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Obe Katahanda Thama Mathakai

Unique ceremony to honour veteran radio artiste

by Anjana Gamage

Standing: Jayantha Peiris, Edward Jayakody and Charitha Priyadarshani. Seated: Ariyadasa Peiris. Pic by Ruwan de Silva

"Obe Katahanda Thama Mathakai" (Your voice is still remembered) a felicitation ceremony for veteran radio announcer and artiste of yesteryears, Ariyadasa Peiris will be held at the John de Silva Memorial Theatre on November 16, at 6.30 pm.

The latest CD and audio cassette of Charitha Priyadarshani Peiris, daughter of Ariyadasa Peiris will also be launched on the same day, by adding more colour to the event as a father and daughter combination.

"Dear listeners, these are the rules of the programme. " You can't say 'yes', 'no' and 'can't', this is your favourite radio programme - " Ouw-Na-Ba".

This is how his words went on the air at a live presentation of a programme broadcast over the radio then. Both his friendly manner and the base voice helped to make these programmes popular among the listeners.

Ariyadasa Peiris' name has been written in the annals of the Commercial Service of Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) as the first announcer to present a programme in 1951.

Various radio programmes he presented during that period such as " Adunika Peya", " Maliban Guwan Thotilla", " Pibidena Gayaka Parapura", "Pena Podi"," Suhada Pathum"," Ouw-Na-Ba", " Puluwannam Dinaganna", Vinadiyak Pamanai" and " Ambiga Geethayen Geethaya" are still remembered by the listeners.

Ariyadasa Peiris 

Renowned singers such as J. A. Milton Perera, H. R. Jothipala, Dharmadasa Walpola, Malkanthi Nandasiri, Edward Jayakody and Rohana Bogoda gained popularity through the popular programme " Adunika Peya" (Amateur's Hour) presented by Ariyadasa Peiris, when he was the programme producer at that time.

Film director

Apart from his announcing career, he was also a film director. He directed " Sobana Sitha" and " Deva Sundari" and also took part in " Kurulu Bedda".

Ariyadasa Peiris, 78, will be felicitated by his family members, most of them who have established themselves as announcers in their respective radio and television channels, at a gala event to be held at the John de Silva Memorial Theatre on November 16 at 6.30 pm.

In an exclusive interview with the " Artscope", Ariyadasa Peiris' youngest daughter singer Charitha Priyadarshani Peiris described how the programmes of the felicitation ceremony has been arranged.

"We had this dream of felicitating our father for many years ago. But we could not make it a reality due to our involvement in organising similar felicitation ceremonies. One such event was the felicitation ceremony we organised for singer G.S.B. Rani Perera. We are happy today because we felicitated her during her lifetime", she said.

Family of announcers

This is perhaps the first time a family of announcers have come together to honour a veteran.

Two brothers Ranjith Peiris and Jayantha Peiris, daughter Charitha Priyadarshani Peiris, nieces of the family up - coming actress Chathurika Peiris, announcers Poornika Peiris, Niranjala Basnayake and Chamali Vathsala attached to Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, Sri FM and Lakhanda Radio respectively and son -in-law singer Edward Jayakody along with " Sarisara Sahurdayo" Foundation are the organisers of the event.

Charitha Priyadarshani 
Pic : Tennyson Edrisinghe

Along with the felicitation ceremony, Charitha Priyadarshani's latest CD and audio cassette titled " Sal Mal Yaya" and a booklet containing articles written by renowned personalities on the dedicated services of Ariydasa Peiris named " Obe Katahanda Thama Mathakai" will also be launched at the ceremony.

"This event will be a colourful evening to everyone who loves the old memories of an artiste who ushered in a new culture in radio programmes. Come and enjoy it", said Charitha extending an open invitation to everybody.

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