Hailing from the hill capital of Kandy, Weerasinghe Arachchilage Edward Stanley Peiris was born on 12th June 1941. Educated from St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota, Stanley’s love for music began by self-learning to play the violin. Later he learned the intricacies of music at the Kandy M.G.C. institute. After a short stint at the Sri Lanka Navy, he took to playing the Saxophone, again through self-study.
During the mid-1960’s when ‘The Moonstones’ led by Clarence Wijewardena had taken the Sinhala pop music scene by storm, pop groups were blooming everywhere. Stanley formed ‘The Fortunes’ and entered the music scene as a group specialized in instrumental music. They performed across various genres. This was unique and soon they became a popular dance band in Kandy.
Stanley’s major breakthrough came when he was introduced to Gerald Wickremesooriya by Vijaya Corea through Priya Pieris. The Fortunes were auditioned by Gerald at his residence in Colpitty at the presence of Vijaya Corea. Though Gerald was no so keen on recording instrumentals at first, the audition was an instant success. Stanley & The Fortunes first recorded on Sooriya in 1973: CHB 033 titled ‘Dance to the Sooriya Hits, with The Fortunes’.
Stanley had the unique capability of using the Saxophone to uplift the music given to him regardless of the genre or feel of the piece. He composed more than 6,000 songs and directed music for nearly 700 cassettes. “Sithin Ma Nosali” by T.M. Jayaratne, “Duwa Ma Wage” by Clarence Wijewardena, “Sigiri Geeyak” by Nirosha Virajini, “Asurin Midila” by Priya Suriyasena, “Rantharu Payana” by Keerthi Pasquel, “Sili Sili Seethala” by Raj Seneviratne are some of his compositions.
This veteran Saxophonist cum composer passed away on 13th October 2002.