Sri Lanka loses iconic ‘demigod’ musician

Pandith W.D. Amaradeva performs his final song during a concert in Toronto nearly 10 years ago. (Pix by Mahesh Abeyewardene)

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Sri Lanka’s iconic musician Pandith Amaradewa has died at age 88. Final rites will be conducted with full state honours on Saturday.

“It is immensely difficult to fill the void left by the departed singer who was described as ‘a demigod who is blessed with an immortal soul’ by late professor Ediriweera Sarachchandra,” Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said in a statement today.

“The pioneer musician who was known earlier as WD Albert Perera fused Sri Lankan folk music with Indian musical traditions to enrich our native musical traditions,” he further added.

Pandith Amaradeva's last concert in Toronto was held nearly 10 years ago.

Pandith Amaradeva’s last concert in Toronto was held nearly 10 years ago.

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“He is not only a musician, singer, he is also a person who were conversant in many other languages.”

“When I was studying at Royal, Amaradeva came to teach music at the prestigious school under the guidance of the then principal H.D. Sugathapala.  I was among the few ‘unsuccessful singers’ who learnt from him but I am happy that I got the opportunity of learning under the iconic musician,” Wickremasinghe added.

The Prime Minister conveyed his condolences to his wife Wimala Amaradeva and his children.