A well known vocalist with a powerful and unforgettable voice, Sunil Malawana began as a guitarist. His musical career started with the legendary musician, and King of Sinhala pop music Clarence Wijewardena’s first band named the Moonstones, where he was the youngest member at just 16.
Their first record was produced in 1968, and they used electric guitars, a sitar, a saxophone and two violins.
Clarence Wijewardena, Annesley Malawana, Mangala Rodrigo, Sunil and Ajit Sivananthan played along with a drummer and the sitar player, Upali Ubayasekera. Some of the new titles in this first album were: “Mango Nenda”, “Ruwan Puraya”, “Seetha Udeyand Sudu Menike”. “Mango Nenda” had been the first ever Sinhala song to hit the top spot in the Sri Lankan hit parade beating Cliff Richard, Jim Reeves and Elvis Presley!
After the disbanding from The Moonstones he became involved with the spin off group, The Super Golden Chimes which became a very popular Seventies band. Sunil; was bass guitarist/lead. The other famous members of the Super Golden Chimes were Annesley Malawana (Sunils elder brother) Dickson Guneratne, Rukshan Perera, Paul Perera, Chandralal Fonseka and Nimal Perera.
Their greatest hits include “Gamen Liyumak”, “Sandak Basa Giya”, “Katharagama”, “Udarata Niliya”, “Wana Bambaro”, “Sihina Pathum” and many more. The Super Golden Chimes one of the most sought after bands in the 70s, was not only known for their great hits but also as a leading dance band and a concert crowd puller in that simpler and bygone era.
Sunils own first song was “Api Dedena” and was released in 2004 to coincide with the Super Golden Chimes Reunion Concert. In 2006 he returned to the music scene after a break with a come-back CD titled “Mala” of which the title song became another hit. The music direction for Mala was handled by Chandralal Fonseka, Cumar Peiris and Sunil Perara. “Mala” was a modern day adaptation of a song originally written by late Karunarante Abeysekera and sung by Christi de Mel.
Another title in the popular CD, Pem Thrikonne was written by Milroy Dharmaratne and another hit Lathaweemata Mulaya had been written by Sunil Perera.
In 2008 he produced a music video “Katath Katath” which quickly became hot favourites among music enthusiasts. Sunil Malawana also introduced Sinhala audiences to an English composition called “Brown Eyed Girl” which became very popular. In fact many of his timeless melodies continue to live in the heart of his local (and expat) fans and take them smiling down memory lane.
In April 2015 the original line up of the Super Golden Chimes came together from all corners of the globe for a reunion concert giving its many fans the chance to enjoy their favourites from the band,including ‘Gamen Liyumak’, ‘Sandak Basa Giya’, ‘Kataragama’, ‘Udarata Niliya’, ‘Wana Bambaro’, ‘Sihina Pathum’ and many more
Today Malwana is a well known and respected businessman in the shipping and aviation world, the Managing Director of one of the top three of the freight forwarding companies in the country and was also Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders Association! He is also a keen philanthropist, donates proceeds from his music to charity often and sponsors the Foundation of Goodness among other causes.
WRITTEN BY CHANDRIKA GADIEWASAM
EDITED BY NADEESHA PAULIS