He wasn’t large in stature, but he would stand there in the centre of his musical group known as the “La Ceylonians”, over-large straw hat on his head, simple open-necked shirt, with the inevitable sarong, generally worn by most Sri Lankans and barefoot, clutching either an acoustic guitar or a banjo-mandolin and singing songs, many of which he wrote himself. 

Noel Ranasinghe was his name, and he came into prominence in the early 60s.

I did read a couple of stories about the La Ceylonians and was quite amazed to read that Noel and his group entertained audiences in many parts of the World. He actually promoted this Calypso type Baila more than several other bands did, in Ceylon at the time.

I happened to see Tharuna Jeewithe’ Ape’ Vinodayen on you-tube, quite by chance and decided to publish this great song on e’Lanka, dedicating it, in fact, to Noel who passed on aged 73, after a fairly long illness in 2015. 

Rest in peace, Noel. I was not privileged to meet you in person, having left for Australia in 1961.

Your music, together with the La Ceylonians will always be popular with thousands of your fans, so rest easy, my friend. If you are a Sri Lankan, this song should bring back many memories. The presentation as a whole, is superb.

Desmond Kelly

      Desmond Kelly.
(Editor-in-Chief) e’Lanka.

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