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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

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Awakening the Golden Oldies

Damayantha unearths Clarence's 'hidden songs' :


Damayantha Kuruppu

Damayantha Kuruppu's connection with legendary Sri Lankan pop music king Clarence Wijewardena goes back several years. He had listened to the musician practicing with his comrades in the Moonstones at Sirisangabo Corea's house in Thinbirigasyaya.

Inspired by his tunes Damayantha was motivated to become involved with music. He soon formed his own group named Lonesome stone in collaboration with Dulik Gabadamudalige, John Rodrigo and Ajith Dahanayake.

"I was one of Clarence's close allies and told him about my passion for the subject. He advised me to conduct a show for Milton Malawarachchi who was at the peak of his musical career then. "I organized the Super Milton show at Nawa Rangahala in May 1975," Damayantha recalled on how he progressed in the musical arena. His nest step was to fly to London to study hotel management. There he formed a band called Electric Image which performed some western and Sri Lankan songs at events. Damayantha returned back to the isle in 1982 and organized several shows.

Some of the most significant projects he was involved in were the shows Tribute to Clarence, Ronnie and Corrine in Concert, Clarence the Legend. All these fell under the DK Promotions banner. He even organized the 40th Anniversary show for Migonne of Jetliners fame and the 'Amazing Grace' reunion show and the Derrick J Concert.

"I develop a theme and put together the whole concept and sell it to the organizations as fund raisers. I have put together shows for international artistes like Lobo and Sir Cliff Richards," he reveled. Not surprisingly Damayantha's own talent for singing came to the limelight during these concerts. He said that the audience loved to hear him sing a few lines while compeering the events. "That was when I realized that I had more talent to offer to the music lover of the country," he noted.

"He had already composed several CDs of songs: Timeless Hits which includes old songs from the 1970s, Suhadanane which includes some songs that Mariazelle dueted with Clarence.It includes hits like Malkelle and Kumari Hami.

"15 of Clarence's songs which were only in tape have been included in the CD. Siri Hettiarachchi gave me a hundred of Clarence's songs which were not heard on air," he said adding that Sheela Wijewardene had been very supportive

The CD even includes Suhadanane, a song Damayantha had composed in tribute to Clarance. Clarence Sangavunu Gee is available at the leading CD shops in the country. For further details contact 0777744950.

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