Remembering Vivienne de Silva Boralessa

Published : 9:37 am  November 20, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (280) reads | 

Untitled-3The 87th birth anniversary of veteran songstress Vivienne de Silva Boralessa who had  been active in the music scene for more than seven decades, falls on November 24. She started singing when she was barely eight years old, and continued to sing with the  same vitality and passion until her demise on April 2 this year.

Her songs like Dura Pena Theni Thala, Nangi Nangi Rupika,  Nawathinna Tissa, Sambudu Mangalle, Budu Magula Langama Ewi, Ma Sanghabodhi and others will linger in our memories for generations to come.


She was awarded with several unique awards in recent years especially for her longstanding contributions to the music field.


Vivienne de Silva, born on November 24, 1930, was the only child of G. F. de Silva and D. L. Sahabandu. Her father was the proprietor of a popular bus company (Safety Tours). He was a great arts lover. It was this passion in him that motivated his daughter and only child Vivienne who was groomed in the right mould. She was just eight when she first stepped in to the Radio Ceylon which later became the place that brought her fame and fortune. Her father was an ardent lover of dramas too. He organized several dramas and during one of those shows little Vivienne was asked to sing a welcome song too. She sang her first duet with her uncle J. R. Edward who took her to the Radio Ceylon and passed an audition successfully.

 

Her songs like Dura Pena Theni Thala, Nangi Nangi Rupika,  Nawathinna Tissa, Sambudu Mangalle, Budu Magula Langama Ewi, Ma Sanghabodhi and others will linger in our memories for generations to come.

 

 


“I sang light songs from 1940 which were held once in three weeks. Unlike today even the lyrics were closely monitored then. We sang with the minimum facilities but our commitment and dedication took us far. Among those who helped us then were Rupasinghe Master, Lionel Edirisinghe and Eddie Master,” said Vivienne Boralessa who holds the record of being the only singer to have sung at the 2500 Sambuddha Jayanthi and 2600 Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi celebrations,” she told DM Impulse in her last interview.

 

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“I sang for the HMV label in the fifties and each record was sold for about Rs. 5. But we were paid 25 cents for a song. The Cargills company presented me with a radiogram because of the popularity of my songs sung under their label,” she said evoking nostalgic memories. The duet ‘Rella Negenne’ I sang with Sunil Shantha was also very popular among the people. Pandit W. D. Amaradewa, C. T. Fernando and Kanthi Wakwella and Percy Jayawardana sang the chorus for that song. I have sung duets with H. R. Jothipala, C. T. Fernando, Sisira Senaratne, Haroon Lantra  and Dharmadasa Walpola too,” she said.

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“Wasantha Sandanayake, Vincent de Paul Peiris, Susil Premaratne, Grace Sahabandu, Pricilla Opatha, C. T. Fernando, Kanthi Wakwella and Mohideen Baig were among my contemporaries then. My songs were mostly based on Buddhist and patriotic themes. My parents declined to send me to India for recordings and that prevented me from entering the film playback scene. I have six children – 4 boys and two girls. I gave them the best of education and I am happy that they are doing well today. Only my son Kapila is showing signs of following in my footsteps, but I guess all my children can sing. Sarath Wimalaweera, Karunaratne Abeysekara, Dharmadasa Dias, Premakeerthi de Alwis, C. Weerasekara, Dayananda Kumarasiri, Wasanthasiri Kusumpala, Rangajeewa Salgado and others were among those who penned most of my songs. B. S. Perera, Victor Perera, Premasiri Khemadasa, Sanath Nandasiri, Clarence Wijewardana were among those who set my songs to tune,” the ‘A’ Grade singer said insisting that old songs should be archived in the original voice of the singers but not sung by others.

 

 

 

 

text: Ramesh