Pradeep Rangana A superstar’s balance of music and medicine | Sunday Observer

Pradeep Rangana A superstar’s balance of music and medicine

30 August, 2020

To go back in time- to 2007- the event – Sirasa Superstar Season 2 –a 23 year old medical student clad in a bright hued sarong and kurta seated cross-legged on stage singing a classic and popular Sinhala folk song- Hansa Rajini- he is Pradeep Rangana Abeysinghe- the winner of the coveted crown Sirasa Super Star Season 2. Judges and audience sit mesmerised as the mellifluous and pure notes ring out – and as the song ends, a standing ovation with the judges on their feet.

Pradeep Rangana’s performance that evening was as one of the 48performers chosen to go forward to the quarter and semi-finals and then ultimately to the finals which only two of them would reach. Hansa Rajini was sung by him at the semi-finals too.

Rare find

The youthful medical student was a winner all the way with one of the judges Visharadha Chandrika Siriwardene calling him a dolos mahe pahana (an eternally shining light). Guest judge, the late Prof. Carlo Fonseka voiced the opinion that medical students can be found in any district but a singer of Pradeep’s calibre was a rare find indeed. To receive such accolades from such persons early in the competition is evidence of the inherent musical talent of Rangana.

According to him, his rendition of Hansa Rajini and the tremendous acclamation he got was the catalyst that propelled him as a singer and to the stardom.Till then, he had not put his whole being into singing though he did take it seriously.

At the grand finale, Rangana’s tuneful and catchy renditions of two H.R.Jothipala favourites, Sihina Ahase Wasanthaye and Sanda Modhuwela won him the crown – Sirasa Superstar Season 2.

From then on, Rangana has never looked back. All his songs to date have been instant hits.

Rangana’s first song Mala Giravi soared to instant success.

He did an album with M Entertainment titled Adambarakari and included in it is the song of the same name and an all-time hit, Pana wage and Mal warusawe are two other hit songs from the same album.

Rangana says that being a Superstar was an incredible experience and a learning curve with life-time memories.

His involvement with the Reality Show interrupted Rangana’s medical studies and he took a year off from them to concentrate on his music. In an unprecedented move, the Karapitiya Medical Faculty authorities gave the singer one year off for his music activities and allowed him to resume his studies thereafter. Rangana re-joined the Karapitiya Medical Faculty and went back one batch lower.

He obtained his MBBS in 2012. He did his internship at the Avissawellea Hospital in 2013and is currently attached to the Marathenna Hospital, a medical facility between his home town Ratnapura and Balangoda.

Rangana immersed himself in music in addition to his medical career. A desire to create songs seized him and he did it. He wanted to stretch his musical talents to their limits. He learnt every aspect of singing and music,including the technical aspects. Today, he composes and records in his studio.

Man with messages

His Pem Sihine (2014) won the Best Music Video Award at the Derana Awards. H released Mayawee in 2016, followed by Adaraya Oben and Mahawessa in 2017 and 2018.

Rangana is not a mere composer and singer of songs, he is a man with messages. He subtly weaves them into the fabric of his songs. For instance, Pem Sihine is about picking up the pieces after a broken affair and getting on with your life.

Mayawee’s message is on the same lines and Maha Wessa deals with the evils of drug abuse. As a medical officer and a person with empathy towards his fellow beings, Rangana is on a mission to create a better society through music.

He was touched when two youth approached him and said how his songs had helped and encouraged them to face life after traumatic emotional experiences.

Born at Weralupe, Ratnapura on November 12, 1983, Rangana is the second child and only son of Y.M. Abeysinghe and Chandrani Senaratne. His parents have always supported him, Pradeep says with utmost gratitude.

His first words after winning the Super Star title were Palamuwen, mawa meylo keta bihikala Ammata ha Appachchi tasirasanama wadimi.

He inherits his musical talent from his father. One of the most unique features about Rangana is his ability to whistle and his guru for this has been his father. Rangana grew up and thrived in an a musical environment as his father used to have music parties at home. He plays the guitar and the key boards.

His two sisters Susitha and Nisansala are singers though they have not made it a profession.

Rangana had his early education at Ferguson High School in Ratnapura and St. Thomas College, Bandarawela. In school, he was involved in music activities and won at singing and poetic competitions. Eastern music was one of his subjects for the GCE O/ L examination.

Asked why he chose the medical profession, he attributed it to parental influence and the fact that he got distinctions only in Science and Maths.

“It seemed to be the logical thing to do”, he said. Balancing music and medical studies was an uphill task for Rangana.

His musical interests cover a wide spectrum of genres, including pop, jazz, blues and ghazals. His favourite Sri Lankan singers are Victor Ratnayake, Sunil Edirisinghe and Pandith Amaradeva.

Other singers who had influenced him are Sonu Nigam, Hari Haran, Ghulam Ali and Rahat Pateth Ali Khan. His finger guitar style favourites are Tommy Emmanuel, Trace Bundy and Andy Mckee.

To the question as to why he chose to compete in the Sirasa Superstar Season 2, he said that after watching Season One, he got attracted to the show and wanted to test his talents.

His songs for the audition were Edward Jayakody’s Muwa Mukhthalatha and Ananthayata yana Para Dige by Kasun Kalhara. As the former belongs to the classical genre, the judges requested him to sing another song and he chose the latter.

Rangana said that wife Chathurika is his tower of strength as she manages the domestic front and leaves him free to pursue music. Their pride and joy is seven month old baby daughter Shavari Yashorya.

Balancing music and medicine is Dr. Rangana’s forte and these undoubtedly will be his life’s mission and vision.