‘I aim to help others like I helped Jothi’
Just imagine how dreary life
would be if Jothipala didn’t have the courage to live his life and
create wonderful songs that are even sung by the ‘Superstars’ of today.
Despite an Indian film composer deeming his songs unsuitable for the
movie ‘Podi Putha’, a kind-hearted samitarian helped Jothi with
financial assistance to cut a record of songs for Jabir A.Cader to use
them in ‘Surathalee’. This considerate person was none other than
maestro musician Stanley Omar.
opening a school dedicated in honour of H.R. Jothipala
because I believe that we should support young and upcoming
musicians to learn the basics of music the proper way,”
“I gave H.R.Jothipala the Rs.35 that he needed as he was rather
down-trodden just because his first attempt to attain success went
awry,” said Omar. A mere Rs.35 which was big money during 1956 made
Jothipala big with his memorable and happy-go-lucky number, “Siriyame
Sara” under T.R.Papa at Wahini Studio, India.
Stanley Omar also took to his favourite hobby by joining the Sri
Lanka Broadcasting Corporation as a composer and musician.
“I was privileged to have a show and I liked performing for different
children’s programmes”, he said. Working alongside Jothi, Stanley Omar
even worked on ‘Surathalee’ by producing that wonder ‘Mage Ran Raje’.
Contributing immensely to the silver screen, he also breathed life into
many stage drama musicals encompassing ‘Janaleya’, ‘Semisayasa’ and many
Henry Jayasena productions where he has led the orchestra.
Today, he is helping others like he helped the great Jothi by opening
a school called the ‘Jothi Kala Kendraya’ at Ethul Kotte on March 28. “I
am opening a school dedicated in honour of H.R. Jothipala because I
believe that we should support young and upcoming musicians to learn the
basics of music the proper way,” he said.
The academy was set up with meeting special dignitaries and veterans
in the music field on H.R. Jothipala’s birth anniversary which fell on
February 12. It is aimed at teaching the finer points of musical
instruments like the tabla, organ, guitar, sitar in addition to
Stanley’s musical baby - the violin.
“The instruments will be taught by veteran musicians who used to work
at SLBC” he said. The music teaching panel will include Nimalsiri Cooray
for sitar, Sunasena Cooray for guitar, Malalasekera Withana on harmonium
(serpina), Upatissa Perera and Sandasiri Adikari on flute, Somasiri
Baddegama and Bandula de Silva on tabla. In addition to this, Bandara
Ekanayake and Upali Karunaratne will help potential Kandyan dancers of
which the latter which teach drumming as well.
Thilan Harshana and Seetha Malkanthi will provide the basics in
versatile drumming too. Helping OL and AL students pass with flying
colours in Music will be Sujeevani Dhammika. Organ classes by renowned
musician Stanley Fernando will add class to the music institution which
will infuse a sense of music passion in the students.
All these maestros will help would-be musicians during weekends to
tap their hidden talents and will give them the opportunity to shine.
“Special individual attention will be given and group classes will also
help students learn the rules of music” he said.
He said that he can play most of all the instruments and is willing
to teach it the proper way.
“I have been successful in teaching the former Malaysian High
Commissioner which proves that I can mould a star out of anyone who is
willing to make the musical commitment” said Stanley.
He also hopes to have a dancing class where Kandyan dancing and other
important dance forms will be taught. “I want to give the best for my
students with expert professional guidance” he said. Being true to his
roots as a Malay, he has composed Malay songs that were performed even
recently at the Punchi Theatre where the Kumpulan Melayu Battaramulla
held a Malay cultural show called the “Tarian dan Lagu Melayu” .
Doing his bid to preserve the Malay culture, he has been instrumental
in reviving the use of Malay language through his songs. “To go the
extra mile in helping the younger Malay generation get in touch with
their identity, I am also producing a CD with the help of Malay feature
artists, “ he said.
Those who will contribute to Stanley Omar’s CD include Bertie Abbas,
Tony Jabbar, Winston Rajudeen, Tony Mantara, Nisar Ahmad, Tony Hassan,
Razli Sorjah, Panthi Mantara, young singing sensation Shan Hashim and
Stanley’s wife - Moon Omar.
Stanley Omar has won several film and music awards like the Sarasavi
film music award and the TV Star Choice awards. Stanley Omar provided
the smooth melodies for the stage drama ‘Suba Saha Yasa’ by Simon
Navagaththegama which was directed by renowned actor Sriyantha Mendis.
“I have to make a special acknowledgement to my wife Mohsina (Moon)
Omar for supporting me through thick and thin” said Stanley Omar
graciously. He says that he wouldn’t have make it this far and opening
the Jothi academy wouldn’t be possible if not for her.
“I’m glad that people still sing Jothi’s songs and remember him and
I’m glad I could do whatever way to help the music industry by helping
Jothi so this is my tribute to him” concluded Stanley Omar.