because very few look at the bylines. It is the same with lyricists. We know the songs by heart. We know who sings them. We don’t really know who wrote them.

    I found that most of my favourite Sinhala songs were penned by this man. I realized too that while I do appreciate melody, it is to the lyrics that I am more attached. I am not unappreciative of voice and melody of course. I love the compositions of Rohana Weerasinghe, H M Jayawardena and some of Khemadasa’s melodies. I can listen to Amaradeva for hours. Victor Ratnayake’s voice makes me float. Gunadasa Kapuge makes me sober. Sunil Ariyaratne enchants with what to my untrained ear is the achievement of a pure tone. T M Jayaratne can make me cry. I could go on. No, on second thoughts, I can’t. I can see Premakeerthi with his grin, his caustic turn of phrase when irked and the music of word conjugation, standing beside this orchestra of voices.

    He gave me Aadaraye ulpatha voo amma (‘Mother, the Spring of Love’) and Sihina sathak dutuwemi mama (I saw seven dreams), using Victor Ratnayake. He made me laugh, though Freddie Silva’s rendering of Nikan innepa kohoma koma hari gahapalla ban pethsam (Don’t waster time, write petitions) and made me dance with Kundumanee (again by Freddie). I have returned to TM’s Sithin ma noselee sitiddi kandula numba evidin (Tears, you have come to alleviate the eye’s pain), Mervin Perera’s timeless love song, Me nagaraya (This city - where we met and parted) and Oba dedunna aakasaye (You are the rainbow in the sky), Milton Mallawarachchi’s Sihinen oba mata penenavanam (If I see you in my dreams) and hundreds more. Yes, I am aware that I’ve given ‘ownership’ to the singers. That’s a slip. They should belong, at least in part, to the lyricist. And of course to the listener. To me.

    In 1996, I joined a set of Peradeniya undergraduates on a bus going to Colombo for a demonstration against proposed education reform. I was not a student, but I identified with the cause and got permission from the student activists organizing the protest. They were all JVPers. There were in that bus students opposed to the JVP. They had unsuccessfully tried to oust the JVP from the Arts Faculty Students’ Union. There was tension, but not too intense. On the way back to Kandy, after being baton-charged and tear-gassed, the students did what they usually do on long bus rides. They sang. The JVP boys used song to crow over their rivals. The song was Kanda kenda karanu pinisa. It essentially said that mountains will not be shaken, but those who try to shake mountains will necessarily fall. The point was not lost and the humour was taken in the right spirit. I am sure the JVPers would have known that it was sung by Malini Bulathsinhala. I am sure also that they would not have known that it was written by a person called Premakeerthi de Alwis.

    The world and life are made of songs. They need to be written down. Listening to Sunil Edirisinghe, I realized that there are hundreds of songs that will not get written. Ever. We can’t name the colours that we have not seen. We can’t write the songs that were meant to be written by a particular pen. Premakeerthi de Alwis is dead.

    I want to be silent for a while. Better still, I will go listen to some songs. We need to be thankful for what we have.

    malinsene@gmail.com - Ceylon daily News - http://www.dailynews.lk/2010/07/31/fea02.asp


     Appachchi Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  srimeth
     Dated:  Saturday, July 17 2010 @ 08:47 AM EDT
     Viewed:  1866 times  
    Geethakatha

     Sinhala Novelist Jayasena Jayakody dies Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Friday, July 16 2010 @ 10:23 PM EDT
     Viewed:  2252 times  
    Book Reviews

     Jothi remembered - The 23rd death anniversary falls today by Ruwini JAYAWARDANA Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Friday, July 09 2010 @ 01:18 PM EDT
     Viewed:  1135 times  
    Book Reviews More than 20 years had passed since the demise of the inimitable playback vocalist of the Sri Lankan silver screen, H.R. Jothipala but his songs are still among the most demanded numbers in the country today.

