Film Festival of Pandit W.D.Amaradeva: :Tribute to Sri Lanka’s ‘voice supreme’ | Sunday Observer

Film Festival of Pandit W.D.Amaradeva: :Tribute to Sri Lanka’s ‘voice supreme’

3 November, 2019

In memory of the late Pandit W.D.Amaradeva and his graceful history as the legendary composer, vocalist and pioneer who gave identity to the Sinhala classical song - a Film Festival was begun last Friday (Nov. 1), organised by the Amaradeva Foundation. It consisted of seven remarkable Sinhala films with his outstanding music compositions to commemorate the third death anniversary of the treasure of Sri Lankan music.

Today is the last day of this unique Film Festival, designed to celebrate the exemplary spirit of the maestro and three incredible Sinhala movies are lined up, namely, Madol duwa, Delowak Athara and Sagara Jalaya Madi Handuwa Oba Handa at 10.30am, 2pm and 6pm respectively at the National Film Corporation. The Festival is open to the public for free.

“Last year, in commemoration of the great artist and my beloved father, the Amaradeva Foundation organized a discussion forum about his contribution to music in the country, which was a most successful event. Although ‘Amaradeva Asapuwa’ was supposed to have completed its construction last August, due to many technical reasons it has been postponed for next year. Therefore, we decided to host a film festival consisting of seven Sinhala films with Pandit Amaradeva’s outstanding music compositions to commemorate his third death anniversary. The seven films are: Gamperaliya, Delowak Athara, Wesathuru Siritha,Tharangaa, Ransalu, Madolduwa and Sagara Jalaya Madi Handuwa Oba Handa. The last two days of the Festival was a great success and it was encouraging to see Pandit Amaradeva’s eternal fan base who consider him as a ‘treasure’ of the nation. Today is the final day of the Festival and through the ‘Amaradeva Foundation’ we hope to continue many more workshops, discussion forums, film screenings and music educational programs next year as well. Our ultimate goal is to expand these programs island wide. Before every screening we organize a short description about the film presented by veterans in the film industry such as, Ravindra Randeniya, Prof Praneeth Abeyasundara, Swarna Mallawaarachchi, Jackson Anthony, Priyantha Kolabage, Vimukthi Jayasundara, Udaya Dharmawardena and Dileepa Abeysekara. Also there will be a discussion about film music with the participation of Prof Kolitha Bhanu Dissanayake, Jayantha Chandrasiri, Darshana Ruwan Dissanayake, Dinesh Subasinghe and Ajith Kumarasiri,” said Ranjana Amaradeva, a founding member of the Amaradeva Foundation.

Ranjana added that with the primary objective of preserving Pandit Amaradeva’s musical heritage and his creations for the future generations, the Amaradeva Foundation has planned several long-term projects and this Film Festival is organized as a special event to celebrate his creativity.

The Amaradeva Foundation which has already conducted several international music educational programs and workshops under the conservation and entertainment program, plans to host a series of programs to highlight Pandit Amaradeva’s immense contribution to the field of music and its unique identity.

Even though a few years have passed since Pandit Amaradeva left us, the name is still magic, so is the voice. The maestro who had an incomparable trailblazing career in music for decades, still remains unchallenged. He had mastery over his own voice, golden and unique and representative of the people of this land. Besides, his unique talent was his contribution over the years to the development of the Sinhala song.

The jewel of the Sinhala cinema, the late Lester James Peiris once said, “Pandit Amaradeva’s voice itself is a music instrument.” Acknowledging Amaradeva’s glory in music Prof Sunil Ariyaratne said, “Pandit Amaradeva is a landmark in the history of music in the Sinhala cinema. He was the music composer of Gamperaliya, the first Sinhala film which was produced without songs. In this film Amaradeva used his voice as an instrument to fill the background music and that was somewhat revolutionary in the Sinhala cinema and the film won many local and international awards.”

Prof Ariyaratne stressed that in the first Sinhala colour film, Ranmuthu Duwa the music was composed by Pandit Amaradeva and he introduced the theme music concept to the Sinhala film industry through this film.

“Among the Sinhala films, Ransalu is one with an extraordinary music composition of the maestro. According to my observation in the maestro’s music career, the film Ransalu is one of his remarkable milestones. In the history of Sinhala music Pandit Amaradeva’s name will remain shining with the names of his friends maestro Premasiri Khemadasa and Somadasa Alvitigala,” Prof Ariyaratne added.

Described as a musician who defined modern Sri Lankan civilization in his unique role in the creation of a post-colonial national tradition, the maestro’s work reflects the spirit of the nation, earning him the unique title: Father of contemporary Sinhala music, and it is only natural that a grateful nation would wish to pay tribute to Sri Lanka’s ‘voice supreme’.