Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe

Nalino Nel
July 11, 2021, 6:21 am
Filed under: Sri Lanka

Girls in Ladies Bus

The pop music of Sri Lanka is unlike anything heard on Earth. Whereas you can hear influences from neighboring India, there are many other cultures that have left their mark.

Probably the best – if not only – compilation of the music of that country would be Akuphone‘s “Sri Lanka : The Golden Era of Sinhalese & Tamil Folk-pop Music“. That compilation contains the title track from the lone single recorded by Nalino Nel: “Gavaskar The Century Maker“.

I have not been able to find any further information about Nalino Nel. If you have any information, please leave it in the comments below.

Catalog number 2296 – 0399 on Inreco of Kolkata, India. Released 1979.

The Three Sisters
April 21, 2012, 7:13 pm
Filed under: Sri Lanka

Malwage Api

Inunil Menika

While researching The Three Sisters of Sri Lanka, I stumbled upon this post from Backroom – which was apparently previously found on YouTube:

Mallika, Indrani and Iranganie Perera were born to a musical family. Their mother was an accomplished pianist and a singer and though the father did not play any instruments, he loved music and was a close associate of Mohammed Ghouze, famously known as Ghouse Master. Mallika was actively involved in school variety shows at Presbyterian Girl’s School where she and Iranganie studied. Indrani later went to Stafford Ladies. Indrani’s first public encounter was a recording for school at the Radio Ceylon. Her talent was spotted by the school’s music teacher Mrs. Potgar and encouraged by the principal Mrs. Liyanage.

Mallika later attended Amaradeva‘s music classes held at YMBA and Indrani used to accompany her and practiced her singing outside the class. The girls had a difficult time when their beloved mother died of cancer, and Iranganie was only six at the time. Mallika took over the responsibility, left school and started to look after the two younger sisters, which created a strong bond between the father and the three sisters.

Indrani was selected by Dalrene as a backing singer in her band Fire Flies. Later in 1969, Indrani Joined Annesley with Moonstones and sang her first song “Dilhani” which became an instant hit. This was followed by ‘Sigiriya’ and a number of other hits. Girls’ father gave his fullest support and gave the idea of the girls forming their own band. On the 31st December 1969, they had their first performance at the Hotel Taprobane (now called Grand Orient Hotel – GOH). They had an excellent response for songs “Kalu Kella Mamai” and “Akkala Nangila”. The three sisters continued to make fabulous music for over 20 years until Mallika’s untimely death by cancer. It was not then viable for the remaining two sisters to continue under the name of Three Sisters. Indrani later embarked on a successful solo career.

Catalog number CHB 011 on Sooriya of Columbo, Sri Lanka. No release date listed.

Clarence Wijewardena & Annesley Malawana with Super Golden Chimes
August 1, 2010, 3:37 am
Filed under: Sri Lanka

Clarence Wijewardena & Super Golden Chimes • Gamen Liyumak

Annesley Malawana & Super Golden Chimes • Udarata Niliya

The music of Sri Lanka is a product of cultural traditions that are the result of three major factors: the religious practices of Buddhism, the lingering influences of Portuguese colonization, and the influence of Indian culture – most notably, Bollywood cinema.

The country’s first pop band was The Moonstones. The group was formed by Clarence Wijewardena and Annesley Malewana in 1966, in the town of Ratnapura. Clarence Wijewardena is also credited with being the person who first introduced the electric guitar into Sinhala music. Although the band was only together for four years, they were very influential. Wijewardena left in 1970 to form the Golden Chimes with singer Anil Bharati, and Malawana continued the group as the Fabulous Moonstones with Mike Gunesekera. In 1972, The Fabulous Moonstones called it quits and Malawana teamed up with Wijewardena once again. They changed the name of the band to The Super Golden Chimes and were quite popular well into the 80s. They reunited in 2003 and 2004.

Catalog number LECL / 007 / LP / 001 on Lotus Entertainment Company Ltd. of Sri Lanka. No release date listed.

A. E. Manogaran & L. R. Eswari
October 11, 2009, 6:40 am
Filed under: Sri Lanka

Pattu Mamiye

This record is a bit of a mystery to me. Is it a movie soundtrack? A compilation? On each side, it has songs from a different movie, except for one song which has the heading “Ceylon Pop Song”. It seems as if it was just randomly slapped together. Even the picture of the movie poster on the cover appears to be a last minute addition, with the crease being quite visible and the text running off the edge of the frame.

Believe it or not, this is not the only pressing of this record that I have seen. It was originally released on the Sooriya label of Columbo, Sri Lanka and the cover was electric pink instead of light blue on the right hand side. But this version is from Malaysia on the mysterious unnamed “Gazelle” label that also released the S. Hazarasigh album. And the back cover is the same as the front, with no real information other than the song listings. But I have been able to find plenty of information about A. E. Manoharan and L. R. Eswar.

