Old Anandians’ songs to remember
As Ananda College commemorates its 125th year, the Old Anandians Sports Club celebrates its 25th annual weekend outing this year and the members are looking forward to the trip planned for August 25 and 26 at Sigiriya Village as one to be remembered.
Among the souvenirs planned for the occasion is a unique collection of songs sung by old Anandians who have hit the peak in the local music scene and had recognition abroad as well. From Maurice Dahanayake to Bhatiya Jayakody and Kasun Kalhara, it is an impressive list. It was no easy task for the organisers to pick the singers and then to obtain their willingness to participate in the CD that was to be produced.
“Their cooperation was fantastic,” says Gilbert Mendis who coordinated the production of the CD. ‘Ananadaneeya Gee’ will be an exclusive collection meant only for those who join the trip.
Starting with the Ananda 125th Anniversary song, the CD features the father and son combination – Wijeratne and Jananath Warakagoda – the former remembered for his classic performance as narrator in ‘Hunuwataye Kathawa’ and the latter as the modern-day drummer, innovating all the time. It’s Wijeratne’s ever-popular number of a postscript to ‘Maname’ – ‘Ranga hala den netha ada andure’ and the equally popular song on Menike’s smile that have been selected for the CD.
Jayanath’s first number pays homage to Sri Dalada and the other describes the scent of the village.
The evergreen ‘senior citizen’ of the group, Maurice Dahanayake’s voice is heard in two of his most popular numbers – ‘Onna olu malak” and ‘Meth mal pibidewa’. He has been singing for well over six decades and was also a well-known film actor in his day. He was a much-in-demand playback singer too.
Jagath Wickremasinghe and Rohana Siriwardena are two other old Anandians who have been featured. Jagath in his own inimitable style sings ‘Sande agaya’ and ‘Sondura nisa’. Rohana’s is his very popular number ‘Obe athagena’.
Among the relatively new singers featured are Sahan Ralwala, Madhu Madhava Aravinda, Kasun Kalhara and Bhathiya Jayakody (of Bhathiya – Santhush fame). Sahan’s songs are the ones he sang as a kid. Following his father’s footsteps, his accent is on folk songs.
The CD ends with ‘Anandai Anandai’ hailing the College.Gilbert, on behalf of the organisers, reminds members to make bookings if they have not already done so and wants those interested to get in touch with Lal Hewagama (072 779 8288) or Manjula Wijemanne (777 736 847). He assures it’s going to be an exciting weekend-out and that the token gift will be one to treasure.
Homage to Sri Dalada
The other day I picked up a CD from the SLBC counter with a collection of songs by our leading singers paying homage to the Sri Dalada. Titled ‘Dalada Varuna’ (Praise for the Dalada) it’s a fine mix with some of the old hits and more recent ones. In fact, most of us may even have forgotten some of the then popular songs about the hill capital and the Sacred Tooth Relic.
The well known beats at the ‘Dalada Thevaava’ – the daily ‘drum offering’ at the Dalada Maligawa has been used as the opening number followed by maestro Amaradeva singing the Sri Chandraratne Manwasinghe composition ‘Kandukaraye hela rajadahane’. Two of the most popular numbers – ‘Uttama Munidalada’ sung by Dharmadasa Walpola (words by Ajantha Ranasinghe) and ‘Mage ratata dalada himi saranai’ by Sanath Nandasiri (words by Sunil Sarath Perera) are heard next.
It was many decades ago that we enjoyed Sunil Shantha’s ‘Piyakaru nuwara wewe’ and P. L.A. and Chitra Somapala’s ‘Nuwara alankare’. These apart, songs by Sujatha Attanayake, Amitha Wedisinge, Dayaratne Ranatunga, Jagath Wickremasinghe, Chandrani Gunawardena, Sagarika Gomes, and several others are included. Yet another worthwhile item for a collector.
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