Laurels for a nightingale | Daily News

Laurels for a nightingale

Angeline duets with Ranil Mallawarachchi

 

The audience which comprised of ardent fans of the beloved songstress Angeline Gunatilaka was eager to witness a show of a lifetime. Their idol was to sing the cream of her songs sung in the 70s and 80s live after a long pause. The show was named as Angeline Gunatiaka, Live in Concert .
 
 
President Mahinda Rajapaksa greeting Angeline at the show
Will she sing with the same vigour she had in her youth? Is she going to mime? What will she wear? Who will sing duets with her? In which nature will be the curtain raiser? were the common questions which were doing their rounds in the Nelum Pokuna auditorium, prior to the show. However, it was a long wait for the fans who gathered at the venue. Finally, the Nightingale made her appearance on stage clad in a glamorous red colour saree escorted by a group of little children. Her very first song in the show was dedicated to the Lord Jesus.
 
The orchestra lead by Premanath Kodithuwakku comprised a set of some of the most experienced musicians in the country. The songstress started giving life to the songs she had sung for Sinhala films in its heydays. Song after song, the show started gathering momentum. Someone in the audience uttered the words, “Is she really singing live? There is hardly any difference to the original versions she sang decades before …”
 
Duet singers Ranil Mallawarachchi, Vernon Perera, Kaveesha, Sumith, Thuhara, Anura and Imal Jude were doing justice to the evergreen songs Angi had sung with Jothi and Milton Mallawarachchi. After singing from her golden voice a string of songs such as Maa Eda, Puchi Putha Magae, Maa Prarthanawo (Lasanda), Kalak Awaamen (Apeksha); Angeline paused for a while to address her fans with her melodious voice.
 
“You may have noticed us making minor mistakes at times, while singing duets. This is inevitable and a part and parcel in a live show. I do not believe in miming because my fans are here today to witness a live performance. I respect that,” she said.
 
She further noted that there is no room for ‘duplicates’ of Angeline Gunetilleke.
 
 
Angeline with Malani Fonseka
“I believe in God. The Lord has given me a rare talent which even my kith and kin cannot borrow or imitate,” she stressed. True to her words, Angeline proved once again, that she still remains the ‘Queen’ among Queens with a golden screen voice. When Angeline sang Situ Medurae Ho (Nilla Soya), Pemwathiyange…Pemwathiyangae Mahaa Sagara e (Kasthuri Suwanda) and S anda Modu Welaa Nagenaa (Apsara); the audience was spellbound.
 
The touch of sheer romance in her voice made the audience dumb found for a significant time. ‘Queen of Romance’ she was, in that eve. Men may have surely recalled ‘all the girls they have loved before’, while listening to these songs. A beautiful young mother in the audience wiped her tears when Angi sang Pemwathiyang, Pemwathiyangae Mahaa Sagarae.
 
We glimpsed film stars of a golden era such as Malani Fonseka, Anula Karunatilleke (of Golu Hadawatha fame), Sanath Gunetilleke, Robin Fernando seated in the auditorium engrossed in Angi’s singing. (Was Sabitha Perera also there?)
 
Fahim Mowjood, the man behind the event who is a 70s decade filmgoer now living in Australia, was seated quietly enjoying the show. The two monuments in Sinhala cinema, Gamini and Vijaya only made their appearances on the wide screen in the backdrop. (May be in a decade or so,
 
3D images of Vijaya, Gamini and Jothi would appear on stage, in a show in this nature.) Although the interval was too long, the songstress appeared once again in a peacock blue saree, singing Ira Sanda Wandalaa which she sang with Jothi, in the film Sangeetha . Malani Fonseka was seen thoroughly enjoying the song. Chandana Wickramasinghe’s dancing troupe added much glamour to the show. Saranga Dissasekera in the absence of Ravindra Randeniya was doing a commendable job as the compeer.
 
 
Angeline duets with Ranil Mallawarachchi
It was a touching moment when Randeniya appeared on stage in the latter part of the show and apologized for not being able to attend as a compeer due to a sudden injury.
 
Angeline maintaining her mesmerizing voice without the slightest change for such a long period is truly a miracle. The Lord has given her a voice to remain with her for a lifetime. She was lucky been able to render her voice to the Sinhala films made in a golden era. Awa Soya Adarae was a exceedingly romantic film made in the 70s decade with Gamini and Malani in the lead roles. The song Ranmasu Ran Kiri Garunda Thalaawaka in the film remains a hit, to date. Angeline aroused nostalgic memories of the 70s decade giving life to this song
 
Angeline’s versatility in singing does not confine to film songs. She is well versed with many genres of singing styles, even Baila. The show was reaching its climax. Saranga announced that Angeline is to be felicitated for her decades of service to the nation. He said, the President Mahnida Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa are already in the auditorium enjoying Angeline’s singing and they will be on the stage to felicitate Angi.
 
The citation of the award, written and read by Sulochana Wickramasinghe (journalist) was a fitting tribute to the Songstress. When the President and First Lady came on stage and felicitated Angi, the ‘Nightingale of Sinhala cinema’ got a standing ovation from the audience.
 
Situ Medurae Ho, Punchi Pelae Ho, Aatha Bhawae Ho, Maa Oba Hamuwee Thibuna...
 

 

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