BS PERERA LEGENDARY PIONEER MUSICIAN REMINISCED AFTER SIX DECADES OF HIS DEMISE
Legendary Bambarendage Buddhadasa Srinath Perera, popularly known as BS Perera was born on the 25th December 1914 unfortunately had lived only for a period of forty six years , expired on 04th March 1960 was the pioneer musician in native Sri Lanka after achieving independence had dominated music in films and Radio Ceylon with his own inimitable creative styles not copying the Indian dominated music melodies that had conquered then uniquely improving our own established ‘Ragadhari’ music. It is reported that BS Perera’s wife had recorded a song initially to a disc under ‘Hewa Disc’ which had become non-existent later. The golden oldies like ”Dura Penena thanithala”, Sobhana Sandewe”, ”Olu Nelum Nelum Neliya Rangala” ,” Sudu Sanda Eliye”,”Sina Sisi”, ”Maage Pemwatha’ ,’ Manu Satha Loke Ipadee”, “ Dura Penena Thenithala” .”Olu Male Hisudo “ “Olu Nelum Neriya Rangala” ,”Dewlowa Deviyane” , “ Gala Kandehi Mathuwela” ,”Adara Nadiya Gala”, are among many the captivating music melodies and compositions were BS Perera’s exclusive hits which are still in the feelings and minds of all Sri Lankans etched in gold. All these songs were sung by veteran artistes including Mohideen Beg, Rukmani Devi ,Eddie Jayamanne,Sisira Senaratna, Indrani Senaratne, Sheela Pieris recorded mostly on HMV discs. All the above songs were sung by talented novice vocalists during the Sirasa TV felicitation program “Sajjayana” for legendary artistes. Other songs that BS Perera had made music compositions are “ Muhudu Pathula Yata Indala”, “Pape Gilila”, “ Sithude Lowe”, Wana Bambara Pem Mala Athaherala”,” Sudu Sanda Eliye”, “Wesak Kekulu” ,”Hada Siduru Wuna Mage’,, “Wana Male Pini”, ”Sithu De Lowe” etc. All these songs will reminisce easily for those in their sixties and seventies which need to be preserved for posterity.
Most of recordings of BS Perera were recorded under HMV discs as the music director of HMV Company. Subsequently BS Perera had recorded a number of songs of CT Fernando on HMV discs like ‘Ambili Mame”, “Bara Bage”, “Den Tika Tika Andura Wetenawa”,”Suwanda Rosa Mal” etc , BS Perera’s some songs were also recorded in ‘Columbia’ , “His Masters Voice” discs too. All his songs have added to the list of initial Sri Lankan music philosophy which still loiter amongst the interior of us for well over seven decades.BS Perera had received prompt attention of legendary Sunil Shantha for some melodies as then ‘frustrated’ Sunil Shantha did not indulge in full time music having deliberated him to be the nations best musician. BS Perera was described as Sri Lanka’s most mighty robust pillar in music competent as an proficient lyricist too.
BS Perera’s father was B George Perera a person of means, a close relative, a cousin brother of Honourable Anagarika Dharmapala, was employed as the Director of the Don Carolis and Sons owned music instruments shop, the only music instruments shop that existed then. His mother was Grace Margaret Silva. He had been a person of some means who had been financing for John De Silva’s dramas and other cultural activities lavishly. As BS Perera grew up while only a teenager while a student at St Josephs College Colombo had visited the musical instruments shop to assist father as his dire passion when he was free.BS Perera used to meddle with the musical instruments which his father liked as his intention was to teach music to his son BS. At a very young age BS had triumphed in studies having succeeded in the matriculation examination with ease. Initially he was sent to a music guru Clement Bulathsinghala to learn playing the violin. BS had learned to play the violin to precision and excellence at a very young age had got an invitation to play the violin at the Grand Oriental Hotel with Englishmen. One other advantage BS had was that he could play any musical instrument very well which is attributed to an innate talent not essentially hereditary. It is reported that at any family function the presence of BS was obligatory, if he was absent the visitors used to quip BS Should have been here as his absence was felt critically. The Englishmen had found his talent to be at tall unprecedented elevations had invited to play in their orchestra as the only coloured musician among the other white instrumentalists. Simultaneously BS had followed a diploma course in the Royal College of Music London had soon triumphed in obtaining music diplomas which was in western music, which he had subsequently conquered. Wife of BS Perera had died very young when they were blessed with four children. With the dire assistance of the relatives BS despite his busy music schedules had brought them up. At a television dialog recently the youngest daughter Kamala Jusika Perera who had been only ten years old at the time of the demise of father BS Perera had quipped that for her elder sister when she was only eight years old father had recorded a song “Mage Mawni Mawni” at the Radio Ceylon with music composed by father BS when she was unable to reach even to the microphone. In year 1951 BS Perera was made the music director at the then Radio Ceylon.His appointment made drastic changes for the better at the Radio Ceylon.After his taking over of his prestigious appointment many new artistes had emerged and also a sequence of new songs with a unique flavour. Also many singers had emerged like Sheela Pieirs, Ediie Jayamanne,Vivian de Silva Borelessa,MS Fernando, Haroon Lanthra etc. During this era BS Perera was instrumental in composing ‘Baila’ songs too when he was even named as ‘Baila Perera”. During his tenure a half an hour program was designed as “Kaparingnna songs”.It was BS who elevated MS Fernando to fame with his lyrics and song composition “Kasi Mewwe Kawda Deviyane”. BS also had assisted many to come to fame like Ananda Samarakoon, PLA Somapala, Sunil Shantha ,Sisira Senaratne etc.
His initial music direction in a film was in the film “Weraduna Kurumanama “ in year 1948 as an assistant director. Thereafter under the Indian director he had been taken to India where he had learned more, working with many prominent musicians in India. Subsequently he had directed music in the film “Peralana Iranama”, which goes to record books in the annals of Sinhala films as the first Sinhalese music film director. BS had also contributed melodies to English songs too for Sri Lankan English vocalist Hector Edirisinghe he had composed music, which was recorded to a HMV disc. Then in year 1954 he directed music in the Sinhalese film “Perakadoru Bena” which contained nine songs all recorded in Madras. After which he had lived in Madras for an year as musicians needed his assistance to compose their songs more effectively as BS had competency in both Eastern and Western music inclinations. A few other films for which BS Perera had composed music are “Veraduna Kurumanama”, “Peralena iranama”,” Hadisi Vinishshaya”, “ Andarai”, “Jeevitha Poojawa”, “GanThera”, “ Sansarai” just to reminisce to the interested readers.
Lester James Peries had wanted our native music to be included in his film songs in “ Rekawa” released in year 1956.He had approached Fr Mercelline Jayakody to write the lyrics of the songs, but Fr had insisted the melodies need to be composed by legendary Sunil Shantha.As then Sunil Shantha had given up music owing to some frustration had quipped the music compositions need to be made by BS Perera to his melodies who was to him then the most capable and suitable musician.This was another feather to the already decorated cap of BS Perera with his music compositions of songs in the film “Rekawa”.
From the foregoing the amount of contribution made by legendary musician BS Perera during the short span of life he lived from 1914 to 1960 is enormous and unbelievable. In order to felicitate and reminisce his music conducts as there is no such state patronage. the family members led by grandson Roshan Jayasinghe with his parents with wife Saumya are making arrangements to establish a music foundation for legendary BS Perera for which the basic information are been collected. They also intend to have a number of musical shows in Sri Lanka and abroad too to salute BS Perera for his notable accomplishments.
Sunil Thenabadu e mail firstname.lastname@example.org WhatsApp 0061444533242