Hot hits of the season | Daily News


Hot hits of the season

During the month of December if you turn on the radio, you will be able to listen to a whole lot of beautiful seasonal favourites popularly known as Carols or Christmas songs. In fact the word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy! It is a religious folk song or popular hymn, particularly one associated with Christmas. Now as we all know most of them are related to the birth of Lord Jesus Christ, who was born to Joseph and Mary away in a manger, amidst shepherds flocking sheep in a cold winter night of December. Some other Xmas carols are based on Santa Claus, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, Christmas cards, the three wise men (magi), Christmas tree, winter scenes, twelve days of Christmas, Yuletide family gatherings and so on.

Evergreen English Carols

Mary’s boy child, Jingle bells, Silent night, Great day in Bethlehem, Away in a manger, Long time ago in Bethlehem, Little drummer boy, White Christmas, Merry Xmas everybody, Christmas time is here, Santa baby, Wonderful Christmas time, Jingle bell rock, Sleigh ride, O’ come all ye faithful, I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus, 8 days of Christmas, Blue Christmas, Santa Claus is coming to town, Rocking around the Christmas tree, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, Here comes the Santa Claus, Do they know it’s Christmas, Frosty the snowman, Feliz navidad, Silent night, White Christmas, Pretty paper, Winter wonderland, Frosty the snowman, Christmas auld lang syne, Silver bells, Merry Christmas all, Have yourself a merry little Christmas, Mistletoe and holly, Hark! The herald angels sing, O holy night, What child is this, Ding dong merrily on high, Joy to the world, O little town of Bethlehem and The first noel are some of the famous catchy, unforgettable, melodious Christmas carols, which we hear year after year, but never get bored of them, and still like to hear them over and over again during the season. One unique feature of these above carols is many singers have sung them in different styles using various music arrangements. Christmas songs were done in classical, pop, country and western, reggae, calypso, rock, jazz, oriental and western styles.

English artistes

Jim Reeves, Elvis Presley, Carpenters, Cristy Lane, Anne Murray, Usha Uthup, Neil Diamond, Nana Mouskourie, Engelbert Humperdink, Boney M, Barbara Mandel, Kenny Rogers, Slade, Paul MacCartney, Bobby Helms, TLC, Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Jackson 5, Bruce Springsteen, Bing Crosby, Brenda Lee, Band Aid, Gene Autry, Jose Feliciano, Barbara Streisand, The Drifters, Roy Orbison, Aretha Franklings , Johnny Mathis, Denise Montana, Frank Sinatra and George Michael are some of the artistes who have released Xmas albums in the days gone by.

Christmas instrumental makers

Many artistes have done scintillating toe-tapping Christmas instrumentals on keyboards, saxophone, guitar or as a band. Paul Mauriat and Orchestra, James Last Band, Booker T and the MG’s, Greg Veil, The Ventures, Starlite Orchestra, Mantovani Orchestra, Ray Hamilton, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Bob Kames, Ray Wiggins, The Nashville Guitars, Bill Dogget, Francisco Benitez, Stanley Samuel, Steven Wiseman, Arthur Fielder, Charlie Layton, Chris Baker and Ace Cannon are some of them.

Sinhala xmas songs

In Sinhala too there are numerous popular Xmas songs. Muthu muthu, Gawa halakai Jesu upanne, Kalakata pera, Bethlehem pure, Seetha sulangae pawenava, Kiri bilinda , Jesu bilinda , Judeyawe siriyawai ,Bindu bindu,Tharaka hinahuna, Kawudo kawudo,Jesu divindune, Re madiyam re yame,Tharu didulana,Dinaka parani gamaka,Juda pure, Nisala rayake, Patasarungal, Gava patavun, Midival pokure, Dawasak bethleheme, Seethalen peni, Mihiri naththale, Rae tharu babalenawa, Rae tharu, Seenu hadin, Loketa denna beda, Ranwan tharuwak ahase babalenawa, Samaye kurullo, Sudata sude, Supun senden kirana galanne, Naththal da seethe reka, Api sithan pathana, Akasaye tharu mal, Sisil sulan pave, Pulun wage, Ronata wadina bingu obai, Bethleheme ada ra upanna, Gopalu daruwane, Ko nene ennako, Sili sili diya reli, Ale dole vile and , Naththal preethi saadeni are some of them.

