RAJU BANDARA A PHENOMINAL MUSICIAN WITH RARE HUMANITARIAN ATTRIBUTES IDEAL TO EMULATE, DICTATES OCCUPYING A PEAK SPOT IN CELEBRITY
Behind all the songs and music that we hear, there are some untold stories. Stories of those musicians who dedicated their lives to music. Stories of each of their career paths are identified by only them, just like their palm prints. In a competitive and saturated industry like music, one needs a lot of luck to thrive. What are the qualities behind the success of famous musicians? .Raju Bandara is one who thrived in this industry for over four decades having commenced music while still a school boy at Kegalu Maha vidyalaya.In the annals of history of musical careers there had been no stable income when one start to embark upon this path.Many commence music as a passion but to transform passion into a career is a path of a struggle. Like Raju Bandara complete dedication and hard work is the only way to stardom and to be successful. The foremost characteristics needed to be successful are confidence, practice, ,modesty ,perseverance, not giving up which are possessed by Raju Bandara.
Raju was born on 14th April 1960 has innate talent with hereditary music affiliations from family with mother brother and uncle are all accomplished musical prodigies Raju Bandara had commenced his music career while still a student in 1980 at Kegalu Maha Vidyalaya having inherited music through hereditary affiliations as mother late Chandra Bandara ( who sang the duet “Hada gee Pothe” with Raju) renowned musician brother Mahinda and uncle Premanath Kodituwakku the famous tubla exponent. Raju was a prominent member of a band, a lead guitarist with innate flair created with his colleagues named “Dark Shadows”.
Raju Bandara’s father was Ratnapala Wijesundara Bandara an Old Antonian as a profession had been an distinguished English teacher.Very unfortunately had died young in the year 1974.Mother Chandra Bandara having inherited innate singing talents from her father had recorded many songs, the most popular that comes to one’s mind is the duet with Raju himself “Hadagee Pothe pituwak ira” which could be heard from the You Tube. Raju’s mother had expired in August 2019.Raju’s maternal uncle is the famous tublist, Premanath Kodituwakku who is perhaps the musician, who had contributed on tubla for most to our recordings in the annals of the history.The maternal grandfather was famous DC Kodituwakku one of Sri Lanka’s pioneering master tublist’s from the time Radio Ceylon was established at Cotta Road ,Borella.Raju’s grandfather had died on the tubla while playing in a live recording which goes down in history of orchestras in the world as the only such occurrence documented .It is learnt that on this day on April and at the particular time it is still commemorated at SLBC each year.Raju’s family comprise of nine siblings Raju is in the centre with four elder brothers and four younger sisters.Only elder brother famous Mahinda Bandara like Raju are full time musicians while the rest are all music lovers.The siblings usually get together at occasions and particularly on the 14th April on Raju’s birthday for a good sing song party.
Raju despite his passion for music and involvement in the band in School had been diligent student having studied double maths and physics for his Advanced level.Though could have entered Law college with his results he had opted for a second shy which had not been that fruitful with his passion for music. Raju has affirmed that mot of his classmates and schoolmates are at many top positions in numerous sphers but he too is contented having triumphed in the chosen field as a musician.Raju has had another huge motivation to join the American Field Service, but failed to gain admission as he had to compete with more skilled students from reputed schools like Royal,Ananda and S.Thomas’.The motive to join the American Field service was as Raju wanted to live in USA for exploring the country, the diverse political systems and culture.Even at home Raju’s mother had affirmed that Raju has had this craze as when they on holidays he was all the time exploring the forests, the flora and fauna ,the territory the habitation as a whole.But Raju has confessed that he got this passion navigated over when on toured to almost all countries where Sri Lankans were domiciled.In this scenario his mother had named him “Desha Gaveshakaya” during his younger days which it was noticed when he was very interested in exploring the cities they selected as holiday destinations travelling by train with father’s warrants.Raju as many are well aware with his public relations ability and skill has been intricately involved in many types of charity work which many in Kegalle are well aware of. Though not into any involvement in politics Raju through his innate PR has sorted out hurdling over many obstacles for individual citizens when confronted with.He had confessed that he does more charity work than his contribution to the family.It is learnt reliably that teachers in rural schools in Kegalle through a society ALTEA had contacted FINDEX Melbourne to ship used lap tops and computers.Once they arrive it is Raju Bandara who goes to customs to clear deploying his public relations ties ,clearing them for the society.Two such consignments Raju had cleared for the association .It is reported that three large consignments have arrived at customs which cannot be cleared as current regulations prevents importation of used IT devices to Sri Lanka. With all the bureaucracy red tape the teachers association are pestering Raju to intervene and clear them. Raju is seeking help to communicate with the exporter to resolve this issue.In this context it is hard to imagine there are such persons like Raju with immense humility in this cruel world we are residing in.
