Shiromi of “Kondanamagena” fame, 50 years celebrity in Canada by Sunil Thenabadu
The child singing prodigy Shiromi Fernando, born in year 1960 ‘Baby Shiromi” celebrity domiciled in Canada is planning to commemorate her golden milestone in singing since coming to fame in year 1971 with her ‘kondenamagena’ song recorded for the Sooriya label. The lyrics and music compositions of this song and three other songs ‘Amma Pembara Amma’,’Sakala Bujan”,and Handa Haami’ recorded together in a disc under famous Soorya label which were sold then, as hot cakes at the Children’s book shop.
This was a feather in the cap for the eleven year old Shiromi as her disc was grabbed by music enthusiasts when in the same era with discs of songs sung by then famous artistes reminiscing, The Moonstones, Dharmaratne Brothers.Mendis Foursome,Golden Chimes,Samanalayo,La Bambas,Three Sisters,Spit Fires, esteemed individual artistes like MS Fernando,Paul Fernando,AE Manoharan,Priya Suriyasena,Milton Mallawarachchi,Dalrene Arnolda etc.All of them owe their stardom ,fame in pop music to’Sooriya’.owned by Gerald Wickremasooriya.
Shiromi’s father had died when she was a toddler.She had been brought up by her grand mother Stellar Dharmaratne the founder of renowned Dharmaratne Brothers.It should be quoted that it was Melroy himself a reputed musician and famous lyricist who had not only trained Shiromi in vocals but had written lyrics of all songs sung by her.When she was barely nine years old she had sung in concerts,But as she needed brushing up for two years to record songs. It had been Melroy who was able to groom her at such a delicate age.
Initially the owner of Sooriya had refused to record her songs.By sheer quirk she had got an opportunity to sing ‘kondenamagena’ song at the Radio programme ‘Handamama’.Having observed her vast talent she had been absorbed to sing the programme “Geetha Dhaara’ by Lambert Pemmawadu.This had caused a stirring among the singing audiences. Gerald Wickramasooriya having heard her talent had told Melroy Dharmaratne to compose three more songs with music .Melroy had composed the songs ‘Sakala Bujan,’Pembara Amma’, and ‘Handa Maami’ which were recorded to a ‘Sooriya’ label disc which had been sold briskly.
After marriage Shiromi had migrated to Canada in year 1989.Unfortunately her beloved husband had died of cancer in year 2003.But as a teacher until today. She had been able to bring up her daughter and son who are now both married.It is learned that daughter is following her footsteps which the son owns a DJ who is popular in Canada.Shiromi had been signing in concerts and parties in Canada but owing to Thyroid cancer she had lost her voice.By God;s grace she is now recovered would be performing at the proposed concert to celebrate 50 years of singing.
We Sri Lankans would no doubt wish her for the proposes concert and also good health and longevity….
Sunil Thenabadu in Brisbane.