Music and drama brought them together
Charitha talks about life with singer Edward Jayakody:
'Ahas gange tharu keta gane
Polothale weli keta gane
Nilsayure rala pela gane
Aadarai man aadarai.....'
The number of stars in the sky,
The number of sand molecules in the earth
And the number of waves that emerge in the ocean
Likewise, my darling,
I have no words to express my love to you,
As it is so great, grand and wonderful ......
Charitha Priyadarshini Peiris
Many readers know it's all about Edward and Charitha, not merely
seeing their pictures on the page, but when your eyes catch the
beautiful verse, which expresses her benevolent, worldly love and
compassion towards her husband.
So much to talk about Edward and Charitha... "Well?" begins Charitha
leaning against a cosy chair in her spacious living room which is
occupied by her students who come to learn music during the weekends.
"Little busy these days as I'm registering new students to my 'Seri
Sara' music monastery which is for those who want to learn music and do
The 'Rasa Vindana' class which I conduct for music enthusiasts in any
walk of life has no age limit. Anybody who likes to have voice training
is welcomed," says Charitha who got through her 'Visharada' exam last
Charitha begins to talk. People are blessed with many things. And
most of them are gifted with one single thing. But Charitha's story is
different as she is blessed with many; beauty and brains, wit and a
"I'm Charitha Priyadarshini Peiris," she laughs. "And I was born on
October 19 in 1967;" she has no intention of hiding her age. "I'm
getting grey. But I'm not worried. It's a sign of maturity," she says.
But I (the writer) personally feels she still leads. "No...no... both
Edward and I lead a very normal, simple and down-to-earth life," she
Charitha still lives at her birth place at Mirihana, Nugegoda
adjoining the Mirihana Police Grounds, which is the ancestral home of
her mother Pushpa Wijeratne. "My mother died in 2001 after a brief
illness. It's a great void," she sighs. Charitha's father, Ariyadasa
Peiris was also one time a famous radio artiste who had introduced many
young, up and coming singers to the nation. And Edward Jayakody was also
one such young singer who stepped into the field through these
Charitha is the youngest of the family. Her sister, Malika was never
interested in stepping into the field of arts. Nor did their father
Ariyadasa like the idea when Charitha showed interest in becoming an
But even when she was at school at Anula Vidyalaya, Nugegoda, not a
single school ceremony passed without it been compered by Charitha.
"Hmm... school days were fabulous. Our class was one of the best classes
in the grade comprising nine senior prefects and students with aesthetic
Even Deepika Priyadarshani Peiris who has been among the top singers
in Sri Lanka was also in our class. Ours was a very united class. Even
if we saw somebody in a bad mood, we would crack a joke to make her
smile. I studied Kandyan dancing under Mrs. Daya Nellampitiya and
Christine Dissanayake at school. But I took part in musical programmes
through out. I was in the Eastern band and played almost all the
instruments. I did guiding and netball..hmm.. that's all," she says.
"The biggest mistake I did in my life was deciding to do Bio science
for my A/Ls. My father wanted me to become a doctor and never liked me
stepping into the field of art. But since 1984, I have been getting
involved with programmes the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.
It was my father's younger brother, Jayantha Peiris who gave me a
helping hand to enter SLBC. And my mother was also with me through out
encouraging me. So after A/Ls I joined SLBC full time. 'Sonduru Sevena'
in 1985, was my first programme.
I lent a voice cut for. It was a live programme. I became a Relief
Announcer in 1994, a News Reader in 1995 and then a Drama Artiste after
a few years. I studied music under Edward and then under late Victor B.
Perera and passed the SLBC test as a 'Grade A' singer as well," she
Charitha has been conducting the lottery programme 'Shanida Vaasanava'
for the Development Lotteries Board and has been at ITN for the past 21
years. "When I started it I was just 19 years old. Apart from that I
presented 'Kala Rasanga', a weekly news in the arts field with Francis
Wanniarachchi on ITN. At present I present 'Mathakaye Randunu Gee' on
Saturday from 3.00 to 4.00 pm, and 'Eda Api Dutu Chithrapatayakin' on
Sunday at 4.30 pm.," she says.
