Golden Jubilee celebrations in Canada | Sunday Observer

Golden Jubilee celebrations in Canada

Whatever happened to the group Samanalayo? you may have wondered. Have they disbanded? Are each one of them going their own way? A thousand questions might have flashed in and out of your mind. We wondered too what really has happened to them.

News now comes to us that the group is now domiciled in Canada and hasn’t given up their singing ways! In fact, next month in December, Samanalayo will be celebrating their golden jubilee with a broadcast over Savana Radio, hosted by Vasantha Lankatilleke, no stranger to presenters and operational staff who worked at SLBC. The broadcast will include the airing of their songs new and old and an exclusive interview with Raymond Fonseka. The new songs were as Samanalayo proudly claim recorded at Metalworks Studios Mississanga, Ontario, where stars Celine Dion, Drake, Justin Beiber, Christina Aguilera record their songs.

To coincide with their golden jubilee the group now calling themselves the New Samanalayo, have released their album which contains two English songs titled, Niagara and Toronto. The lyrics and melodies of both these songs are by Nihal Silva. Raymond composed one song Olu Nelum Manel. The other songs by Nihal are, Suduveli Paara Digay and Landesi Vendesi. Of course, the popular songs of Samanalayo were not left out.

Included in the album are Tea-Rubber-Pol, Kandugeta Pasukara and their first and highly successful song, Nalawena Maru Ukula.

How did it all begin for Samanalayo? The story is unbelievable but true, as recounted by the members. Raymond Fonseka, Nihal Silva, Roy Fonseka and Patrick Corere were students at St. Aloysius’ Seminary, Borella, studying to become priests. But an ironic twist of fate saw them all leave the Seminary in 1960.

Patrick Corera joined his father’s Gowri Corporation which held a franchise for Philips Records. He toyed with the idea of producing phonographic. He conferred with Raymond Fonseka and they made an EP vinyl record of four Sinhala songs. One of them was Paddhie Me Oruwe.

With Nihal Silva the guitarist for the Patrick Denipitiya Combo they were able to record at Tony Fernando’s the Lewis Brown Recording Studio. Patrick Denipitiya was a friend of Tony Fernando. The recording was made with musicians from the Patrick Denipitiya Combo and also from the Radio Ceylon Orchestra – T.F. Lateef, A.J. Kareem, M.W. Peiris. In May 1967, the sample disc arrived from Singapore and it was aired over Radio Ceylon on the English Services’ program, Radio Journal. According to Nihal Silva while they were sitting in the lobby awaiting the presenter, a yellow coloured butterfly flew into the lobby of Radio Ceylon and Nihal told Raymond “the name for our group just flew in”.

Samanalayo was born and Nelavena Mavu Ukule became a mega hit.