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Neela Wickramasinghe

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Neela Wickramasinghe
නීලා වික්‍රමසිංහ
Born
Dona Delicia Neela Wickramasinghe

(1950-03-30)30 March 1950[1]
Died17 January 2022(2022-01-17) (aged 71)
Milan, Italy
EducationMampe Sri Sobhita Maha Vidyalaya
Piliyandala Central College
Occupations
  • Singer
  • teacher
  • composer
SpouseKapila Herath
Parents
  • Don Francis Wickramasinghe (father)
  • Withanaratchige Done Yasawathie Gunasekera (mother)
Musical career
Genres
Instrument(s)Vocals
Years active1967–2022
Labels
  • Nilwala
  • Ransilu
  • Evoke

Visharada Dona Delicia Neela Wickramasinghe (Sinhala: නීලා වික්‍රමසිංහ; 30 March 1950 – 17 January 2022), popularly as Neela Wickramasinghe, was a Sri Lankan songstress, teacher, playback singer and musician.[2][3] A four-time winner of the Sarasaviya Award for Best Singer, Wickramasinghe has contributed a number of popular songs to the Sri Lankan music industry in a career expanded more than five decades.[4]

Personal life

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Wickramasinghe was born on 30 March 1950 in Wattala, Ceylon, as the youngest daughter of the family. Her father Don Francis Wickramasinghe was a businessman. Her mother Withanaratchige Done Yasawathie Gunasekera was a housewife. She had one elder sister, Dona Aruni Rita Wickramasinghe. She became a victim of Polio at the age of six months. She first attended Kirimatiyagara Vidyalaya for primary education and then she was admitted to Kesbewa Government private school in 1954 where she first started to be involved in music. Later she went to Mampe Sri Sobhita Maha Vidyalaya and Piliyandala Central College to complete secondary education.[4][5] She was survived by her husband Kapila Herath.[6]

Wickramasinghe died in Milan, Italy, on 17 January 2022, at the age of 71 by cardiac arrest.[7] At the time, she was serving as Consul General in Milan, Italy since September 2021.[4][8] The body was treated at the San Rafael Hospital in Milan and repatriated to Sri Lanka with the coordination of the Italian and Sri Lankan authorities on 27 January 2022.[9][10] Her remains were brought to her home at Pepiliyana in Dehiwala and the funeral took place on 29 January 2022 at the Kanatte Cemetery.[11]

Career

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Wickramasinghe learned music under maestro Vincent Somapala and Ananda Jayasinghe. She sang her first song for the then Radio Ceylon in 1959 for a programme 'Amateur voice.' The sixties were the most important decade for Wickramasinghe, because some of the most beautiful milestones in her music career took place in the early 60s. She won the first place in the All Island Singing Competition held in 1963 and 1965.[6] She also won the first place in the academic category in 1965. According to an advertisement in a newspaper in 1966, she submitted an application to get involved with film background vocals.[12] After the selection, she made her first film debut background score with Sarathchandra Herath's 1972 film Sithijaya under the music direction of Sarath Dassanayake.[13]

In 1967 she got the privilege to record her first song with Radio Ceylon and was later selected as a B-grade singer in 1968. The song was composed by Dalton Alwis and the music was provided by Lionel Algama, "Sende Ambare Nisha Mal Yata".[6] In 1973, she was selected as an A-grade artiste on the merit of the songs sung in the research section of the SLBC. After studying North Indian Classical Music, she graduated in 1974 with a Sangeeth Visharada Degree.[14] In 1979, she made her first solo background film song with the film Gehenu Lamai. This song "Vio Gee Gayena Hade" was composed by Sunil Ariyaratne and composed by Nimal Mendis has remained popular since then.[13][6]

Wickramasinghe had a number of popular hits including duets with T. M. Jayaratne.[15] Some of her most popular songs include: Dethata Walalu, Sadaa Ukulu Thala, Dawasak Da Wasantha, Master Sir, Viyo Gee Gayena, Thun Sitha Dehen, Me Awanhale, Sudu Muthu Rala Pela, Parami Dam Puramu, Nil Ahas Thale, Ran Tikiri Sina, and Punchi Sithe.[16][17][18][19]

