4th June 2000
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A Taste of Sinhala (21) 

One thing!

By Prof. J.B. Disanayaka
When a Sinhalese wishes to express his opinion on a matter in a categorical manner, he prefaces his sentence with the following warning: 

Mama oya:ta ekak kiyannan which means literally, 'I will tell you one thing'. The Sinhala word 'ekak' is an indefinite noun, which literally means 'a one'. Its definite counterpart is 'eka' which means, among other things, "one". In counting, you begin with 'eka': eka (one), deka (two), tuna (three), hatara (four), 'paha' (five) and so on. 

The word 'eka' when it follows a Sinhala word which refers to something like salt (lunu), rice (buth), sugar (si:ni) or water (vatura), means 'that which contains': 

Kala korner - by Dee Cee

The maestro's voice from afar
Listening to maestro Amaradeva is always so refreshing. Whether you listen to him at a live concert, over television or on radio, the freshness is always there. One never tires of listening to him. On the eve of his departure to the United States on a two month tour, he was in conversation with Sarath Amunugama, one of his innumerable admirers from the latter's Peradeniya campus days, in a brand new programme 'Sahurdeyaku Samaga' (With a connoisseur) televised over ITN. 

With seasoned journalist Gamini Sumanasekera acting as presenter, the programme turned out to be an interesting discussion. Amaradeva's rendering of a whole lot of old favourites was a treat to the 'rasikas' .

Listening to him live on SLBC's Commercial Service from Los Angeles last Sunday morning (he was performing at the Carpenter Performing Arts Centre in Long Beach, California at 7 on Saturday evening) via Internet, was a novel experience. He sang the ever popular numbers from his maiden song, 'Shanta Me Re Yame' to 'Pile Pedura' keeping the audience (a mix of Sri Lankans and Americans) spellbound. He introduced each song and in explaining the meaning or how each one came to be written, related many an interesting anecdote. 

An enthusiastic audience enjoyed and appreciated every minute of the show.

Paying a tribute to the audience, he stressed that an artist is nobody without admirers. "They inspire me to innovate," he said amidst loud cheers. And he had a word of advice to Sri Lankans abroad. "You may be in a foreign land. But don't embrace a foreign culture. Maintain your identity." As presenter Ariyasiri Vitanage mentioned, it was a historic occasion, a golden moment in Sri Lanka's broadcasting history. For the first time SLBC was picking up a concert live via Internet. 

The maestro is in the US on the invitation of the Arts Foundation of Los Angeles founded by an old Nalandian, Chintaka Deraniyagala, a computer engineer functioning as the managing director of a computer firm in LA. 

Explaining the objectives of the Foundation, President Ananda Makalanda said they are aiming to present the fine arts of diversified ethnic groups in LA where there is an estimated 180 nationalities. 'Amara Gee Sara' (Voice of maestro Amaradeva) is the first. The next will feature artistes from Paraguay. Amaradeva will tour eleven cities in the US and Canada before returning to Sri Lanka in time for the inauguration of the Amaradeva Trust Fund at a show at the BMICH on August 5.

See the best dramas
This year's Sinhala drama festival nearly got hijacked when the Cultural Ministry gave instructions to postpone it indefinitely in view of the Government's decision not to hold any festivities due to the war situation. 

However, following representations by dramatists that the event is one that brings recognition to their efforts, Minister Lakshman Jayakody has allowed it to be held on a low key. These creations are tastefully done compared with the highly commercialised productions which draw full houses although they are of low quality. 

The event is really the final round of the annual drama competition presenting the best dramas staged during the previous year. 

The plays will be staged from Wednesday, June 7 onwards at the John de Silva Theatre beginning with 14 short plays which got selected for the finals. This is the first time that both short and long plays are presented together.

The short plays will end on June 11 with the staging of the winner and two runners-up at last year's festival. 

The long plays begin on June 13.

The awards presentation will also be held at the same venue (normally it's at the BMICH) on July 18.

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