"Dalmalamu Api Eka Iti Pahanak" composed by Pushpa Ramlani and the
melody by Charitha was sung by more than 100 popular female singers in
Sri Lanka - both young and old on the International Women's Day in 1998.
And since then this song is the theme song of the International Women's
Day up to day.
Question: How did you meet Edward?
Charitha: He is from Hettimulla, Kegalle. His first music teacher
Mr.H. Samarapala at Bandaranaike Central College, Hettimulla was known
to my father. So they used to visit our place, and my father used to
help Edward to sing in his radio programmes and we became family friends
in no time. So, I don't know how it happened, we fell in love even
without our knowledge.
Edward Thimothi Jayakody was born to Victoria and Don Rafial Jayakody
at Hettimulla. There were seven in his family. Edward studied at
Bandaranaike Central College, Nugawela Central College and St. Mary's
He did Commerce for his A/Ls although he was studying music
privately. Edward entered the Aesthetic University attached to the
University of Kelaniya and passed out with Honours. He obtained a 'Visharada'
in music. With all this Edward has mastered many modes of music
including Indian classics, western and local Sinhala village folk, which
is an extremely rare opportunity a musician would get.
Edward's elder sister, Charlotte and her husband helped him in a
great way to up in music. He was just 14 years when he first stepped in
to Radio Ceylon (SLBC). Since then Edward took part in numerous musical
programmes at the SLBC and subsequently became a 'Grade A' singer.
He worked as the music teacher at Nalanda Vidyalaya,Colombo, Gurukula
Vidyalaya, Kelaniya and as a Circuit Education Officer attached to the
Education Ministry. Today, he is the Education Director-Music at the
Ministry of Education. Apart from that he is the member of the National
Music Council and the Intellectual Property Council. He was the
President of the All Ceylon Singers' Association for a long time.
Though many do not know both Edward and Charitha are into acting.
Charitha had taken part in small roles in a few tele-drama while Edward
had taken part in about ten stage dramas like 'Angara ganga gala basi',
'Sekkuwa' and 'Nari Bena'... He won the Best Supporting Actor Award at
the Youth Drama Festival for his role in the stage drama 'Muhandiram
Haamuduruwo' directed by Premalal Gange in 1977. He had also won the
best music director awards at many State Drama Festivals.
Question: Edward as a husband?
Charitha: Sober and quiet personality. He rarely gets angry, but once
he gets it , he takes time to cool down. He has come from the village,
and is very contended about his present position.
One way that's a weak point as well, because he rarely initiates a
thing of his own. Even when he loses an award after being nominated, he
would just ignore it. He is self content. Edward always says he has been
helped by everybody whom he has encountered in his life. He is very
grateful to everyone of them.
Question: What do you look forward to in the future?
Charitha: We don't have very high aspirations. Our son Chandeepa is
in Grade -9 and daughter Sharanya is in Grade 3 at the Lyceum
International School, Nugegoda. Our son was the Best Supporting Actor at
Jerome de Silva's 'Oliver Twist' stage drama staged at Lionel Wendt in
Our daughter took part in Somaratne Dissanayaka's newest film 'Siri
Raja Siri' which will be released shortly. Both of them took part in
Udayakantha Warnakulasuriya's film 'Hiri Poda Vessa'. Both are talented,
and we would help and bless them to choose whatever path they want to
excel in life.
Apart from that we are quite content with what we have. I'm a
Buddhist and he is a Catholic, hailing from a very orthodox and flexible
family background. All his siblings got married to Buddhists.
At first, though my mother liked him, my father took time to give his
consent to our marriage due to religious differences, but later
everything went on well. My children mainly follow Buddhism, but we all
go to the temple and church, and celebrate both Wesak and Christmas.
If I'm told to ask for something from God, I would say 'I would not'
as I am, blessed with many things. What else should I ask for. We are
not very rich people, but a family who loves yet happy. That's all that