Lyrical bliss | Daily News


Lyrical bliss

As far back as the first decade of the 1960s, I had a good chance of meeting a librarian attached to the YMBA, Borella. I enjoyed the time I spent with him chatting about memorable poets like Tagore, Gibran and Omar Khayyam.

The person happens to be Dalton Alwis who later on gave up the librarianship to join the then Radio Ceylon as a Records and Tapes Librarian, rather an unusual job. But I found him nevertheless enjoying the bliss of being there composing his own poems and lyrics to those who wanted to sing. Dalton was more known as a poet, who gradually changed on to a not so prolific lyricist at Radio Ceylon.

Excellent lyricist

As I remember him, he was more inclined to write lyrics that expressed patriotism, love and the transience of life as linked to the Buddhist doctrine of changing nature in existence. Today, he is remembered as a lyricist par excellence. Dalton Alwis, as I knew him, irrespective of his patriotism, he never wanted to change his two names: Dalton and Alwis. Once he told me that he wanted to retain these names in order to exhibit to others what he is in spirit.

His poems and lyrics are taken so seriously today that I had the chance of reading an academic postgraduate research project as performed by a music teacher, Visharada Nayana Shamali Rajapaksa of Vihara Maha Devi Vidyalaya at Kiribathgoda. The book which was awarded an MA in Communication at Kelaniya University is printed and titled as Dalton Alwis: His Lyrics and Communication. The intention of this research is to present a brief profile of the creator, Dalton (1928 – 1987) and to evaluate the worth of his composition in the creative communication component of the subject area. In this area, the research selects five main areas connected to the subject of creative communication trends.

1. The creative expression of the need to explore them.

2. The standpoint of verses, poems and lyrics in the field of creativity.

3. The depiction of mass conscience in the creativity as songs

4. Impact of oriental forms of creative forms as a creative influence on the creation of lyrics.

5. The selection of best creations over the years.

In order to evaluate the modernism embedded some of the so far hidden or misplaced lyrics have been discovered by Rajapaksa enabling the lovers of songs as sung by Maestro Amaradeva and others. I found that some of the lyrics that had gone into the end product as a song when reading in the printed form bring back the euphoria of the ecstatic past as cracked by the music makers over the years.

Musical presentation

There was a time when most singers wanted lyrics to suit their Hindi melodies as obtained from the popular films of the day. But as time went on, the trend changed to a better climate of music presentation via the well known Radio Opera (gita nataka). This was the crowning era when our friend, Dalton Alwis, had the opportunity to present his works to those who ventured into the fresh pastures.

the research work on the part of the researcher is commendable as it sheds light on to the literary and communication factors related to musicology, a subject area not quite studied in depth by Sri Lankan students.

Perhaps the work will lead to more academic activities and related disciplines.

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