After his school career joined with his compatriot Rookantha Gunatilleke forming a western band named as “Nayagra” based in Kurunegala gathering skill as novices.After a successful performance in a concert, the duo moved to Habarana forming a western band playing in hotels which was a lucrative endeavour. The band productively survived for 2 ½ years from which the members of the band acquired a great skill while playing, singing, and harmonizing. The members of the band comprised of Jeremy on drums, Chitral on base,Asitha on rhythm guitar, Rookantha on keyboards and Raju himself on lead guitar. The experience gathered was enormous though still not to professional heights Raju recollects.. After playing at Habarana village the band members had come to Kandy had been a bit of sought-after been invited frequently to play for weddings,parties and bookings ,though the band was unnamed at which time both Raju and Rookantha had not been trademarked as professional musicians. During the tenure at the Habarana village knowledgeable musician Jaliya Ranathunga has had ties with the band had wanted to do a cassette with the band having been persuaded with their performances.
While in Kandy the duo had happened to meet Clerence Wijewardena by sheer quirk, who had told Raju and Rookantha by calling them privately had confessed that this is not a place conducive to your talents wanted the duo to come Colombo when he has had plans to form a new band “Madhara”.The players included were Rookantha on keyboard, Clerence on rhythm, Mariyazel also on keyboards, John on drums, Kenneth on base and Raju on lead guitar.The band was invited to play at a dance in London which they performed to admiration. After magnificently performing had got another opportunity to play in a concert in France which was in year 1985..Rookantha had not participated as he was heavily involved in his” Bambarapahasa’ series endeavour for which Raju also had rendered a massive service as a player.. Raju Bandara had given up music after his marriage had joined Hotel Ramada in the accounts division to everyone’s amazement.
However before long legendary musician Stanley Peiris perhaps knowing Raju’s talent had invited him to join his band “Fortunes” which was at the helm of fame.During that era Keerthi Pasquel had been a prominent member playing lead guitar which compelled Raju to play double lead with the duo contributing massively in vocals and harmonizing.During this time ‘Fortunes’ band was a pursued band by many for cassette recordings under the able leadership of Stanley Peiris. After Keerthi Pasquel left ‘Fortunes” responsibilities for Raju instantly became greater having had to play as base guitarist.
During this period a number of players of “Fortunes” bank left to USA privately perhaps in search of greener pastures to which Raju did not consent perhaps as he was employed at Hotel Ramada. The opportunity arose for Raju to sing as a solo singer which he did for his own cassette “Dese” containing just four songs. Subsequently was enticed to another cassette “Vil Dese” which contained six songs with a couple of English numbers which were hits then. .Unfortunately the two cassettes did not become sell outs simply were not hits.After a couple of years the members who visited USA returned.In year 1993 produced the CD which was produced in Germany “Man adare ran seenu” which was incidentally the CD to be fashioned outside Sri lanka.This became an instant hit thereby the name of Raju Bandara originated to blossom.This period was precisely the spell Raju commenced his singing career proper.
Simultaneously Raju was invited along with Jagath Wickremasinghe by Gunadasa Kapuge as a base guitarist for his music recitals in Australia which was a massive opportunity as Raju also could sing and harmonize. Subsequently for Rookantha Gunatilleke’s “Roo Sanda re” Raju was an obvious inclusion as a player and vocals.During this period Raju had visited all countries where passionate Sri Lankan music fraternities were domiciled. To name some of the countries toured were USA,England,Germany,Denmark, Italy ,Sweden etc, Raju has lamented that during these tours it was not plane sailing cum a walk in the park but had to navigate over intricate concerns mostly on visa issues..This was the time of Raju’s life which he affirms earned money to construct his dwelling and acquiring a vehicle,This period was in the early decade of 2010. During Raju’s peak in life he had acted in a tele drama on the insistence of a produce and director in which he had been nominated for an award for “best up and coming actor” which Raju proudly claims is also an achievement for a novice.
