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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2702

Sri Lankan music legend Pandith W.D. Amaradeva laid to rest

Colombo, 06 November, (

Yesterday, the Nation bids farewell to the Sri Lankan music legend Pandith W.D. Amaradeva, who was laid to rest after a funeral ceremony held with full state honors at Independence Square in Colombo .

People poured into the independence square to pay their last respects to the much loved musician, braving the pouring rain. Men, women, children queued up to take a final glimpse of the man whose voice soothed them for decades.

The country’s artist community, religious leaders and the political leadership including the President and Prime Minister were presents while a large number of the public also attended the cremation ceremony.

President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom send a message of condolence on the demise of Pandit W D Amaradeva, veteran vocalist, composer and musicion. In a message to President Maithripala Sirisena, he expressed his sorrow over the death of the renowned musician, vocalist and composer.

President Maithripala Sirisena said that Amaradeva is the voice that awakened the nation.

“He is immortal, and his voice lives on,” he said having declared a week of mourning.
Decades earlier, he said that he invited Pandith Amaradeva for a program in Polonnaruwa to work with school children, which he readily agreed.

Sirisena said that Amaradeva talked about Parakrama Samudraya, mighty pagodas, paddy fields that stretch till the horizon, and farmers, and how they all connect with art and music.

President Maithripala Sirisena said that the government expects to establish an Amaradeva Centre in honor of the legendary Sri Lankan musician.

Addressing the gathering during the funeral of the late veteran musician, he requested Sri Lanka’s artist community to provide necessary guidance for this purpose.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who delivered a speech, said that the great maestro was a “national treasure” and that he and other musicians helped the country move forward during hard times.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, who was also a student of Pandith Amaradeva, said that his first meeting with the maestro was when he was appointed as a music teacher to Royal College. “Me and MP Dinesh Gunawardena, and former Speaker Anura Bandaranaike were his students, though he couldn’t make us singers,” he added.

He was a national treasure, a giant in music who created and developed Sri Lankan music, a Sri Lankan identity in music, Wickremasinghe said. Also, headded that Pandith Amaradeva embraced the technology. He was initially known to him as the person who sang songs in Radio Ceylon, but when the television was introduced in Sri Lanka, Amaradeva had the highest demand. “And when he passed away, his songs are available on YouTube,” he always updated himself and related to the public, Wickremasinghe added.

Amaradeva, a recipient of many international honours including Padma Shri from India, for his contribution to music, passed away on Thursday (3) after an heart attack. He was 88.

The music composer drew inspiration from classical Indian ragas as well as Sri Lanka’s own rich traditions of folk music and went on to create a music that is quintessentially Sri Lankan.

His contribution to the development of Sinhala music is considered unmatched. The musician has been the recipient of several awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award (2001), Padma Shri (2002) and Sri Lankan President’s Award of Kala Keerthi (1986) and Deshamanya Award (1998).

- Asian Tribune –

Sri Lankan music legend Pandith W.D. Amaradeva  laid to rest
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