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Monday, March 12, 2018

Creative Spot by Mahendra Gonsalkorale

Dambulu Gale

This perennial Sinhala favourite was first sung by Chitra and PLA Somapala in the mid-1950s. PLA was born in 1921 and was always interested in Music and singing. He joined Radio Ceylon in 1943 as a Sithar player and violinist. He worked with famous musicians such as Ananda Samarakone and in fact, when Ceylon achieved Independence, he played the Sithar at the singing of the National Anthem. He met his future wife Chitra Perera, a female artist during a radio programme in 1946 and became close friends and they got married in 1953. PLA died in 1991 at the age of 70. They have 4 sons, Prasanna, Rohan, Nalin and Chandana Chitral, and one daughter Piyumi. Chandana Chitral "Chitty" is a famous singer and musician too. He has introduced "fusion" (of music cultures) to many songs. His version of Dambulu Gale is unique.


16 comments:

  1. For anybody interested, this link will take you to Chitral's version. if you think my version is a bit "Westernised", listed to this! Please copy and paste this on your browser.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9irhvo2m5Ac

    As for me, I love it!

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  2. I am another Chitral Somapala fan. His parents were my favourites decades ago. I like all of Speedy's creations on his Tyros, particularly the oriental ones more than his western creations.

    A couple of weeks ago, Chitral was the featured guest in a program called "Ma Novena Mama" on Derana on Tuesdays at 10.30 pm. A guest is invited to sing seven songs of others of his or her choice and Chitral sang "Dambulu Gale" as well. It's an interesting program on TV and I always watch it on Fridays. The last guest singer we had was Sohan Weerasinghe (of Sohan and the X'periments fame).

    I have suggested to Speedy to try some of Sanath Nandasiri's and Jothipala's hits. I particularly like Nandasiri's "Eda Medha Thura" and Jothipala's "Ninda Noena Rathriye"

    But then, I know that most of our regular viewers have absolutely no interest in Sri Lanka TV!


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    1. This is Zita, reading Lucky's comment on the 18th March. I just want to say, Mahendra (Speedy) now there's a good suggestion given by Lucky for you to follow. You have all the talent and the means to produce or re produce these Sri Lankan classics on your modern equipment and still take us back to those days of listening to the originals. But what I like is that the new reproductions by you have its own appeal and we enjoy it not just because we've heard it in our childhood. So it is all the more reason for you keep 'resurrecting' old classics and give them a new lease of life. Looking forward to many more like the above, I am, 'the always late' Zita

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  3. Hi,Lucky,
    My wife is a fan of Srilankan music and we have got Srilankan channels via Lyca TV.Annual contribution is around £90.00.The most popular programme,in our good old days was Muwan pelessa.
    While,I was in Bloem,I made it a point to listen to the programme,sitting by the side of the radio in a side room.I,am sure lot of other inmates were not interested.
    I,made it a point to listen every week,during my stay in Srilanka.I,still remember the words that came out of Arachchila,s mouth(Wijeratna Warakagoda)Instead of Sudu Banda,the word "Hudhu Banda" was used.Other most interesting word for the gun was "Gini Kadaya".Those words are reveberating in my my mind.By the way,Wijeratna Warakagoda was an Anandian.He had his early education at ST:Annes,Kurunegala(Alma Mater of our Senarath.J)
    I,am sure you are well aware of all those things.

    Sumathi

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  4. We invite Mahen to sing for us because we want to hear a different version sung by someone we know. It wouldn't be fair to compare it with the original which has been a classic for more than half a century. I like this new version which is significantly different but nevertheless brings back memories of the past. I did my internship at Kurunegala and was a regular at Dambulla at weekends and the song brings back many happy memories of my youth. Then Tudor Wickramaratchi became the DMO at Dambulla when I visited him often in his lovely old DMO's quarters. Thank you for bringing back so many happy times which still feels like yesterday. Ah!! Those were the days of wine and roses.

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  5. I listened to the newer Chitral version but still prefer the original by Chitra and Somapala. The newer version is slower and rather too laboured for my liking. But that's my personal opinion.

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    1. Your words are right. We like the Chitral version, and we prefer Chitra and Somapala version. And you made a very good point. It wouldn't be fair to compare one done over 50 years ago with one done recently and now when we hear our Mahendra singing it and bringing his own personality into it, we realise, as you say, that each one we receive on its own merits and appreciate for what each version gives us. It's great to have batch mates who can do this type of thing, isn't it? Zita

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  6. This is Zita. I am now listening to one of my all time favourites from my childhood and time in Sri Lanka. In fact inspired by this song my parents took us to see the site. This song really takes me back to such wonderful memories of that time and here our own Mahendra is doing a really wonderful job and doing even more by showing us beautiful pictures. It is very nostalgic. Thanks a lot! I hope this will encourage other members to have a go? Thanks again from Zita

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  7. Well done,Speedy.I listened to the song today,morning.I,have no aversion to to Srilankan music.My wife watches all the song competitions etc with the help of Lyca TV.My hobby is reading as many books as possible.I,am trying to catch up with the years lost,during medical career.Now is the time to read."Speak,read,walk" will certainly delay the onset of Dementia,including Alzheimer's.

    Sumathi

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  8. Thanks Lucky, Sumathi, Zita for your comments. Of course I never expect my music or for that matter any music, to be sensorially appealing to everybody! I enjoy doing them and sharing with others. Any advice on musical and vocal quality irrespective of "like" or "dislike" is always welcome. I have a wide taste in music from Bethoven to Baila. One thing I particularly like about Sinhala music recordings is the imaginative use of interludes. Not saying it is an unique quality but they sound so good and enhance the whole production. Lucky has suggested a few new ones for me and I shall try them and maybe be bold enough to share with you!

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    1. Oh that's good to hear, Mahendra! So Lucky has given you a list of possible ones to do so we can soon expect some fantastic melodies! The way you do these songs is very professional really. I know when I have a go at just playing I make so many mistakes. Not that even that should stop us doing these things. The fact is we now have the time, more than we had during our working life anyway, so it is good to try writing, singing and put to test our other talents. Singing is in a class of its own as one that entertains totally. Not many can do it. So, once again, well done! Waiting for those 'Lucky' suggestions to materialise! Zita

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  9. Sorry ND, I have missed you in my acknowledgement list and as I am sure you would have realised, it wasn't intentional.And Sumathi, "Speak, read, walk"is indeed good advice for us.

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    1. No problem. Look forward to more of your music.

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  10. Beautifully sung Mahen- sorry I’ve got to be brief right now- Look forward to more.cheers

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  11. Mahen, that was a beautiful rendition of that song, which I still remember. Thanks for the effort.
    Sublime.

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  12. Thanks everybody for your appreciation and encouragement. The price you have to pay is tolerance of more to come!

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