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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Khemadasa: End of a musical journey !

Khemadasa: End of a musical journey

Veteran music composer Dr. Premasiriri Khemadasa was cremated yesterday at the Independence Square amid state honours for his services to Sri Lankan music.

He was 71 at the time he passed away at Apollo Hospital in Colombo.

The remains of Music Maestro Premasiri Khemadasa being taken to Independence Square for cremation yesterday. Picture by Sudath Nishantha

Actors, actresses , singers , music composers, film directors, producers, his pupils at Premasiri Khemadasa Foundation and the Khemadasa Study Centre, religious dignitaries, schoolchildren, university students , politicians, artistes and his admirers came to pay their last respects to Khemadasa at the Independence Square.

First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa paid her last respects to Khemadasa at his residence at Rajagiriya yesterday morning. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe also paid his last respects to the master musician.

Khemadasa left his wife S.Somalatha Perera and two daughters Anupa Kemadasa and Gayathri Khemadasa.

Khemadasa pioneered a greater tradition of Sri Lankan music by skillfully combining Sri Lankan folk music, Hindustani music, Western classical music and many other streams of music to create a unique style.

He was a music genius who emphasized the importance of expressing a piece of music rather than restricting oneself to playing what is written on the notation sheet. He maintained that it was essential to understand the movement of a note pattern of a given piece to play it. Khemadasa said it was the expression that produces the “magical element” in music in the sphere of musical sound.

Khemadasa composed symphonies like Muhuda and Mage kale mavni. He used operatic vocals in his music with his vast knowledge of opera . He is the only known Sri Lankan musician who practised and created opera. His famous operas include Manasawila and Doramandalawa.

Recently he created the opera Agni with the story line taken from Greek mythology. He composed music for Golu Hadawata and Nidhanaya directed by film director Lester James Piries. Later he contributed to films Agnidaahaya and Ammavarune , the latter by Lester. Apart from film music Dr. Khemadasa has composed music for teledramas and theatre.

His collaboration with director Jayantha Chandrasiri has turned out remarkable products. The theme he created for Chandrasiri’s television series Dandubasnamanaya was much acclaimed .

Even in his 70s , he worked hard to secure the future of Sri Lankan music.

As pointed out by his admirers and critics, close associates and musicians , it remains a challenge to take forward the great tradition of maestro Khemadasa after his demise.

WE MISS YOU ! - Admin

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