A. E. Manoharan, or as he is more well known as – Ceylon Manohar, is one of the legends of Tamil Baila. Originally called Pop Isai Padalgal, Baila had been a popular folk tradition that was introduced to Sri Lanka’s mainstream during the early 1960s when singer Wally Bastian began adapting the 6/8 ‘kaffirhina’ rhythms to accommodate the Sinhala language. Vernon Corea is credited with having helped to spread baila music to the world via English language programmes that aired on Radio Ceylon and BBC Radio London during the late 1960s and 1970s. Manoharan is also a Tamil film actor, having acted in over 150 films – including “Pasa Nilain” 1963, which was the first movie to be made in Sri Lanka. He recently launched a comeback, after having spent the last two decades in London as an announcer for the Tamil Osai Radio Channel.

L. R. Eswar is a famous playback singer of Tamil movie industry. Besides Tamil, she has recorded devotional, Filmi and pop songs in the Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Tulu languages. She recently started her comeback with the Telugu film production “Thejam“.

Catalog number RSLP 2175. No other information available.

April 5, 2009, 6:47 am
Filed under: Sri Lanka


The Gypsies were formed in 1970 by Anton Perera in Sri Lanka. The band was comprised of Perera’s five sons (Sunil, Nihal, Piyal, Nimal, Lal) – all of whom had recently completed high school. Lead singer Sunil Perera, schooled at St Peter’s College in Colombo, renovated a portion of his house in Ratmalana into a recording studio and began recording their first album.

Their early success was due to a series of albums they released in the 1970s entitled “Dance With the Gypsies”. In the 1980s the group released their first audio cassette containing their novelty hit “Kurumitto” (“Dwarves”), which is a cover version of Dutch musician Father Abraham‘s “The Smurf Song”.

Their first performance out of Sri Lanka, as the resident band at the Delhi Taj in New Deli was for three months, was followed by successful tours in foreign countries where many Sri Lankans now reside, such as the U.K., U.S., Australia and Canada. They are still active to this day.

Thanks to Upendra Samaranayake for translating the Sinhalese. The name of the song posted is “Kawda Pissu”, which translates as “Who’s Crazy?”.

Catalog number G T -08 on Guththila of Sri Lanka. No release date listed.

Lalith Mendis
August 3, 2008, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Sri Lanka

Lanka Babu

Lalith Mendis was from Sri Lanka.

Officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the country was known as Ceylon before 1972. Sri Lanka is an island nation in South Asia, located less than 20 miles off the southern coast of India. It is home to around twenty million people.

Because of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia, and has been a center of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times. Today, the country is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, with more than a quarter of the population following faiths other than Buddhism, notably Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population, with Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, forming the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include the Muslim Moors and Malays and the Burghers.

I have been unable to find any information about Lalith Mendis. He may have been related to Maxwell Mendis (who produced this single) and may have been in the Mendis Foursome. If you know anything about him please contact me.

Catalog number O.M.E. 2024 on Gemtone. No other information available.

Fabulous Moonstones
June 24, 2008, 7:41 pm
Filed under: Sri Lanka

Dunhinda Manamali

The Fabulous Moonstones started playing together in 1964, formed by Clarence Wijewardane and Annesley Malewana in Columbo, Sri Lanka.

Clarence Wijewardene is credited with being the person who first introduced the electric guitar into Sinhala music.

After the break up of the Fabulous Moonstones in 1970, Wijewardene formed the the Golden Chimes with singer Anil Bharati. This did not last long, though, because Malawana and Wijewardene could not be seperated in the pop music scene. They eventually returned together with the Super Golden Chimes in 1972.

For more music from Sri Lanka, be sure to check out Sinhala Jukebox.

Catalog number CHB 023 on Sooriya records of Columbo, Sri Lanka.

Mignonne & The Jetliners
June 19, 2008, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Sri Lanka

Jéévithé Vasanthayé

Mignonne & The Jetliners are from Sri Lanka, which is also known as Ceylon.

Mignonne Fernando first appeared onto the Sri Lankan music scene in 1963 when as Mignonne Rutnam she won a song contest on Radio Ceylon. The radio station is one of the oldest broadcasting institutions in South Asia.

Vernon Corea, who was a popular disc jockey in Colombo, Sri Lanka, introduced Mignonne to The Jetliners in 1965. Later, he would go on to play their music on his popular radio program on BBC Radio London called ‘London Sounds Eastern‘ in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1980, Mignonne and The Jetliners began a 17 year contract to play The Regent Hotel in Hong Kong. And in 2003 when Mignonne Fernando released her first CD titled ‘A Celebration of Life.’ They still perform in and around South Asia, Australia and supposedly some dates in the United States in 2006.

This is the only song I have been able to find by them (so far) that is actually in Sinhalese. I’m also guessing that this is from the mid-Seventies since that sounds like an early drum machine and the liner notes talk about Mignonne’s succes at the World Popular Song Festival of 1972…

Catalog number LBEP-009 on Lewis Brown records of Columbo, Sri Lanka.