Later, Wickramasinghe opted to become a teacher in music.[6] In 1969, she first joined Vincent Somapala's Gayathri Art Institute as a trainee teacher. After teaching in several schools she decided to retire prematurely in 1998 after a period of 23 years having had a long stint of eight years at Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo.[20] Wickramasinghe was diagnosed with abdominal cancer in a very serious manner and survived.[21] In the meantime, she sang in 67 films as a playback singer.[22] She won her first Sarasaviya Award in 1984 for the song "Bodhiye Viharaye" for the film Athin Athata,[23] and also won the Sarasaviya Award for Film Backing Vocals in 1988, 1992 and 2006. She was once awarded the Presidential Award in 1986 and the Sumathi Award in 1996 for a song in the teledrama Sankranti Samaya.[13]

In 2012, to mark 45th anniversary of her musical career, Wickramasinghe started a solo concert named "Master Sir".[24][25][26] She was also the music director of the teledrama Nikini Wessa.[4] In 2013, she staged the 'Bonikko' concert on the 28 September at the Nelum Pokuna Theater with the message to the society that "a child is not an adult but a child". In that concert, she sang 28 children songs. A children's songbook titled "Bonikko" with a CD of the songs along with the lyrics, chords and illustrations were launched to coincide with the concert.[27] In 2014, the 'Master Sir' concert was held on 26 October at the Kularatne Hall of Ananda College in aid of the Welfare Association of the Ministry of Technology and Research.[28]

She was an active member of the Free Arts Organization during the last election season in 2018.[29][30] In 2019, she was honored with The Janabhimani Best Service Award or Hela Maha Rawana Rajabhimani Award during a ceremony held at the Jasmine Auditorium at the BMICH.[31]

Social activity

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The Mother

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In 2002, Wickramasinghe founded a charity organization named "The Mother" with the aim of catering to children, elders and artists who made a lifetime contribution to the field.[32] She was the president of the organization.[33]

Support in the eradication of polio

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Wickramasinghe participated in the UNICEF Project to save the children by eradicating polio from her country in 1989.[34] She sang a song composed for this campaign, which was heard frequently over the airwaves and T.V. channels. Her efforts helped immensely to eradicate polio through this campaign and by 2000 not a single case of polio had been recorded since.[32]

Discography

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List of songs composed by Wickramasinghe.

Song Lyrics Singer
Kakkutu Suttan Seetha Ranjanee Pradeepa Dharmadasa
Dhelthira Ananda Hewaranhindage Nelu Adikari
Wala potin Manju Nedagamuwa Petronella Fernando
Atha dennam Suneth Rupasinghe Petronella Fernando
Jeevithaye Chandradasa Fernando Victor Ratnayake
Sihina nagaraye Chandradasa Fernando Victor Ratnayake
Mage puthanuwane Ashoka Kovilge Jorg Lesley Ranasinghe
Nirindeku wee Chandradasa Fernando T.M. Jayaratne
Thana pinne Priyananda Vijesundara T.M. Jayaratne
Sihina thusithaya Swarna Sri Bandara T.M. Jayaratne
Kandulu iwarakara Ven.Siddhartha Thero Rohana Bogoda
Edawage mathu Priyananda Wijesundara Amarasiri Munasinghe
Mee thula mee peni Priyananda Wijesundara Amarasiri Munasinghe
Viyo dukin Thilaka Kaluarachchi Ayesha Gunasekara
Mahamera se ape amma Thilaka Kaluarachchi Neetha Wickramathantrige
Balakale Ven.Siddhartha Thero Kapila Herath
Ayeth dawasaka Ananda Hewaranhindage Kapila Herath
Adasanda nivila Sunil R. Gamage Kapila Herath
Pahankala sanda Ananda Hewaranhindage Kapila Herath
Kandulusaure Sunil R. Gamage Kapila Herath
Etha himale Ven.Siddhartha Thero Kuma Athanayaka
Niwan dakna Mahinda Disanayaka Kuma Athanayaka
Hadawathak Ven.Siddhartha Thero Krishantha Erandaka

Awards

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She has won the Sarasaviya Award thrice, Presidential award, Sumathi tele award, Zonta award and Vanitha award.