Sinhala singers

Mariazelle Gunatilake, Sohan Weerasinghe, Edward Jayakodi, Victory Super Set, Chandana Liyanaarachchi, Jaliya Ranathunga, Rookantha Gunathilake, Sanath Nandasiri, Anil Bharathi, Reymond Fonseka, Sisil Fernando, Jagath Fernando, Clarence Wijewardena, Annesly Malewana, National Youth Service Council, Shirly Vyjayantha Gunasinghe, Dharmarathna Brothers, Chitra Somapala, Latha Walpola, Ivor Dennis , Indrani Perera, Gypsies, Corrine Almeida, Rajive Sebastian, Iona de Silva and a host of other local singers and bands have recorded Xmas numbers during the past forty five years. In the local scene too there are so many seasonal instrumental albums were released from time to time. Lakshman Ranasinghe, Ranjith Dias and many more have done toe-tapping, tuneful Christmas instrumentals during the past.

Tamil Christmas songs and singers

Thooya nagaram bethlemil, Malargal Yavum padaiththa kaigal, Unnada devanukke magimai, Adi Kalayil palani thedi, margali madam, namakku oru palan pirandar, beththaliyil pirandavarai, Ravin jothi natchathiram, Karthare varum, Jeya jeya jeya thooya rathtiri, Aadi thiru vaarthai, and Kanni mariyen madithanile are only a few tamil Christmas songs from a repertoire of more than thousand popular hits.

The above scintillating songs and many others were sung by Nadaraja Mudaliyar, Sathya Sisters, A.E. Manoharan, Saththiya Vasanam Singers, Alwin Thomas, Jolly Abraham, Vipulanandamoorthy, Walter Jeyaraja and a host of reputed singers.

Interesting facts

It is quite interesting to know the facts and additional details about a particular song or album. For example musical accompaniment for majority of Christmas songs by Kalasuri Latha Walpola, the most sought after play back singer of the Sinhala silver screen was by saxophone wizard Stanly Peiris, formerly of the Sri Lanka Navy and the fabulous Fortunes. The much popular Xmas number, Bethlehem pure was written by veteran lyricist Karunaratna Abeysekara and put to music by versatile musician Clarence Wijewardena, who was also known as the father of Sinhala pop music. It was first recorded on the famous Lotus label owned by James Sirinivasan by the original Golden Chimes featuring Anil Bharathi in the early seventies. ‘Christmas with Clarence’ was a seasonal album by maestro Clarence Wijewardena and the supremely talented Super Golden Chimes in the mid seventies. The much respected Catholic priest Kalasuri Fr. Marceline Jayakody, who incidentally won theRamon Magsaysay Award in 1983 and Clarence wrote the lyrics for the four songs of this album, while Clarence himself arranged the music for this EP record. Interestingly this particular Xmas album was given away as prize for the winners of a competition, which was sponsored by the children’s page of a popular Sunday newspaper (Sunday Observer) in mid seventies.

This four unforgettable seasonal songs were later included in a cassette containing 14 songs titled Thushara Bindu, which was produced by Vijaya Ramanayake for Tharanga records. Jesu Bilinda by Indrani Perera, the nightingale of Sinhala pop music was written by Karunaratne Abeysekara, the famous broadcaster, poet and songwriter. Master music maker Clarence Wijewardena did the needful in terms of melody/music. This Xmas song was included in an EP record produced by Mod Spot, Keyzer Street, Pettah in the late seventies and musical backing for this EP was by Clarence and the Super Golden Chimes.


Local record and cassette producers such as Tharanga International , Singlanka, Torana and various others have produced several Xmas albums by various artistes from time to time in the good old days and some of them are continuing to do so even now. And finally Compliments of the Season and a Happy New Year to all! May all your wishes come true during this wonderful Season!

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