Premasiri Khemadasa, well-known music composer who was bestowed the coveted honorary doctorate (D.Litt) by the Ruhunu University for his contribution to music, turns 68 today.
Khemadasa who has embedded his mark in several of his creations during the past five decades is from Talpitiya, Wadduwa and entered the portals of Colombo city in search of music, the type of music he was looking for in the city.
He was born on January 25, 1937 and had his education at Sri Sumangala Vidyalaya and St.John`s College, Panadura.
In his youth, he excelled as a flautist and was taken to the then Radio Ceylon orchestra. He did not stop there.
He ventured out searching for the `music of his soul`.
He had the opportunity to provide music to Roddie Kella, a film by Sirisena Wimalaweera and his musical contribution to Lester James Peiris` Golu Hadawatha was a turning point in cinematic music.
A straightforward man who never took anything for granted but worked hard in the field, he had chosen to give a taste of real Sri Lankan music to his listeners devoid of the Indian touch.
He shot to fame with his Manasawila, opera. This followed with several other productions such as Doramandalawa and Sonduru Warnadasa. His symphonies Muhuda and Mage Kale Mavni will always linger. The film Bambaru Evith captured the audience for his music for the song Handunagaththoth Oba Ma.
Khemadasa had thought it fit to entertain his music loving audience with a concert of his own to mark his birthday, which falls in January. Despite being very sick now, but never showing signs of the pain that he undergoes with his ailment, he keeps his head high and salute you and welcomes you to attend to your need.
He has come a long way over at least five decades enriching theatre, ballet, symphony and the Sinhala film industry from his humble contribution.
He was convinced that his piece of music would be a success provided he has understood what underlies the words and verbal patterns used before giving it the necessary vocal and musical fusions to bring out the hidden aspect of the text which tries to convey a situation in the best way the director wants to convey to his audience.
If one were to closely observe some of his productions acclaimed as master-pieces one realises that his emphasis is to elevate the textual matter into a musical interpretative realm and Khemadasa is undoubtedly a master in that art. Manasawila and Doramandalawa will bear testimony to that fact.