right royal farewell!
It was indeed a Royal Farewell to the Super Golden Chimes. A packed
Navarangahala - mainly old Royalists, their families and well wishers
- gave a standing ovation to the Group at the end of the three hour
concert last Sunday, organized by Group 79 in aid of a worthy project
- the Skills Development Centre. It was also a tribute to the late
Clarence Wijewardena who not only formed and led the group but also
proved how Sinhala music can be popularised with simple words, catchy
tunes and innovative melodies.
most of us, it was going down memory lane. The Super Golden Chimes
was the rage in their day three decades ago. They were a young,
dynamic group. Their concerts were a treat. After Clarence's death,
they virtually faded away. Most of the members had left seeking
greener pastures. We could only see and hear Clarence's able assistant,
Annesley Malewana accompanied by Indrani Perera, that too occasionally.
Obviously on Annesley's initiative, the others came over for what
they called the 'Final Reunion'. And what a reunion it turned out
they had added another at least thirty years to their age, everyone
had the same vigour and vitality as in the good old concert days.
To see them perform in the same youthful, vibrant mood was great.
And they were so happy to be at Navaranghala where they began with
Super Golden Chimes Concert I in 1969, if I remember right. They
sang all the popular numbers stating with two selected ones from
the Moonstones days. It turned out to be a good mix with a fair
amount of English numbers thrown in. Just to prove that they are
very active still, they sang a few numbers from a new CD, which
has just come out on the Torana label.
was a lot of planning months ahead. The last two weeks were hectic,"
Annesley admitted. That was after his colleagues arrived from numerous
places - from Sydney to New York. Old Royalist Rukshan was in fine
form. His innovation of using just the voices for a medley was highly
appreciated. We saw Chandralal enjoying himself thoroughly.
Sunil, Srikantha, Kumar, Dixon and the rest had not lost their touch.
Guest artiste Joseph Visidagama's tribute to Clarence by way of
a composition using the titles of the latter's songs was quite a
surprise item. And of course, the ever-green Vijaya Corea added
that extra touch with his choice of words and presentation, as he
always does. It's nice to see Annesley keeping the flag flying.
voice is still as fresh as it was when we first heard him in the
sixties. Keep it up! The climax came with 'Kanda Surinduni' - the
ever popular invocation to Kataragama Deviyo which Clarence composed
when one of his mates met with an accident. Yet the Group insisted
on singing a medley to wind up. The best of Clarence was there.