Sunil ThenabaduNihal Nelson has been in the limelight of our music arena for over five decades possessing a deep bass strong voice which is a a rare singing voice, With self-confident, passion ,innate talent, commitment, patience, determination having the ability to accept criticism and rejection. Nihal like other singers tend to be a predominantly artistic individual, meaning that he is all the time creative not at all in a hurry having patience to learn allowing for self-expression. He is innovative, which means that he is usually quite a natural performer self-learning all the time without any mentor after his humble beginning. It is purely Nihal’s innate skill which he possesses for his singing capacity which is sans any hereditary affiliations.   

Nihal Nelson  the singing prodigy able to sing pop, soul, balia, rhythm and blues ,born on 9th January 1946 commenced a career in singing in year 1963 is continuing in the same vein even stronger to date.Nihal Nelson in addition to be singing prodigy is also a Sri Lankan songwriter and music composer. One of the most authoritative singers in Sri Lanka considered the ‘undefeated and unconquered  on the concert stage’ Nihal proudlyl holds the record for the most albums recorded by a Sri Lankan artist with an unbeleivable 117 albums in the annals of music history in Sri Lanka which number in very unlikely would not be surpassed . 

Nihal was  father was a businessman and mother was an English teacher, had commenced his primary education at Innocent Maria Mixed school which was lately renamed as Rawatawatta Methodist College .Nihal has had his secondary education after passing Grade 8 at Moratu Vidyalaya where he had completed Advanced Level in year 1960 at which time he had given attention to music as he had possessed innate talent  without any hereditary affiliations from, family.Nihal tied the nuptial knot with Malini Sriyalatha in May 1974.The duo has one son Kanchana Tharanga born in January 1978.>Kanchana has inherited hereditary affiliations to father Nihal’s aptitudes is employed as a radio sound administrator. 

 Kanchana is married to Gayani.  Nihal’s wife  Malini very sadly  died in July 2020 after a brief illness which was a huge loss to Nihal for his progress in life. Nelson was a very popular and a sought after singer on school stages as well as in Moratuwa area as a singer. However, he had to enhance his music knowledge in an attempt to storm into  the music world. During this period, he met Sarath Munasinghe ,currently a monk, Meegahawela Sumanashantha Ther, who had been a popular lyricist written  many songs in his early days. In 1962, he had met popular musician A.J.Kareem during a wedding. Kareem introduced Nelson to popular composer R. A. Chandrasena. Nelson’s first recording of Lassanata Pipunu Wanamal written by Munasinghe was released on a EP on March 31, 1963 under the guidance of  music maestro RAChandrasena. Later he joined with Kandy lake club with Chandrasena where many popular vocalists had begun singing careers.Lately he had sung to his own lyrics and to that of Hemasiri Halpita and Vernon Perera both close associates also musician Lal Thenabadu. 

He was one among the first Sri Lankan vocalists to release a cassette in 1978 with Gune Ayyage Kamare cassette. The release was on Wijaya Ramanayake’s Tharanga label who was the pioneer to introduce the format to Sri Lanka. Nelson was also among the first to release a compact disc in the later years] 

Nelson’s hundred and tenth album Nihal 110 Dot Com was completed  in 2000. It was recorded at Sunflowers Studios in Mahawewa, Chilaw with the music conduction and direction by  Neil Warnakulasuriya to the music  of the popular Sunflowers. Nihal  Nelson is still singing on the concert stage  consecutively in an unblemished  career spanning  55 years. 

Nihal voice was identified as possessing a screen voice as a playback singer for many films. His maiden playback singing came through the film Pem Kurullo with the song “Kasii Basili Na”.the lyrics  was written by Chandradasa Fernando and the music was composed by Tony Weeratunga. Then he  sang playback successfully for the films Sakvithi SuwayaLoka HoruRodayaHari Yanakota Ohoma ThamaiSanda Wata RantharuLoku ThaththaMal WarusaValampuri and Diyamanthi. He also sang a song called Hitha Honda Minihage for legendary Gamini Fonseka. 

On the  15 March 2013, a “50 years old in his singing career, “Nihal Awith” concert was held at the Musaeus College Auditorium to celebrate his 50 years of singing career. In  year 2015, Nelson was awarded the ‘Moratupura Ratnavibhushana’ award.The 117 albums were released under DKRS,Nilwala, Tharanga and Torana labels, all prestigious institutions .These include a number of non-stop old hits.In year 2021 April Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation telecast a show “Nihal Nelson Gee Awarjana” for one and half hours live program.Nihal Nelson has been invited to several new year dances to sing too and a variety of concerts. 

In January on the 9th  2021, it was made public  that a street will be named after the veteran singer for the services rendered to music particularly as the vocalist with most number of  albums released a number which no one could possibly achieve . The third lane of his hometown, Rawathawatte, Moratuwa  was named as Nihal Nelson Lane a very appropriate reward to him by the  related authorities. 

During the period of over fifty years in the music arena the number of indoor and outdoor concerts he had participated  even Nihal cannot account for.Also he had participated in many overseas countries perhaps in every western county , middle East, Australia where Sri Lankan communities are domiciled.Nihal Nelson is regularly invited to appear in all television channels which he accepts to participate sans any hesitation. 

The number of songs he had sung is massive.Some of the popular that comes to one’s mind are: Kiridunne Daruwantai, Kawadi Baila, Salli Mitiganan,Kukku Kook Ku, Kuththu Rotiya,Mini Gawma,Lassanata Pipunu Wana Mal,Baila Wendesiya, Amma Nethi Kale, Arapan Karame,Kota Kalisama,Somiya etc….the list will go on and on….In this context there is no doubt that Nihal Nelson is the most popular vocalist ever produced in the annals of the music history having produced 117 albus to date the highest by any vocalist.All fans would wish Nihal Nelson to continue in the same vein to entertain the music masses in Sri Lanka as he has not lost any sting and vigour. 


Sunil Thenabadu in Brisbane

e mail sthenabadu@hotmail com

whatsApp 0061444533242 

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