The Gypsies are the Kings of Baila. They, have given Baila a Sri Lankan identity. Their songs such as ‘Linda Langa Sangamaya’, ‘Nona Mage Sudu None’, ‘Lunu Dehi’, ‘Kurumitto’, ‘Oye Ojaye’, ‘Piti Kotapan None’, and ‘Signore” have become some of the best loved songs in Sri Lanka. Melodies features Sunil Perera of the Gypsies who spoke to us about the Baila sensation – the Gypsies.
Perera believes in a force beyond his control. A force that he simply describes as a ‘blessing’.
“We have always had dreams, but I believe the success we have achieved is due to blessings. You may have great talent but without blessings you will not be able to have a stellar career as we the gypsies have had. I believe 100 percent that to be in the limelight, you need to have blessings,” said Perera.
Sunil and his brother, Piyal are the only two surviving members of the original line up. His other brothers left in the mid 70’s and have got involved in other business activities. Due to marriage some had to leave. They are involved in different lines altogether. In 1969, as soon as he left school, Perera joined the Gypsies.
“When I could not continue with my higher studies, there was no other option because I had to find something I could do. Then my father backed me up from there on, because it was he who encouraged us. My father always supported us,” said Perera.
Perera insists whatever success he and his band have experienced, is again because of the blessings he has received. He says you need not do much to achieve that blessing. His father taught them what to do, but Perera believes that the blessing needs to be sustained so one can continue in life.
“Signore’, ‘Oye Ojaye’, ‘Kurumitto’ and ‘Luni Dehi’ were memorable songs that made a tremendous impact on our career and gave us an identity but you can’t really pin point any song that really made our name. So the Gypsies were identified with certain songs. Before doing our original songs we did cover versions of other artistes like Western Artistes – Elvis Presley, Elton John and Beatles. But later on we realized the importance of Sri Lankan music to create an identity for ourselves. That was the breakthrough we had with Sinhala music. We are where we are because of the original versions,” explained Perera.
Perera pointed that Baila is a fun oriented rhythm and here in Sri Lanka people love partying. Baila has that typical party type rhythm that people are looking for. That is why Baila is very popular.
“We are coming out with some new songs and we have many songs in store. So people can listen and enjoy these songs. We are looking forward to these songs. When you have a unique idea to write a song, the lyrics will automatically come to you. You have to have a base. Chandradasa Fernando is our main lyrics writer,” added Perera
When it comes to other artistes Perera enjoys listening to Rookantha, Clarence Wijewardene and lyrics writer Ajantha Ranasinghe. Of course Gypsies have put out many albums.
“We do a lot of dinner dances, so you can’t be playing Baila all the time, because Baila is exclusively for a certain audience. There is other Western Music we are involved in. My message to a young guy or girl who wants to enter the music industry is to try and create something instead of doing cover versions. Create something different to what the others are doing. Then you can get somewhere,” stated Perera.
Perera also commented on the present situation of the country.
“I feel there is a lot that needs to be done. All communities must come together and there should be that love factor. We must love each other regardless of whichever community we come from. As Sri Lankans we are one. We all have equal rights. If we think like that, this country will go far. We must bind all communities together,” advised Perera.
(under the courtesy of dailynews.lk news web)