“Nadee Ganga Tharanaye” is a familiar song heard not only on radio and TV but also sung by contestants at popular reality TV programmes in Sri Lanka. Released in 1998 by Chitral “Chity” Somapala for a TV/radio commercial to promote Lion Beer, it became an instant hit. It was a unique song with Sinhala lyrics but sung in a hard rock and metal style.
[Do not forget to watch the videos of Chithral performance and video interview with Chithral given below]
Chitral is no stranger to the local music scene, being the son of the famous singing duo Chitra and P L A Somapala, whose songs such as “Dambulu Gale” and “Lalitha Kala” are still popular among both the young and old. P L A Somapala was also a music composer and producer and he along with his wife Chitra contributed the soundtrack for the film ‘Asoka’.
Born on 4 November 1966 in Sri Lanka, Chitral Somapala radically deviated from his parents’ style of singing and embraced hard rock and heavy metal and has pursued this path ever since with great success, especially in Europe. Chity made a name for himself while working with the now disbanded European power metal band ‘Civilization One’.
According to music critics, his style of singing combines blues and soul, with the heaviness of hard rock and metal.
Following his entry to the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal scene in the 90’s, Chity Somapala has recorded a number of albums, toured, and made numerous guest appearances with several well known bands around the world.
He started guitar lessons at the age of 10 and switch on to electric bass at 14. Soon after, he began singing and the 17 year-old hit the local nightclub scene with a bang, gigging with a number of popular Sri Lankan bands and artists. In 1985 he joined the Sri Lankan band ‘Shock’ – an alternative band founded by popular musician Dulip Gabadamudalige.
Somapala toured Europe for the first time in 1986, as a bassist and singer, with a local band called ‘Rendezvous’ later called “Friends” – who still perform regularly in Sri Lanka although based in Europe. During this tour the band travelled to Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Finland, mainly performing Top 40 hits and backing several well known artists in these countries.
After touring for some time in this manner, Chity changed course and embarked on his own individual musical career in 1994, concentrating on what he loved most – original hard rock and heavy metal music.
In 1996 Chity recorded his first album ‘Forced to Believe’ when he joined a popular German underground metal act called ‘Court Jester’. The album received favourable reviews from the European press.
He joined a German melodic power/progressive band called ‘Avalon’ in 1988 as its front-man and lead singer. The band’s third album ‘Vision Eden’ became a hit with excellent reviews in the international press, leading to Avalon becoming a supporting act for popular bands such as Hammerfall, Uriah Heep, Royal Hunt, and several others.
In 2002 Somapala was involved in Avalon’s fourth album ‘Eurasia’ produced by Sascha Paeth, well known for his work with Rhapsody, Kamelot, Heaven’s Gate and Angra. The Asian musical influence was visible in this album, especially the Sri Lankan rhythms. In addition to the vocals, Chitral also played the Chapman Stick on this album. Avalon disbanded shortly thereafter.
Teaming up with Frank Rohles, the guitarist of the German Queen Tribute band ‘Innuendo’, Chity composed the ‘Greenland’s Theme’ for the Isipathana Collage International Rugby Championships in 2002. Together with Rohles, he later formed a rock outfit called ‘Faro’, and released the album ‘Dawn of Forever’ through MTM Music in 2003. In the same year Chity completed the album ‘Echoes of a Nightmare’ with the Swedish Symphonic Metal band Moonlight Agony.
In 2002 Somapala contributed vocals for a number of songs on the album ‘Metanoia’, an independent musical project by WOLFF, once again displaying his skills as a Chapman Stick player in the song ‘Rut System’.
Chity was auditioned by Greek guitar virtuoso Gus G to join the band ‘Firewind’ for a January 2004 tour of Japan. Following the successful tour, at the request of Gus G, Somapala joined the band as a permanent member. The duo collaborated for the third Firewind album ‘Forged by Fire’, which entered the Japanese Top 100 and received excellent reviews internationally. After touring with ‘Hammerfall’ during their Ice Break Festival, Chity decided to leave the outfit in 2005.
Somapala released his second FARO album ‘Angelost’ in 2006 and also worked with producer Markus Teske on the Red Circuit debut release ‘Trance State’.
In the same year he founded his own band ‘Civilization One’ and in 2007 the album ‘Revolution Rising’ was released. This was a busy time for the musician, with Chity being invited to join the legendary British band ‘Rekuiem’, which paved the way for him to tour the UK with the band ‘Gotthard’.
Somapala visited his home country Sri Lanka the following year, and performed with his group Civilization One to a packed audience at the TNL Onstage show in Colombo, resulting in rave reviews in the local press.
In 2009 he embarked on a tour of Central Europe and performed with Civilization One and Rekuiem. Shortly afterwards he got an offer to perform at a Classical Rock show with the Luxemburg Philharmonic Orchestra at ‘Rock um Knuedler’.
After disbanding Civilization One in 2010, Chity joined ‘Power Quest’, a leading British melodic metal band, who released their latest album ‘Blood Alliance’ in early 2011 under Napalm Records.
Chitral Somapala, the multi-talented musician of Sri Lankan origin, is today highly regarded as a vocalist, songwriter and guitarist in the rock and metal music business. He keeps himself busy writing and recording songs as well as teaching vocals at the Modern Music School in Trier, Germany, where he is based.
Chithral Somapala Live On Stage – Watch Here
Interview with Chithral Somapala – Video – Watch Here
Nadee Ganga Tharanaye Song – Original song by Chithral Somapala – Watch Here
Dambulugale Song – New version by Chithral Somapala – Watch Here
Believing the Dream – Cricket World Cup Song by Chithral Somapala – Watch Here
Chithral Somapale – Image Gallary – See Here