(By courtesy of Daily Mirror, 11th June 2007)
Music is the language of emotions. Prof. Sanath Nandasiri who is the Dean of the Music Faculty at the University of the Visual Arts an Performing Arts, has sung thousands of songs filled with loads of emotions.
Eda Meda Thura, Obe Suwanda Pirunu, Mama Nam Aasai, Waradak Kalath, Sanda Balanna Behe, Seetha Re Yame, Ma Hada Asapuwa, Dangara Oya Desa, Mage Athmaya, are among the hundreds of melodious songs sung by Sangeeth Nipun Sanath Nandasiri on love and romance. Recalling those soothing numbers one realizes the eternal romantic within this great musician, singer and human being. No wonder his voice is still youthful.
They say romance is God’s great gift to mankind and the day you stop feeling romantic means you are dead. When you feel romantic you are much alive. And that’s why the passionate musician who is an icon in Sri Lankan music feels youthful even today.
In an interview with Daily Mirror Life at his Gangodawila residence, the prolific singer said he was launching his latest CD titled ‘Kaala Me Kulu’ on Thursday after a lapse of five long years.
Born in Gothatuwa on February 15 in 1942 to William Perera and Amalin Katugampola, little Sanath Nandasiri was driven towards singing largely due to the singing prowess of his businessman father who was an amateur singer. As a schoolboy today’s Dean of the Music faculty had a the rare experience of concurrently studying in two schools – Gothatuwa Maha Vidyalaya and St. Matthew’s College, Dematagoda in the evening hours where he studied English.
He first sang on the radio in 1955 at the age of 13 and began his study of the tabla in Sri-Lanka under the guidance of D.R. Peiris, but left for India in 1960 to pursue advanced tabla studies under Ustad Ahmed Jan Thirakwa. While in India he met Professor G.N. Nattu, who later became his singing guru. During his time in India, Sanath composed music for artistes who performed his work on Radio Lucknow.
Among his other gurus at Bathkande were Ustad Mokshut Ali, Pandit Hari Shankar Misra and Ustad Rahimmuddeen Khan Daga.
Sanath returned to Sri-Lanka in 1974 where he was appointed as a lecture at University of Kelaniya and served as head of the Music from 1988 to 1992. In 1992 he returned to India to pursue post-graduate studies in music. In 1992 he became the first Sri-Lankan to sit for his post degree Part I examination in vocal music and obtained first class at the “Nipun” examination.
Besides clinching several awards for his talents as a singer, he also composed music for several films and tele dramas including ‘Sandamalige Kathawa’ – the first tele drama to be telecast on Rupavahini.
Malkanthi Peiris who partnered Sanath Nandasiri in several duets, was destined to be Sanath’s partner in real life in 1971, and this attachment indeed added new tunes to the lives of Sanath and Malkanthi. Just a day before Sanath celebrated his 32nd birthday, he and Malkanthi had bigger reasons to celebrate when they were blessed with their only daughter Anuradha on February 14, 1974.
Anuradha who also followed in her parents harmonious footsteps, is now domiciled in Australia with her husband Nirosha Bandara.
“I know that this is not the best time to launch our songs, especially at a time when most of these radio channels do not play our songs to keep them alive. But I could not simply refuse when Deepthi Hapuarachchi, one of my oldest students introduced one of his friends Thilak Gunaratne saying that this guy was so keen to produce a CD of mine. Thilak is a good lyricist and I chose eight of his works for my album,” he said.
Sanath Nandasiri, like his beloved songstress wife Malkanthi has dedicated his life to music – probably because they believe there is nothing to equal music. And their unstoppable talent and deep love for music have made them real stars – who will shine forever.