Sunil Shantha, the son of Baddha Liyanage Don Pemyanu and Kurugamage Engalthina, was born on 14 April, 1915 at the Pamunugama, Ja Ela. When he was born, he was called as Joseph John and he had one elder brother and one elder sister. Unfortunately, both of his parents passed away when he was 02 years old and then he was looked after by his uncle and his grandmother. From Dehiyagatha College, he started his primary studies and then he was able to enter to the Mount Calvary College – Galle, for further studies.
After School Life of Sunil Shantha
When he was 16 years old, he was able to pass the school leaving certificate examination as the first in the island and was awarded the Weerarathne award. In 1933, he had a training at Maggona Catholic Teaching School also. After that, in 1936 Sunil Shantha joined to Mount Calvary College – Galle as a Trainee Teacher for Sinhala, Arts and Music subjects. In 1939, he went to Shanthi Niketan – India for studying Kathakali and Manipuri dancing and Rawindra Music. In addition to that, he studied Sinhala Jana Gee and Wannam also. Then, he enrolled at Bathkanda University – Lucknow for studying “Northern Indian Music” and he was able to get his Visharadha degree as the first in the first division in Sitar and vocals. After his degree, he came back to Sri Lanka and joined for teaching at St. Anthoney’s College – Rakwana as the Grade B teacher. Apart from Indian music, to make our own Sri Lankan music, he worked hard for 09 years since 1945.
In 1949, Sunil Shantha was asked to sing for “Radio Ceylon” as a foremost singer. But due to have the argument with Prof. Rathnajayankar and the government, about categorizing musicians, he was banned from Radio Ceylon. After that, he wed Mudiyanselage Mary Josephine Bernadette Leelawathi and had 04 children. In 1965, again he joined to Radio Ceylon but it was not succeed as before. He was a renowned and influential Sri Lankan composer, singer and lyricist. Some of his popular songs are; Olu Pipila Wila Lela Denawa, Diya Goda Sema Thena Kiri Ithire, Mihikatha Nalawa and Lanka Lanka Pembara Lanka.
Page Title; Sunil Shantha / Sri Lankan Composer-Singer-Lyricist
Description; Sunil Shantha was a great Sri Lankan composer, singer as well as a lyricist and Olu Pipila Wila Lela Denawa is one of his popular songs.