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Maestro Amaradeva bids farewell today

Maestro Amaradeva bids farewell today
The nation today bids farewell to veteran musician Pandit Amaradeva who left an indelible imprint in the hearts of Sri Lankans, ending an unmatched contribution for the development of Sinhala music for over 60 years.

Pandit Amaradeva, the recipient of several awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award (2001) and Padma Shri from Indian (2002) succeeded in developing a music which is quintessentially Sri Lankan by drawing inspiration from Indian classical music and Sinhala folk music.

He was a household name among Sri Lankans of all walks of life for decades.

Thousands of mourners including fellow artistes kept streaming in to the Sri Jayawardenapura hospital on Thursday morning on hearing of his passing away.

The Government on Thursday evening declared a mourning period of 7 days in view of the death of mastero Pandit Amaradeva and the National Flag at government buildings flew half mast as a mark of respect to the music colossus.

This is the first occasion that the remains of an artiste is kept at the Independence Square for more than 24 hours for the public to pay their last respects.

Banners were displayed in every town throughout the country by mourners expressing their condolence over the death of mastero W.D. Amaradeva.

Thousands of mourners were lining the streets leading to Torrington Square yesterday to pay their respects and have a last glimpse of the remains of veteran musician. The remains of Pandit Amaradeva will lie in state till 3.30 p.m. today for the people to pay their last respects.

The final rites will be held at 6 p.m. today the same venue with full State honours.

The Sri Lanka Police and Tri Forces have made arrangements to provide facilities for thousands of people coming to Colombo to pay their last respects to the veteran musician.

Wannakuwatta Waduge Don Albert Perera, known by his adoptive name Amaradeva was a legendary musician who received the nation’s higest awards Deshamanya and Kalakeerthi awards in recognition of his service to the field of Sri Lankan music Pandit Amaradeva composed the music for the Maldivian National Anthem (Gaumii salaam) in 1972 at the request of Maldivian Government.

In 1950s, W.D. Amaradeva studied the folk music styles and consulted the experts of the Kandyan dance tradition like Pani Bharata, Kiriganitha Gunamala and Suramba in his path understand what constituted Sinhala folk music.

AmarAdeva was introduced to music at a young age by his father who crafted and repaired violins at Moratumulla Wadu Kaarmika Vidyalaya (Carpentry School). Amaradeva would often strum the violin while his mother sang hymns .

An old student of Sri Sumangala College, Panadura, W.D. Amaradeva met Sunil Shantha, a prominent musician at the time at one of Sunil Santha’s concerts. Since he showed interest, Sunil Santha invited AmaradeVa to audition at Chitrasena studios. His acquaintance helped him ascend the top rung of music sector in the country.