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Sri Lankan music legend Pandit Amaradeva passes away

Sri Lankan music legend Pandit Amaradeva passes away

Pandit Amaradeva was considered to be the grand old man of Sri Lankan music. PHOTO: R.K. RADHAKRISHNAN

Legendary Sri Lankan singer and composer Pandit Amaradeva, recipient of many international honours, including Padma Shri, for his contribution to music, died on Thursday after an heart attack. He was 88.

Pandit Amaradeva, born Wannakuwatta Waduge Don Albert Perera, was rushed to Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital here after suddenly falling ill. He died shortly after, the ColomboPage reported.

Unmatched contribution

The music composer drew inspiration from classical Indian ragas as well as Sri Lanka’s own rich traditions of folk music and went on to create a music that is quintessentially Sri Lankan. His contribution to the development of Sinhala music is considered unmatched.

The musician has been the recipient of several awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award (2001), Padma Shri (2002) and Sri Lankan President’s Award of Kala Keerthi (1986) and Deshamanya Award (1998).

President Maithripala Sirisena condoled the musician’s death on Twitter, saying “Maestro Amaradeva, it has been an honour to have you in our lives. May you attain Nibbana.”

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is currently touring Hong Kong, described the musician as a “symbol of Sri Lankan classical music.”

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