Year Title Award Production Song Lyrics Music
1984 Sarasaviya Best Female Playback Singer Sarasavi Ethin Ethata Bodhiye Viharaye Ajantha Ranasinghe Sarath Dassanayake
1986 Sarasaviya Best Female Playback Singer Sarasavi Dolosmahe pahana Rasa musuwu pem kalpana K.D.K. Dharmawardana Premasiri Khemadasa
1992 Sarasaviya Best Female Playback Singer Sarasavi Dolosmahe pahana Pemakasuwanda denila Yapa B Senevirathna Gratien Ananda
1996 Best Teledrama Vocalist Sumathi Awards[35] Sankranthi Samaya Nothalan Malkekulu
2005 Sarasaviya Best Female Playback Singer Sarasavi samantha Kshithijaya ya karana

References

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  1. ^ Malini, Yamuna (8 April 2006). "'Gajaman Nona' of our time". Dailynews.lk. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  2. ^ Thenabadu, Sunil (8 August 2010). "Versatile playback singer". Sundayobserver.lk. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  3. ^ Kolitha Bhanu Dissanayake, Ranga Chandrarathne (11 March 2012). "The celestial voice that bears the tonal signature". Sundayobserver.lk. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d "Neela Wickramasinghe, the scholar who completed the song of life". Sarasaviya. 19 January 2022. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Neela's autobiography about her life". divaina.lk. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e "වියෝ ගී ගැයෙනා හදේ ආදර මල් නොමියේ". Sarasaviya. 19 January 2022. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Veteran singer Neela Wickramasinghe passes away". Adaderana. 17 January 2022. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  8. ^ "Neela Wickramasinghe is the new Consul General of Italy. - CNL". cnlk. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Neela Wickremasinghe's body returned to Sri Lanka immediately after investigations". Dinamina. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  10. ^ Staff, SL EMB Rome. "DEMISE OF CONSUL GENERAL OF SRI LANKA IN MILAN VISHARADA NEELA WICKRAMASINGHE". The Embassy of Sri Lanka - Rome, Italy. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Neela Wickramasinghe's remains brought home". Ceylon Today. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Singers who came to sing in the background of movies". සරසවිය. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  13. ^ a b c දිනමිණ, Courtesy (19 January 2022). "Neela hiding in a funeral song". Sathmina. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  14. ^ "Neela Wickramasinghe passes away". sinhala.adaderana.lk. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  15. ^ Neela Wickramasinghe's 'Master Sir' at Nelum Pokuna Theatre. Lanka Help Magazine. 2012. 12 April 2015
  16. ^ "There is no one to feed and protect". දිනමිණ. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  17. ^ "Neela's voice fades". divaina.lk. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  18. ^ "Read from home 03 - From the past to the present; Neela". Comrade.lk (in Czech). Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  19. ^ "The unsung past of the song "Nil Ahas Thale"". සරසවිය. 26 February 2020. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  20. ^ Thenabadu, Sunil (30 October 2004). "Neela – the singing sensation". Dailynews.lk. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  21. ^ "Dona Delicia Neela". internationalwomensday.org. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  22. ^ "Neela Wickramasinghe". lktunes.com. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  23. ^ "All about Athin Athata". සරසවිය. 3 July 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  24. ^ Sandun W. (14 March 2012). "Neela Wickramasinghe's 'Master Sir' at Nelum Pokuna Theatre". Magazine.lankahelp.com. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  25. ^ Chandrarathne, Ranga (28 August 2011). "Fusion of technical acumen with aesthetic finery". Sundayobserver.lk. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  26. ^ "නීලා පායා එන්න පෙර සේ" (in Sinhala). dinamina.lk. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  27. ^ "Neela Wickramasinghe takes "Bonikko"". archives.sarasaviya.lk. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  28. ^ ""Master Sir" I first sang in 1973". archives.sarasaviya.lk. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  29. ^ "The flower of love has withered, Mrs. Neela Wickramasinghe, I wish you Nirvana". newsmania.lk. 18 January 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  30. ^ Gee, Eda Asunu (11 August 2016). "Songs heard then: Neela Wickramasinghe Prabuddha Gee - 1973". එදා ඇසුණු ගී. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  31. ^ "Janabhimani Awards presented". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  32. ^ a b Chandrarathane, Ranga (16 December 2007). "Separated and isolated by the lumpen culture". Sundayobserver.lk. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  33. ^ "Neela Wickramasinghe.com". Themother.org. 31 October 2004. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  34. ^ "Dona Delicia Neela | INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY". Internationalwomensday.org. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  35. ^ "Sumathi Awards 1996". sumathiawards.lk. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
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