Priya Suriyasena

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Priya Suriyasena
Born 27 October 1952
Origin Sri Lanka
Genres Playback singing, Sri Lankan music Classical Rock
Occupation(s) Vocalist, music director , teacher, lecture,composer
Years active 1972 – present

Priya Suriyasena is a Sri Lankan popular vocalist and lecturer in music who embarked on his music career through the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) in 1972.


M.L.D. Priyadharsha Suriyasena Liyanage was born to the parents of an up-country middle-class family, in Nattandiya, Puttalam district, Sri Lanka. His father is late M. L. D Jemis Liyanage and mother is late A.M. Podi Manike. He was the only son in a family of three. He had his primary education at Nattandiya Primary School and completed his GCE O/L and A/L at Madampa Central College in Puttalam district.

His father was a poet from whom he got his musical talent. Suriyasena won several prizes as a student after participating in musical programmes, such as UNESCO talent competition in which he won the first prize.

After his A/L from 1968 to 1971 he sat for external exams conducted by the government musical college 'Heywood' and obtained a diploma in music. Afterward he embarked his career as a music teacher and recorded some of his original songs which were aired in SLBC in 1972. At this stage he shortened his name from Priyadharsha to "Priya", inspired by Sri Lankan Motor Racing legend Priya Munasinghe.

Rise to fame[edit]

After the release of his first four songs Suriyasena became a heartthrob of youngsters in the 1970s. His first four songs ('Sarathasa niwa', 'Mata wasana', 'Heta davase' and 'Andura Andura mage') were recorded for the SLBC in 1972. 'Andura Andura mage' was written by Rohana Fernando and 'Heta davase', 'Sarathasa niwa' and 'Mata wasana' by the late veteran lyricist Premakeerthi de Alwis, and the music was by Suriyasena himself.

The release of "Sudu Parevi Rena" (hit song) brought Suriyasena up to one of the top singers in the 1970s bringing a controversy at the time where the Sri Lankan government prohibited broadcasting the song through radio channels for a period of time.

Suriyasena released one of the first music audio cassettes in Sri Lanka under the guidance of Wijewardene under the Tharanga label. His popularity was raised with the Sarasawiya Award for "Kendan Yannam," a song from Sena Samarasinghe's Aethin Aethata (Movie) in 1984.

In 1996 with the album “Sunflowers with Priya”, he brought a new musical generation to the country grossing revenue over Rs. 8 million for the album and becoming the most popular singer in the country.[citation needed] "Sudu Parevi Rena", "Ratakin Eha", "Jeewithe Mage", "Etha Ranviman, "Kendam Yannam", "Neranjana", "Mulu Muhudama", "Pathum Pireela", "Apasu Enawa", "Mata Wasana" and "Me Paalu Mawathe" became hits once again with the music of the famous music band "Sunflowers".

His hit song "Etha ranviman" became the most popular song in 2006, developing controversies between Suriyasena and Sirasa Super Stars.


Suriyasena started his career in 1971 as a music teacher for Kelaniya Gurukula College whilst also as an on stage singer at the same time. After about 10 years of service Suriyasena left his teaching career giving priority to his music career.

The veteran music directors who conducted music for his songs were Lal Thenabadu, the late Sarath Dassanayake, Stanley Peiris, Sarath de Alwis, late Clarence Wijewardene and Ranjith Perera. Suriyasena directed music for songs such as 'Adaraniya Neranjana', 'Heta davase', 'Mata wasana', 'Sanda ma gawai', 'Mage samarum pothe', 'Ekama vidiye', 'Mohathaka suwa dena' and 'Gelawata banda wu muthu pote' (neckless tied to the neck). Some of the veteran vocalists who had their music directed by Suriyasena were M. S. Fernando, Anton Jones, Milton Mallawarachchi, Punsiri Soysa, Mervyn Perera, Gratien Ananda, late Mervyn Mihindukula, Chandralekha Perera, Freddie Silva and H R Jothipala. Priya suriyasena has composed famous Christian baila music hit dedicated to St Anthony (santha Anthony munituma) sung by Anton Jones.

At the beginning of 1990s Suriyasena was leaned towards cassette production business where he started "Luckshitha Trade Centre" and released cassettes of MS Fernando, Punsiri Soysa H.R Jothipala and Champa Kalhari.

He was also a play back singer in many films which were Mal kekulu in earlier 1980s, song 'Bindu bindu kandulu sala' duet with Shayami Fonseka and music directed by Sarath Dassanayake and produced by Sena Samarasinghe. Further he sang in many other films like 'Selinage Walawwa', 'Mudukkuwe Juliet', 'Hariyanakota ohama thamai', and 'Pina paduna da'. In 'Ethin Ethata' he sang a duet with Milton Mallawarachchi to the music direction of Sarath Dassanayake ("Kandan yannan ran mal mala dala") which won an award by "Sarasaviya" (Sarasavi Sammana) in the 1980s. In the film Suhada Sohoyuro he played a minor role. However, later Suriyasena gave up singing as a play back singer focusing only on stage. In 2006 he sang a duet "Gimhanaye" with Samitha Mudunkotuwa for the film 'Kalu Sudu Mal' as the male playback for Kamal Addaraaarachchi.

Foreign tours[edit]

His maiden foreign tour was to Singapore in 1978. Subsequently, he made it to over 44 other countries including United States, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Australia.

He performed in Qatar, which has a significant Sri Lankan community, in October 2007.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

In 1978 he wedded Thamara Kumari Weerasinghe who was also a music teacher with a diploma in music from Heywood. He is now a father of four children – three daughters Minoshi, Iroshi (both studying abroad), Gayashi and son, Luckshitha who is studying in the US.


  1. ^ "Nihal Perera crowned Sri Lankan Idol 2007". The Peninsula. 18 October 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2008. 
  2. ^ "Finals of Lankan idol contest in Doha on October 13". Gulf Times. 1 October 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2008.