There’s vibrance and elegance. A blend of rich tones that captivates and gives an electrifying rush to the senses. It’s Eranga and Priyanga!
Eranga and Priyanga both come from musical backgrounds. Eranga’s father Leonard Weerasinghe, used to sing for the public and her mother was a pianist. Her brother Sohan of Experiments fame is a highly respected musician. Priyanga was musical from his young days and played the guitar. They met in the 60s when Priyanga was introduced to Eranga’s family. There was an instant connection between these two music lovers over their shared passion. For three years after marriage they lived in Rugam near Batticaloa. This peaceful rural setting gave rise to the formation of the uniquely rich harmony that is experienced by the duo’s fans to this day.
In 1965, upon hearing Eranga and Priyanga when they were singing at Lewis Browns, Tony Fernando recognized the talent of the young couple and invited them to sing at the Sundown Dances held at the Coconut Grove at Galle Face Hotel. There on the couple sang dance tunes every Sunday, putting on a lively performance of Sinhala and Western songs.
Three years later the duo made an adventurous decision to travel to Great Britain overland. They sang along their way to earn their living and cover travel expenses. This spontaneous, impulsive nature made their songs even more vibrant. They sang in Bombay, Karachchi, Teheran, Istanbul all the way to Athens, Germany and Paris. As their audience grew diverse so did their songs. They added Greek, German and French songs to the mix which made their audience feel a special bond to the music sung in their mother tongue by this eastern couple. An African love song, a Hawaiian rhythm, an Italian ballad, Calypso or American blues you name it they sing it! At present they sing in fifteen different languages. Their songs are truly an exotic blend! “Podi Nona” a song made famous by the duo and “Mawak Melowehi” were recorded for single play vinyl by Sooriya in 1976.
Making their mark along the way they reached the UK and was signed by BBC. They held concerts in and out of London. Had their only son Dinuke and after a few years moved to Los Angeles. They have recorded with EMI in London and with David Frost’s Agency – The Noel Gay Association but this contract didn’t last due to disagreements with the management about changing their style. Eranga and Priyanga had already created their own unique style of music and this is what their fans still love.
Later they moved to New York and lived there while performing at hotels. At present they sing by invitation. They visit Sri Lanka frequently. They keep singing to this day entertaining the generations of hearts they have won over. Eranga and Priyanga have made their mark on an international level with their rich combination and sensational performances. Their lives speak of the heights one can achieve with a little adventure, spontaneity and a lot of love.
WRITTEN BY THARAKA RANCHIGODA
EDITED BY NADEESHA PAULIS