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Old 11-07-09, 03:51 PM
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Imtiaz Imtiaz is offline
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Default Pandit Amradewa by Mr. GK Mandawala

Hoiya hoiya, Hoiya hoiya" the theme song sung by maestro Pandit W. D. Amaradeva, in Chitrasena's "Karadiya" reiterates the futility as well as the vicissitudes of life. Born in Koralawella, a fishing village in Moratuwa famous for its baila, the world famed angel of contemporary Sinhala music, through sheer hard work and dedication, spanning over five decades, ably rescued, re-structured and restored traditional Sinhala music to its glory in the cultural arena of Sri Lanka, a country with an unsurpassed cultural heritage.

Pandit Amaradeva's life itself, has been exactly what the lyrics of the above theme song composed by the famous lyric-writer Mahagama Sekara portrays and conveys to the whole world, through a spiritual and moral dictum, while instilling in one's mind the futility of life according to the great philosophy of Gautama Buddha.

The musical notations and the melodious voice of Amaradeva eliminates sadness, and provides solace to the mind.

Prior to nineteen forties various forms of borrowed film Music, thus polluting the nations cultural background had a firm hold in Sri Lanka with no apparent challenge and change. However, the nineteen forties ushered a "period of hope" in its embryonic stage, pioneered by Ananda Samarakoon, Sooriya Shanka Molligoda, Sunil Shantha with W. D. Albert Perera, (as he was then known); a sparkling star in the sky of creative music with a national outlook. Undoubtedly, a blessing at a time when the theme of Sinhala music was merely an infusion of Sinhala lyrics into borrowed musical rhythms, causing an infiltration as well as an erosion of national culture as well as its values.

However, with the passage of time, their effort eventually turned out to be short-lived with the premature death of Sooriya Shanka Molligoda in 1947, while Ananda Samarakoon and Sunil Shantha had become discontented musicians keeping a low profile especially after the grading of local musicians by Professor Ratne Jankar in 1951. The gap had to be bridged. The valiant effort of Ananda Samarakoon due to his virtual abandonment fell heavily on the shoulders of W. D. Albert Perera, a young talented musician with a great vision, determination and self reliance, to forge ahead with a programme of national re-structure. Many a pandit felt that there was no Sinhala music and the Sinhala people have no music. The emergence of W. D. Albert Perera into the field of creative Sinhala music proved the pandits to be wrong as they lacked vision, creativity and self reliance.

W. D. Albert Perera, the new star, who appeared in the horizon of national music with a unique ability in both vocal and instrumental, was faced with a colossal task to transform the lethargic society saddled with corrupt Sinhala music, into a truly Sri Lankan music with a unique national character and identity.

W. D. Albert Perera's early association with Mohamed Ghouse, a Music Director of great repute gave the young musician the much needed 'shot in the arm'. Master Ghouse having instantly identified and fathomed great signs of future achievement entrusted to Albert Perera who had nimble fingers to handle the cords of the violin so precisely introduced to him at a very tender age by his father and his angelic voice moulded by his mother, the opportunity to take a gigantic stride in the field of music.

Albert Perera not only produced 'magic' music but gave his melodious voice as well, to the Sinhala film 'Asokamala' where Master Ghouse was the Director of Music while his capable Albert was his deputy. This was in addition to Albert Perera's role as hermit and dancer. 'Ayi Kale yamek Ale' and 'Bhave Bheetha' the two songs were undoubtedly of very high quality. The writer recalls his school days at S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia, in early nineteen fifites, when the school boy audience appreciated 'Shantha me rae yame' and 'Peenamuko, kalu gange' which were constant recitals by me at the College Sinhala Literary Society meetings conducted by Mr. D. S. Jayasekera, the well-known Sinhala teacher and at the "Hela Havula" meetings conducted by the reputed poet Ariesen Ahubudu. Sometime later in life, I had the rare privilege of studying Sinhala Music at the feet of this great master in 1970 and 1971. W. D. Amaradeva's enchanting rhythmic waves invariably put me to sleep during his lessons.

W. D. Albert Perera's close association with Professor Edirirweera Sarathchandra paved the way for a gigantic revolution in the sphere of national Sri Lankan music. Professor Sarathchandra who pioneered the revival of traditional Sri Lankan music discovered that diminutive W. D. Albert Perera's 'magic' tongue and 'angelic' voice could give life and meaning to national music and christened him "Amaradeva". True to the meaning of this word, Amaradeva to-day is almost immortal. On an initiative taken by Mr. D. B. Dhanapala, the famed editor of "Lankadeepa", a scholarship fund was inaugurated to enable W. D. Amaradeva to proceed to Bathkande University of music in India, for his formal education in music. Amaradeva's inborn talent, his capacity for selfless effort and intense commitment enabled him to accomplish his task with honours and return to his motherland with a degree in Oriental Music, "Sangeeth Visharada."

Collecting a degree was not the ultimate goal in life. Instead, his desire was to dedicate his entire life and knowledge towards the cultural enrichment of his motherland.

It was indeed an uphill task. With this in mind he focussed his attention and produced many radio programmes such as "Jana Gayana" "Madhuwanthi", "Swarna Warna", "Gee Ama Bindu" to name just a few in addition to numerous ballets, films etc. Beside all these, some of Amaradeva's early melodies such as 'Udaye Upul Vile,' 'Leladeya Bande', 'Sudu Sele', 'Vandimu Sugatha', 'Sakya Singha', 'Siri Bhagavath', 'Lo himi, Mage Piya, Handapane Welithala, Sigiriye Sithuvam, Ae Maha Polo Thale, Welithala Athare, Navaka Chalitha Seetha Sulanga, Kandu Regini, Irata Muwaven, Mukulitha Puyumo, Aye Nidi Mey, Desavana Pinana Gee Rawe, Dodamkapala, Sannaliyane sung over fifty years ago are remarkable musical compositions.

Pandit Amaradeva's dedicated effort has borne fruit. He rescued the nation from corrupt film music and developed a clean indigenous form of Sri Lankan music in keeping with the cultural heritage of the nation, ably backed by outstanding lyric writers such as Mahagama Sekara, Madawala S. Ratnayake, Sri Chandraratne Manawasinghe and Dalton de Alwis thus enriching the quality of Pandit Amaradeva's songs blended with the Master's sensational voice to give rhythm and life to the lyrics. Pandit Amaradeva, the trail blazer of a distinctively Sri Lankan musical tradition is a living legend, a national treasure of international fame in the world of music and the Cultural Ambassador of Sri Lanka. We wish him long life -

To you Sir, the nation owes a great deal for enriching the cultural background of our motherland
There is no better school
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Old 22-01-11, 07:27 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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Default Amaradeva Trailblazer of Distinctive Music Tradition

from imtiaz <imtiaz@issadeen.com>
date Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 8:40 PM
subject Amaradeva Trailblazer of Distinctive Music Tradition



Above link will take you the story.

Also see www.ozlanka.com

Photos used were taken by me in 2005.

Please convey my warmest regards to Mr. Mandawala


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