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One of his early songs "Enna Mada Nale Gos Pavasanna Duka Mage"

which meant: (come mild wind and convey my sad feelings), speaks of a lover sending a message through the mind to his beloved living far away.


Karunaratne Abeysekera -

Early Years


Karunaratne Abeysekera was born on June 3 1930 in Ratmale near Matara in Southern Sri Lanka. He was educated at Nalanda College in Colombo. He was discovered by the children's radio programme Lama Pitiya (            - "Children's Field") hosted by U. A. S. Perera (Also known as Siri Aiya - Siri Perera Q.C) and broadcast over Radio Ceylon, the oldest radio station in South Asia. Lama Pitiya (            ) was a showcase for young talents, and Abeysekera performed with his poems on the Radio Ceylon programme in the 1940s. He was an instant hit with the general public and remained a pop icon until his death.

A Teenage Broadcaster


Abeysekera was a pioneering Sinhala broadcaster. He was a rare breed, a "teenage broadcaster" launching a broadcasting career with Radio Ceylon, which he joined in 1950 at the age of 20. In 1958 he was sent to London for specialist broadcasting training with the BBC. Studio 5 of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation has been named after him.



Abeysekera was an announcer, compeer, lyricist, dialogue writer, and poet - he also wrote children's stories. He worked very closely with another famous broadcaster, Vernon Corea. It was one of the most productive radio partnerships in Sri Lanka.



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In his songs there is an element of sadness. When in another song he sings; "Mage Desama Piyavi Yanne, Obe Rupayamai Diswanne" (My eyes are closing and your image alone is seen), what he tries to express is the love that had been shattered. Most of the songs he wrote are heard everyday, proving his popularity among the listeners because of the words that evoked feelings among both the young and the old. One of his early songs "Enna Mada Nale Gos Pavasanna Duka Mage" which meant: (come mild wind and convey my sad feelings), speaks of a lover sending a message through the mind to his beloved living far away. In another, " Oruwaka Pavena Re Gana Andure, Thotiyeki Ma Me Seethala Wature", he speaks of a ferryman longing for his dear one's affections. It is his lamentation for the love now in separation.
Most of Karu's songs were set to Tamil and Hindi tunes taken from popular films made in India. They were imitative songs but cleverly wrote his words without damaging the lyrical aspect of the songs. The popular singers of his time, H.R. Jothipala and J. A. Milton Perera, sang most of his songs. Even Milton Mallawarachchi became known because of Karunaratne Abeysekera's songs which stirred the imagination of the young people.
His song; "Ipida Mare Yali Ipide Nothira Sasara Sagare" in the Daskama, showed the qualities of a poet in him.
He won the coveted Sarasaviya Award on two separate occasions for his songs. The Government of Sri Lanka named a road after him in Colombo.

Pioneer Sinhala Cricket Commentator

Abeysekera made history in the world of radio by being the first cricket commentator using the Sinhala language. He commentated on matches played by Ceylon against visiting English, Indian and Australian teams from the 1950s to the 1970s. He also commentated on local cricket matches. He had to devise cricket terminology to describe cricketing actions - this was uncharted territory in Sinhala; his words to describe various aspects of cricket are used to this day.

This article was prepared with the help of Wikipedia and other articles including one from D. B. Kappagoda.
Henry Jayasena, Stanley Jayasinghe, Gunadasa Amarasekera, Chitrananda Abeysekera and Ridgeway Thilakaratne are his contemporaries at Nalanda. All of them have reached heights in one field or the other. Chitrananda and Ridgeway were both in the same class with Karunaratne at Nalanda. Interestingly, Siri Aiya was their Sinhala teacher. Chitrananda and Karunaratne joined together to work for Lama Pitiya and also later at Radio Ceylon. They both composed songs for movies (some times for the same movie), they both were poets, Radio commentators (they both have given live commentary sometimes on the same event). So much so, Sri Lankans thought they were brothers, in reality they were not even related.