She uses her flexibility of voice in measuring up the emotional and sentimental value of the melody, yet not forgetting to touch the upper ranges with perfect Sinhalese pronunciation and also maintaining her voice color in western music compositions. She is none other than Neela Wickramasinghe, the signature of Sri Lankan female voice. Neela Wickramasinghe is to mark the 45 years in the field of music as a singer composer,with the solo concert ‘Master Sir, on March 17 at 6 p.m. at the Nelum Pokuna, Mahinda Rajapaksa Performing Arts Theatre. Dr. Victor Ratnayake, Somathilaka Jayamaha, Amal Perera, Kapila Herath and Kamal Addaraarachchi are the guest artists who will sing duets with Neela.
Dona Delicia Neela Wickramasinghe entered to the music field while following her studies and training in North Indian classical music which is not a common situation today as beginners used to commence their music studies after enter in the field. A fact that vindicates her position in the pure Sri Lankan music is that she had never ventured into popular music market or reproduced distorted versions of her songs as ‘remixed’ version or rapping the original melody. She graduated in music and became music teacher IN 1974. From 1974 until she took early retirement in 1998 she spread the treasure of her voice over thousands of students the vast majority of whom had no significant singing talent.
C de S kulathilaka is the person who introduced Neela Wickramasinghe the singer to the nation from his series of programs on Sinhala folk music in the SLBC’s Music Research Unit which was controlled under his supervision. Neela first came to the lime light rendering her voice to the song ‘Dethata Valalu’a song based on Sinhala folk music, wrote and composed by C. de S Kulathilake.
The song ‘Master Sir’ was a creation of veteran musician Nimal Medis for the film ‘Kalu diya dahra’. The song was recorded both in English (by Mendis and Sandra Edema) and Sinhala (by Neville Fernando, with lyrics by Karunaratne Abeysekera). Later when Neela sung this song it created a huge controversy as the members of the family of late Neville Fernando claim that the song ‘Master Sir’ was sung by him, and Neela has replied that she also sung the same song in the film ‘Kalu Diya Dahara’ released in 1974 to a different beat.
Maestro Premasiri Kemadasa is the person who creates wonders from the voice of this icon female voice, together with T.M.Jayaratne with whom she sung many duets. Neela Wickremasinghe deviates from all three music motifs; folk music, North Indian Classical music and popular song’s structure when maestro Kemadasa composed songs like ‘Viyo gee geyena hade’ for the film ‘Golu Hadawatha’.
Apart from her musical career Neela’s significant characteristics shined when she appeared in a media campaign free of charge in both electronic and print media organized by the UNICEF to save the children by eradicating polio from our country in 1989. She sang a song composed for this campaign, which was heard frequently over the airwaves and T.V. channels. Her efforts helped immensely to eradicate polio through this campaign and by 2000 not a single case of polio had been reported. Visharadha Neela is the Founder Chairman of ‘The Mother’ organization inaugurated in the year 2002, to protect and help the children, especially the needy and the elderly parents and the artistes in the music and cinema fields.
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