Sunil Edirisinghe


He is a singer with a mission. His musical art is not merely or even mainly, a mode of entertainment; it is, above all, a mission, a vehicle of his conscience. His songs deal not only with the themes of love, friendship, family relationships, ethical obligations and ethnic harmony, but even peaceful of revolution. His voice, once a lover's whisper, once a father's kind by advice, and once a true friend's caring always touches the deepest chords of ones' soul.

Born on the December 19th, 1949, Patikirige Sunil Jayapreethi Edirisinghe was the youngest among seven siblings, talented artists. Considering to the likes of Visharada Amaradeva, Sunil Shantha, Ananda Samarakoone, and Rukmani Devi, the pioneering place among the Sinhala singers of the modern age, and to the likes of Visharada Nanda Malini, Victor Ratnayaka, and Sanath Nandasiri, as the representatives of he second generation. Sunil Edirisinghe would most certainly ranks among the leading humanities of music representing the third generation.

On completion of his secondary education, Sunil joined the Government Printing Corporation in 1969. The same year, he embarked on his musical career as a play back singer in the film "Matara Achchi" directed by his illustrious brother Satischandra Edirisinghe. The music director for his first song "Sandakada Pahana" was Victor Ratnayaka while the lyrics were composed by Wally Nanayakkara. Sunil gained instant popularity as a playback singer and soon was in high demand, and has played that role in more than 25 films. In 1975 having graduated with First Class Honors, from "Bhatkande" the famous Academy of Music in India he joined the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation where he soon excelled as a semi classical singer. In 1977 for the first time, four of Sunil's songs were recorded in a CD for which he had Rohana Weerasinghe as the musical director. His fans had the opportunity to enjoy his first complete cassette in the latter half of 1980.

Having over 600 songs to his credit, Sunil Edirisinghe has won a number of "Sarasavi Awards" and was also honored with a Presidential Award in 1983. He has won the "Swarna Sankha Award" on two occasions. In 1985 Sunil launched his own musical show "Sandakada Pahana" with a highly acclaimed and successful tour of six European countries. It has been one of the most popular shows in Sri Lanka, with over 150 shows being held at various locations.

The service rendered by Sunil Edirisinghe to the development of Sinhala music was recognized at the State Music Festival held in 1999. Sunil has always shown a preference for songs with meaningful lyrics, which touch our hearts and go deep down to our soul. Sunil was the youngest in the family, and as such, was a favorite of everyone. During his childhood Sunil lived at Waragoda, Kelaniya, though which area somewhat modernized now, was very much countryside. ďAt that time there was a rubber estate in front of our home, next a paddy field, and then the temple... The Rubber Corporation too was situated very nearby in a large rubber estate. We used to play in the little streams in that estate,...We used to eat fruits found all over those places...We had a wonderful child hood." Sunil remarks. "The Kelani Raja Maha Viharaya was within walking distance from our home. We loved the scene and the peaceful atmosphere surrounding it."

There were several aesthetically inclined members in his family. The eldest, Dharmasiri, was deeply involved in the field of fine arts. His sister Mercy too loved art, and was a music teacher. His brothers Sathis & Nimal too were music lovers. Sunil was always very close to his brothers. As a student of Sri Dharmaloka Vidyalaya, Kelaniya, he used to participate in a lot of singing competitions and other musical events in school, and this pushed him into the forefront of the school's student group, and while yet a youth, he participated in many armature contests as well.

In 1979 Sunil got married to Nandani Munasinghe (Kumudu) whom he had met on one his visit to Kandy to see his sister. "When I first saw her face, I felt a very strong familiarity. But even mere got the chance to talk to her. I knew I had chosen the right partner for myself. I always loved the naturalness and genuineness in people, and I saw it all in". This is the way Sunil refers to the incident.

The first child of the nest of Sunil & Kumudu was born in 1980. The baby boy was named Sankha Chamindra Edirisinghe. His daughter Sankhani Edirisinghe was born in 1985. It was exactly as Sunil & Kumudu wishes for, that their first child was a boy and the second a girl.

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