An exclusive song for an exclusive singer
Just before he embarked on his fateful tour to Russia, Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera converted a Pali stanza - a 'Thera gatha' on the qualities of the Buddha, into a Sinhala song. It was at the request of a close associate of his who was keen on singing a devotional song but had never sung earlier, that Soma Hamuduruwo agreed to do it. But once the song was done (it took about three months to complete), he felt nervous that he would never be able to do justice to what he considered was excellent lyrics.

Soma Hamuduruwo, however, managed to convince him. After several rehearsals under the renowned music director Rohana Weerasinghe, he did it. And it has turned out to be quite a good rendering. The singer is - Harris Wijesinghe, known for his talent in bridal dress designing but of course, unknown as a student of classical music. This is the one and only song that Soma Hamuduruwo wrote. And as all his other works - be it a sermon, a book, a discussion, a TV talk-show - the song is also based on the Buddha's word.

"It was purely because of Soma Hamuduruwo's insistence that I sang. He never gave up. He gave me all the encouragement and confidence. It's true I was longing to sing a devotional song but when I found I had to recite the Pali 'gatha' too, I was quite nervous," Harris confides.

Paying homage
Although there would be a demand for the song now that it has been aired, Harris does not want to make it a commercial operation. "It was purely an act of paying homage to the Buddha as a devout Buddhist that I was keen on rendering a devotional song," Harris insists.

And what a coincidence it was! Just the day before Soma Hamuduruwo left for Russia, Harris pleaded with him to record an introduction to the song. Though he had an extremely busy schedule, he obliged. "I thought of waiting till he came back to record it since he was going away only for ten days, yet something told me I should get it done before he left," Harris reminisces.

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