This “group”, members of whom just celebrated 50 years of “Music-Making”, takes first place in my line-up of Sri Lankan bands to be featured on eLanka. My good friend, Jude Goonawardane, in London, has already “featured” dozens of Sons & Daughters of Lanka on his “you-tube” channel, including myself and, on behalf of all of us, I would like to say a huge “thank-you” to him. People like Jude do not have to do any of this. The problem is, like me, Jude also loves music, and indeed, anything to do with Sri Lankan talent. There is very little ” S.L.SHOWBIZ” that escapes Jude’s attention. The wonder of it is that he goes ‘way-back’, and we, entertainers (even oldies, like me), are very lucky that “this young guy” gives us all this publicity, completely gratis. I have yet to meet ANYONE who has so many “recording facilities” under his wing, so to speak. I am certain that his lovely wife Charmaine (who is also a teacher, in London, helping to educate the young English “mob”), has donated a large room in their home to her husband for all the “stuff” he collects. “Reel-reel” machinery alone, take up a considerable space, and Jude “reels” around with things that possibly lessen to tiny cassette tapes, remember them ?, and down from the old 78rpm records to the little “mini-discs”, simply to entertain us.
Another good friend is Neil Jayasekera, this time, in Sydney, Australia. Another “young guy”, also a Music Lover, who has established the “on-line” eLanka you are reading right now. Electronic-Lanka was “his baby”. In real life, Neil is termed an “I.T.Specialist”. He is “doing very well” thank you and thank God. Then, what does he do ?, well, he simply decides to create this “website” that has, in a very short space of time, “scored” a trophy in the website stakes.
All I can say, is that I am very lucky indeed to be his “Editor”, and because my first “Mistress” was Music, too, try to bring our “Readers” articles & stories, mainly to do with this thing, we are all in love with, -“GOOD MUSIC”. My favourite quote, ” If music be the food of life, play on”.
Getting back to this superb group, “SAMANALAYO”, please read the story, listen to the music, and if it doesn’t bring a little tear to your eye, go join an actual “group” of Aussies in Sydney who greet themselves with the saying,
“Hi, how are you going, you old bastard”!!
Samanalayo By Jude Goonewardane
Samanalayo was the first Sri Lankan Harmony Group to come up with a Sinhala name breaking away from the tradition of using Spanish names such as Los Caballeros, Los Muchachos etc. The band was formed by its leader Raymond Fonseka in Septermber 1967. Their debut album Nalavena Mawu Ukule was the first record released on the Philips Record label under serial number JVPC 1001, produced by Joseph Victor Patrick Corera who was the owner of the Gowri Corporation, the agents in Ceylon for the Philips record label. Renowned broadcaster Leon Belleth of the Radio Ceylon featured Samanalayo in his radio programs and Nalavena Mawu Ukule became an instant hit.
Nalavena Mawu Ukule,
50 years later this song has become a hit to date and is included in the repertoire of some of the famous artistes like Mariazelle, Dalreen. Mignone etc. Samanalayo was wound down after recording 13 songs and in 1971 Raymond joined the band SEAC as a keyboard artist and vocalist.He was with SEAC for 12 years and recorded four songs of which Binaramalee, Dan Kutu Kutu became popular hits.
Kandu Geta Pasu Kara,
Visuals of this video was captured by Jude during a visit to upcountry by Udarata Menika whilst on holiday in Sri Lanka
Samanalayo celebrated 50 years in music in 2017. To mark the occasion they released a CD in 2018 with three of the old hits coupled with some of their new originals.
CD version of Kandu Geta Pasu Kara,
Raymond Fonseka is the leader of this superb “Pop Band”
As I have said before, many times, I would never publicise anything via eLanka, especially “Musical”, that I thought, was “not up to scratch”, but believe me folks, this Band, these guys (now celebrating their “golden” anniversary), together, have “something” in a new “album” they have put together, that will “blow the mind” of the dozens of younger, “Pop-Bands” of Lankan origin, anywhere in the World, today, and we are “Around the World”(as the song goes), aren’t we?
Just recently, someone sent me “this song”, recorded by the group above, and, as I do, I listened to it, the first chance I got. These Sri Lankan Gentlemen (already well into their 60’s I reckon), were part of the old ‘La Bambas” group. Unfortunately, this writer was already in Melbourne, when groups such as the “Bambas” & the “Jetliners” &: many others, in the same vein, started their careers in Ceylon.& so, I did not have much of a chance of getting interested in any of them, but now, nearly 56 years later “Samanalayo” comes into focus. For a start, I have always loved to watch the pretty butterflies flit around, settle on a flower, then flit around again. One of God’s most beautiful little creatures, I wrote a poem about them in Australia, sent it to the U.S,A., where I was presented with a trophy for my effort, but the Sinhala word for them “Samanalayo” , any way you look at it is indeed a beautiful “word”, AND THEN, for a “group” calling themselves by this name, come out and “make music”, that, hopefully, will be enjoyed, not only by more than 20.000 eLanka members, Australia-wide, but our ex-pats, everywhere.I have now had the privilege of speaking with Raymond Fonseka, am looking forward to getting my own copy of their new anniversary album, but rest assured, folks,
from what I have already heard, I love it. There are so many beautiful songs emanating from Sri Lanka. You don’t have to understand the Sinhala Lyrics, but the “music”, depending of course, on WHO makes it, is very easy on the ear. “Samanalayo” , you can “flutter-by” my home, anytime you feel like it. You make wonderful music, my friends, so keep going and “May the good Lord bless & keep you” as another great song says.
Desmond (Kelly from Colombo).
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