Lankika celebrates 35 golden years in music
When Clarence Wijewardena, Chanaka Perera, Vijith Peiris and Dixon
Gunaratne formed the Golden Chimes in 1970, Lankika Peiris was just a
friend of the outfit. She joined Golden Chimes in 1971 on being invited
by its leader Clarence Wijewardena.
She had been a friend of Golden Chimes' members on account of her
relationship with its member Chanaka Perera whom she had been engaged
with at that time.
Chanaka was on bass and vocals of the Moonstones led by Annesley
Malawana until he broke away from Moonstones in late 1969. Clarence
Wijewardena was on rhythm and vocals of the Moonstones.
When the Moonstones was first introduced in 1967, the members were
using only acoustic guitars.
After the break up of the Moonstones, Chanaka and Clarence had often
met in Colombo where they discussed the possibility of forming a new
Chanaka was involved in organizing a musical show in Moratuwa at that
time. Chanaka made his intentions clear to Clarence and Vijith (drums).
The idea was to perform at the show as a band.
Vijith and Clarence were excited about the idea and they paired up
for the task. The boys named themselves as "Break-aways from the
Moonstones" and performed at the show.
Anton Gunatilleke, who used to play with Chanaka with the Beacons,
played the lead guitar at the show. Anton was a guest performer and was
So Clarence brought in Dixon Gunaratna to play with the new band, the
Golden Chimes. Lankika Perera, the only female vocalist of the Golden
Chimes thus revealed the beginning of the Golden Chimes in an interview
with In Tune.
The original Golden Chimes in 1971 : Anil
Bharathi, Clarence Wijewardena, Chanaka Peiris, Lankika Perera,
Vijith Peiris and Dixon Gunaratne.
She has performed with Golden Chimes for over three decades and is
currently celebrating her 35th year in the field of music with the
The Methodist Wesley Guild of Rawathawatta has organised a concert,
titled "Celebration 35" at the Methodist College Auditorium, Kollupitiya
on September 9 at 7 pm, to commemorate the artiste's land mark 35 years
I met Lankika Perera last Wednesday at her office on the 21st floor
of the Bank of Ceylon building, Colombo.
Perhaps Lankika is the only female vocalist who has ever performed in
a band for more than 30 years.
Among her songs are evergreen classics such as Kimada Nawe, Molaketi
Puthuni, Lalai Welai, Sandai Tharui, Bethlehempure, Puthu Nidiyai,
Sihina Sagarei and Hiru Negila.
The Golden Chimes is undoubtedly the Sri Lanka's foremost band that
has delivered the most number of original Sinhala songs with a touch of
its own musical colour that is rooted in Western music.
Their music has a lasting quality that could be described as the
characteristic Golden Chimes' tonality which is present in almost every
song they have recorded in the 70s and 80s.
Lankika said, "it was Clarence that introduced this particular style
of music to the band. He is an unbelievably talented musician."
How did Clarence joined the Golden Chimes from the Moonstones?
Chanaka, my husband, was the first to leave Moonstones. Clarence left
Moonstones after him.
How did "Break-aways of Moonstones" became the Golden Chimes?
The name, Golden Chimes was given by Gerald Wickramasooriya, the
chairman of "Suriya" label record company. Most singles were released
those days under the reputed Suriya Label.
The founder members of Golden Chimes, late Clarence Wijewardena,
Chanaka Perera, Vijith Peiris (Lankika's brother), and Dixon Gunaratne,
released their debut EP in 1971 under Suriya Label.
Clarence composed the lyrics and musical arrangements for Kimada Nawe,
Mage Palpathe, Sihin Sinawai, and Samanalayo.
Lankika was taking a stroll down memory lane of her musical past.
"It was at this point that Clarence invited me to join the band as
their female vocalist," she said.
A second album was also recorded with singles Surangana Wes Wala,
Sihil Nuwan, Mage Wiyowen, Malai Mellow, which was launched under the
Phillips label. Then Chanaka invited his cousin Anil Bharathi to perform
western songs in the band.
What happened just after forming the band?
After forming the band Clarence stayed at our place in Moratuwa
because of his friendship with my brother Vijith.
At the time Chanaka was visiting our place. When Clarence asked me to
join the Golden Chimes, my parents agreed but they said I had to marry
Chanaka, who was seeing me at the time.
Chanaka and I got married in December 1971.
Clarence composed "Ran Seenu Handavi" for our church wedding which
was sung by many artistes there.
When was the Golden Chimes was at its peak?
During the period of 71 and 72. The band toured all over Sri Lanka.
During 1972, our songs were heard over the radio in both English and
Sinhala channels including Vijaya Corea's show. Our third EP was
produced during this year.
How do you describe your singing ability and your repertoire as a
singer after decades of singing?
It's a gift from God. The talent I have is a gift from above.
Lankika has released about 50 original songs so far. All popular to
I am happy that Golden Chimes' songs are loved by every one. I
recently met a young boy from Gampaha, who is 14, who happened to be a
big time fan of me and the Golden Chimes.
His name is Rukshan Karunanayaka. He has done a song for us,
composing lyrics and music. He is presently practising with the band
with his guitar to perform at the concert.
The funds generated at the concert will be given to Rawathawatta
Methodist Church Reconstruction Fund.
The Bank of Ceylon, Etihad Crystal Cargo and SpeedMark Transportation
Pvt Ltd., are the main sponsors. A CD titled "Golden Chimes Then and
Now" will be launched at the show.
Annesley Malewana, Indrani Perera, Anil Bharathi, Mariazelle
Gunatilleke, Christine Gunewardena, Rajiv Sebastian, Keerthi Pasquel,
Sureshni Wanigasuriya and Rukshan Perera will perform.