How satisfying it is to listen to some meaningful songs in an age when all types of worthless stuff is churned out in the name of Sinhala music. The meaningless ones are constantly heard over radio, they blast your ears when you go past shops selling CDs and DVDs (and there are plenty down streets and in markets in every town) and even in buses and vans. Often they are a nuisance though many of us like to enjoy a little music at the right time at the right place.
'Me maha kanda' is the title of a CD containing lyrics by the versatile Sunil Sarath Perera. The twenty songs in the CD are gems sung by ten singers who are among the leading artistes in Sri Lanka. The words are beautiful. The musical compositions match the meanings. And the singers have given their best rendering.
Often we find CDs featuring a single singer rendering compositions by different lyric writers. 'Me Maha Kanda' is different. It features the creative effort of a single lyric writer presented by different singers. Thus there is variety and one doesn't tire of listening since the voices are different.
Basically the songs have a Buddhistic and patriotic flavour. The CD is proof that some of Sanath Nandasiri's best numbers have been written by Sunil Sarath. The CD opens fittingly with Sanath's 'Mage ratata dalada himi saranai' – homage to the Sri Dalada - a song that has captured the hearts of Sri Lankans over the years. He also sings the popular 'Yasodhara' on the virtues of princess Yasodhara. The music of both songs as well as two others in the CD – 'Sande kaluwara' and 'Eta epita gammane' - both with a pastoral touch have been composed by Sanath Nandasiri himself.
Pandit Amaradeva's voice can be heard in five numbers. In addition to 'Me maha kanda', 'Anothaththa vila', 'Pera dinayaka ma' and ' Siri Samanola sirasin', he sings a not so frequently heard number titled 'Piyasara kara aami' where Sunil Sarath has captured his feelings as the plane he was travelling in was touching down. Incidentally, Sunil Sarath seems to have written the most number of songs for Amaradeva besides Mahagama Sekera and Madawala S. Ratnayake.
Somatilaka Jayamaha belongs to the breed who prefer to render quality songs. That is probably one reason why he had sung several numbers written by Sunil Sarath. 'Oba dekumen' (music by P. Dunstan de Silva - pioneer musician who set high standards when he was in charge of music during Radio Ceylon days) , 'Maha varusavata' and 'Oba ese mudu pahasa' are three songs in the CD sung by him.
Sunil Edirisinghe shows his class in the new look, popular number ' Raa raa bombiye' set to the music by Rohana Weerasinghe. Ananda Perera's 'Dili dili dilliye' is another of Sunil Sarath's creations with a different look.
Quality artistes Dayaratne Ranatunga, Amarasiri Peiris, Deepika Priyadarshani and Jagath Wickremasinghe are among other singers featured.
Variety of this sort cannot be easily found. 'Me maha kanda' is a rare treat for the ears.
Sambuddhatva Jayanthi song
As part of the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi commemorative programme, the Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs Ministry decided to compose a song. Titled 'Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Geetaya' it has been released as a CD.
The lyrics have been written by Sunil Sarath Perera. Music is by maestro Rohana Weerasinghe. At least 15 singers led by Pandit Amaradeva and Nanda Malini have joined in the singing of a unique song to mark the 2600th anniversary of the Enlightenment of Gautama the Buddha.
Yet another feather in Sunil Sarath's cap.