ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 33

Superb collection of Sunil Shantha songs

Kala Korner by Dee Cee

The SLBC gave music fans a rare treat on the eve of its 40th anniversary in the form of a fine collection of Sunil Shantha originals on a CD. This was something Sunil Shantha fans were waiting for, for many years - ever since the State radio fought shy of broadcasting his numbers for reasons best known to them.

The CD released last week contains some of the earliest songs sung by Sunil Shantha along with some of his later creations when he staged a comeback for a short stint at the instigation of late Director General Ridgeway Tillekeratne, if I remember right. Starting with the ever-green 'Olu pipila' , the CD boasts of the most popular numbers including 'Handapane', 'Mihikatha nalawala', 'Suwanda rosa mal', 'Ho ga rella' and 'Aadara nadiye'. Only 'Bovitiya dang' is missing.

Sunil Santha

Of his later creations, there is 'Mala mal varam' and 'Vala kulin besa' and that experimental song 'Poda daham sisila' with no instruments but voices only with a temple bell ringing in the background. Rapheal Tennakoon's classic, 'Kukulu heviila' - a man pleading with God Kataragama to punish the one who killed his cock bird , and the Bengali number, 'Bondure' are also among the 16 songs - a most valuable collection for any music fan. Obviously realising how important it is to improve listeners’ appreciation of good music at a time when standards are dropping, SLBC Chairman Sunil Sarath Perera, himself a renowned lyric writer and author, thought it appropriate to offer Sunil Shantha fans a collection of his ever popular numbers. I was pleased to hear a folk number ('Layata bendunu') written by Sunil Sarath himself which he sings in his melodious voice using just the 'udekki' as musical backing. Most of the songs in the CD are Hubert Dissanayaka's and Sunil Shantha's creations which added a new dimension to Sinhala music from the mid- forties onwards.

Two more of Sunil Shantha's popular numbers - 'Lanka Lanka' and 'Dakuna neganahira' (both with lyrics by Arisen Ahubudu) are included in the CD of patriotic songs released by the SLBC.

This too is a timely release when meaningless songs are being aired over many channels. Here again, the best of the patriotic numbers sung by many a singer from Amaradeva and Mohideen Begg to Sanath Nandasiri and Sunil Edirisinghe have been picked for the CD titled 'Maatroo Bhoomi' (Motherland).

The technical staff has done a wonderful job in eliminating the scratch sounds that we hear when old numbers are played.
Sri Lankans abroad are bound to enjoy these CDs and they can log on to for more details.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.