    Hettiarachchige Reginald Jothipala was born in Katawalamulla to a middle-class family on February 12, 1936. His father was H.R. James and his mother was Ahaliyagoda H. K. Podinona Perera. Jothi was the eldest in a family of five. He attended St. Lawrence College, Maradana, and St. John's College, Dematagoda but never took up music as a subject neither at school nor after completing his studies. Though his love for music and song grew as the years swept by, the beginning of his musical career was filled with hardships and sorrow. Some criticized Jothi for singing to tunes of popular Hindi hits and many did not believe in Jothi's unique talent.

    He began his career as a vocalist singing duets with Wasantha Sandanayake and G. S. B. Rani Perera at SLBC.

    Though he made his debut as a playback singer in 1956 by taking part in Cyril P. Abeyratne's Surathalee with the hit Siriyame Sara on which the music is directed by T.R. Papa, Jothi had recorded a song for the late Sirisena Wimalaweera's Podi Putha earlier.

    The song was mysteriously slashed from the film and Jothi had confessed that he had been in the brink of committing suicide when he went with his friends to watch Podi Putha and discovered that his number had not been included.

    According to records Jothi's voice had failed to impress the Indian film composer on the film.

    Later when Surathalee producer Jabir A. Cader expressed the desire to hear one of his songs to consider him for a film, Jothi almost passed out on the offer because he did not possess enough money to launch a record.

    Fortunately veteran musician Stanley Omar came to his rescue and helped him out with the finances. This act of goodwill made way for a much-awaited break for young Jothi. With Siriyame Sara becoming an instant hit the young vocalist began to taste popularity and success. It did not take him long to top the charts and win the name of being the best with an excellent screen voice, a tag that he holds up-to-date.

    Jothi worked under many reputed directors of the country and had rendered his voice to all classes of actors ranging from Eddie Jayamanne, Ananda Jayaratne, Gamini Fonseka, Vijaya Kumaratunga, Ravindra Randeniya, Sanath Gunathilaka to the younger generation of actors like Damith Fonseka and Lal Weerasinghe.

    One of the highlights of his career is the opportunity to work with the doyen of Sri Lankan cinema, Lester James Peries in the historical Sandeshaya. He sang the popular number Puruthugeesikaraya to the tunes composed by the country's reputed musician Sunil Santha and lyrics penned by veteran lyricist Arisen Ahubudu. He still holds the record as the playback singer who sang the most number of songs for films, the number being 330 films. The last film which had included a song of his was Supiri Balawatha.

    Jothi married Blossom Winter, a nurse by profession, and the couple had four daughters. Sri Lanka's undisputed playback king died on July 7, 1987 at the age of 51 years.

    Ceylon Daily News of July 07, 2010.


     Sonduru Sathsara 3 CD - Global Launch Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Saturday, July 03 2010 @ 09:02 AM EDT
     Viewed:  1181 times  
    SL Music Worldwide Renowned Esraj soloist, Sarath Kumarasinghe launches his latest CD, “Sonduru Sathsara – 3 (Latha Mangeskar tribute)” at the Frank McKechnie Auditorium in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada on 31st July 2010 at 7.30pm in the presence of a distinguished audience of Sri Lankan, South Asian and Canadian music lovers.

    Sarath Kumarasinghe ranks among foremost classical Esraj exponents in North America. Hailed as a unique Esraj player with a rich repertoire combining virtues of dexterity, style, mood and rhythm, Sarath has won acclaim among discerning audiences in USA, Canada and Sri Lanka. His first Esraj Instrumental CD – Sonduru Sathsara which was released in 2001 was also the first Esraj CD to be released in Sri Lanka.

    Sonduru Sathsara 3 CD - the third in the series is dedicated to songs of the great songstress, Lata Mangeskar. A live webcast of the Sonduru Sathsara 3 CD launch is planned by the organizers wherein viewers are able to join in with Sarath and the audience via Skype video-phone. At the end of the proceedings, an informal musical evening will continue till mid night.

    The event is expected to be viewed by Sri Lankan expatriates in the continental North America, USA & Canada, U.K., Italy, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and music lovers in Sri Lanka.


     Malini & Victor gets honorarry doctorates Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
     Author:  Administrator
     Dated:  Thursday, June 17 2010 @ 09:53 AM EDT
     Viewed:  925 times  
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