Raju Bandara is a very prominent personality invited to television and radio FM channels.When invited he as a routine always obliges.Very often seen on programs like “Chat N Music”,Hitha Illana Tharu”,”Copy Chat”,travelling all the way from Kegalle and returning home as a habit as he needs the environment surrounding his dwelling which is conducive to his living. Though Raju had taken part in programs in many television channels he had appeared abundantly in the Derana television stream ,Some of the programs that come to writers mind are “Waya Gee Waya’.” Cassette Eka”, “Acoustica unlimited”,” Star Challenge”,”Ma Novena mama” where he had to sing songs of other vocalists which as a talented vocalist he could perform with comfort. In addition to the cassettes produced stated above has to his name more cassettes like “ Raju Handara’s hondama gee’.”Rosa mal Kumari” produced by Derana etc..
Raju Bandra is an accomplished musician,composer and vocalist who has immense confidence,modesty and the most importantly patience, never to give up sans fulfillment. Of his most popular songs the writer believes are “Ma adare mulu lovatath wada” , the duet with Mother Chandra Bandara “Hada gee pothe pituwak era”,Ahase Polowe daskam pe” etc the list goes on .Some songs are appended at the end of the article. His music knowledge is enormous as such he was elected to the adjudicators panel is Sirasa Super Stars reality competitions in season two and three.
Raju Bandara is unassuming down to earth person possessing an unique characteristic always willing to help others. He had confessed he is not into politics but via his PR and affiliations he helps anyone who seeks help ,an utterance not heard from many.He even conducts music classes for destitute children which all in Kegalle area are aware of.During a dialogue Raju confesses that he had been into music in the past, in the contemporary era will continue it in the same vein in the future too while his motto helping others remains dominantly in forefront. All his fans would wish him good health and longevity.
SUNIL Thenabadu in Brisbane email email@example.com
1 Ahase Polowe Sagare Daskam Pa
2 Anganawo Geethe Leewa (Ma Nowana Oba)
3 Awanhale Ada Andure
4 Ayubowan Japan Lande Sayonara
5 Balanna Awe Hunga Kalekin
6 Dannawada Oya Mage
7 Dawala Salu
8 Duhul Gawuma Kotta Adan (Bonikki)
9 Dura Igillenna Thatu
10 Dutu Mohothe Ingi Kala Adare
11 Ekamath Eka Rataka Podi Dekata
12 Gangaawai Maha Muhudai
13 Giman Hari Sanda Nawathi
14 Hada Gee Pothe Pituwak Ira
15 Hada Wedana Mese Raye
16 Hada Wedana Mese Raye (Acoustica Unlimited)
17 Hada Wedana Mese Raye (Cassette Eka)
18 Hiru Basa Hangenawa
19 Issara Kale Patan (Ma Nowana Oba)
20 Kalpa Tharuwa We
21 Kandu Yaye Ma Eda
22 Kandulali Dase Na Randawa
23 Kandule Thaniwee
24 Kandule Thaniwee (Cassette Eka)
25 Kawdo Mage Lowe Sari Saruwe
26 Kawdo Mage Lowe Sari Saruwe (Cassette Eka)
27 Kokilaya Kewiliya Ha
28 Landune Sonduru Landune
29 Ma Adarei Mulu Lowatath Wada
30 Ma Adarei Mulu Lowatath Wada (Acoustica Unlimited)
31 Ma Adarei Mulu Lowatath Wada (Cassette Eka)
32 Ma Adarei Mulu Lowatath Wada (Ma Nowana Oba)
33 Maa Dinu Suwada Obage
34 Mage Hitha His Kadasasiyaki
35 Mage Lowe Ruwan Pathum
36 Mage Meenachchi.