Nation bids farewell to musical legend | Sunday Observer

Nation bids farewell to musical legend

Some may call it a cliche, but the skies started weeping since dawn yesterday, as the nation prepared to bid farewell to the greatest musician it has ever seen.

“When the death of Maestro Amaradeva was announced, everyone and everything in this small country stood still, absorbing the news. Not just people, the skies, the earth and all living beings were shocked,” Nanda Malini said fighting tears.

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, daddy fields that stretch till the horizon, and farmers, and how they all connect with art and music. “He was a visionary,” he said that it has been decided to establish Amaradeva Art Centre and invited artists to provide them with guidance.

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. Parents were heard reciting and explaining the lyrics of the Master Amaradeva’s songs that were played in the background, to their little children.

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.

Former student of Pandit Amaradeva, singer Edward Jayakody said that Sri Lanka lost its signature voice, its identity in music, along with the Master. “He leaves without any debts due to the nation or to the world for he gave so much.” Proud to be his student, Jayakody said that they could only hope to aspire to the standards Maestro Amaradeva set for the musicians in Sri Lanka.

Jayakody recollected how Maestro Amaradeva took him under his wings at the university and brought him along to perform as background singers when songs were recorded. “We couldn’t believe that we were getting the opportunity to sing with Master, though he never saw it that way. He always made it seem like he was happy and excited to perform with us. Once he heard me murmuring a song that he was preparing to record. Then he said ‘Edward, why don’t you sing it’ and that’s how I ended up singing the song on Maname Princess.”

It’s just like Ediriweera Sarachchandra said, Jayakody said that though Master is no more, he left his fragrance lingering, and it will be with us forever.

Staff and students of the University of Visual and Performing Arts was present to pay homage to their chancellor, reminding the country that Master Amaradeva was a massive tree with many branches providing shade to various groups in the society.

The aggrieved public held their hands together, bowed their heads as the artists shouldered the Musician in his last journey to the pyre. Vimala Amaradeva and the family shared memories of their beloved, and took part in the religious rituals, amidst hundreds of people gathered at the Independence Square who recited the gatha along with them. “Nothing’s Certain,” heard here and there amidst sighs. Amaradeva’s son, Ranjana Amaradeva said, “My father lived for the public, created songs for their entertainment,” thanking for the support given to the family.

Minister of Home Affairs Vajira Abrywardena said that it is for the first time the independence square has been used to allow public to pay homage to a deceased celebrity, as the whole country is joined in grief. “Funerals are a family matter but today, it’s a funeral for the whole country, as he was embraced as their own by the whole country,” he said.

Actress Ramya Wanigasekara paid homage to the mighty musician and said that he was the bridge that connected the older generations with the youngsters. He was accepted by all the layers in society. “He knew the subject and he knew how to express himself to suit everyone in the society. He left many good messages to the society to ponder on and follow suit, and that gives hope in this hour of grief,” she said.

“Sunil (Edirisinghe) is the singer he is because he grew up under the shade of Amaradeva, listening to his songs,” Sathischandra Edirisinghe said.

He was a unique person as well as a unique musician, creating music so different from one another, which is very clear when analysing the songs composed by Master Amaradeva for various films. Edirisinghe said that Pandith Amaradeva was like a lotus, born in mud but bloomed bathing in sunshine, and stood above the muddy water. “Sarasvathi also sat on a lotus, so did Lord Buddha. Hence the lotus is the best example for this great artist,” he added.

Lyricist and Chief Incumbent of Atamasthana said that “Amaradeva sang the truth about life in many songs, that death is inevitable, and the hard truth is now in front of us.” Sri Lanka will never see another like Amaradeva. The afternoon sun was setting as the fire emerged, raising higher and higher, and the country bid farewell to Amaradeva, the “Immortal God”.



still i,m waiting earg of the river shen in paris,,,,with very cool shivering, ,but to sing with you,, ,,,hanthane kadu mudunabut you,,never come!! sisara!!!!

very nice bell voiyage,,,,but breve,and legend, music master , profesior, be courrege,,every things we left at the last,,,after your sohon kothe ,,we have to write,,( oba mala pasu ,, sohon kothe,,)we will write,(! amare! api oba wenuwn sada gii gayanawa ) manu guna damm rakina gaman ,, sihin hadin mumunanawa obata ahennata!