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For the love of music - Felix Anton Perera
Jun 29, 2017
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For the love of music Felix Anton

 

Despite being in his sixties, Felix Anton does not look his age much owing to music. Anton earned reputation for the songs he composed and sang over time. Felix Anton heads his own advertising company, though he has not given up on music altogether. But music is not the only territory he roamed in.

 

Q: What was your initial influence for music?

 

A: My childhood was spent in church singing hymns. At home, I joined the family prayers. Music was there. The rhythm was there. There was hardly anything for me to learn. I grew up with that rhythmic music. At school, however, I do not remember singing on stage. But in the classroom, that was a different story. I was a well-accepted singer among my classmates.

 

I went to several schools: Matugama first, St Mary’s next and finally St Benedict’s college in 1963. Vijaya Kumaranatunga, Ravindra Randeniya and Milroy Dharmaratne were in my batch. Now you can imagine what kind of a classroom it could have been.

 


Q: You already knew music is going to be your chosen destination?

 

A: Not really. I was hanging around. I went to Polytechnic to learn to type. The Savoy Cinema was the adjoining building. So I developed a habit of watching all the films there. I was fond of Sinhala films. I could catch any melody and sing the song in my own way. Simply speaking, I used to sing like a parrot.

 

Q: How did you get the chance to broadcast your first song?

 

A: In 1969, I forwarded an application to Radio Ceylon following a Gazette notification. I was posted as an Operations Assistant.

 

Along with me were Gunadasa Kapuge, W Jayasiri, Daya Tennekoon and a host of graduates. After 10 years, I was promoted to the position of Programme Producer. I had the opportunity to work under Sugathapala de Silva and Dayananda Gunawardena.

 

While all this was underway, Premakeerthi de Alwis penned ‘Netha Pinana Rusiru Watha Obe’. M K Roksamy composed the melody. I was slowly moving on to ‘Sulan Rella Lesa Hama Emi’ penned by Karunaratne Abeysekera.

 

That became a hit in no time. I remember that was the early sixties, when Indian music monopolised the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.

 

Rev Leenus Mendis encouraged me to sing with Rukmani Devi music provided by Stanley Peiris. That was ‘Nilambare Kelum Pipee’, my third song. I was a bit hesitant to sing with Rukmani Devi, I remember.

 

Q: Your participation in radio dramas must be owing to your permanent posting at the corporation.

 

A: Yes, correct. I played a number of characters. One major character was Aravinda Aiya in ‘Pahan Tharuwa’. That was famous in 1960s.

 

The children and adults used to commend me on the road. One little boy said because he wanted to follow that story. With me were Kusum Peiris, Nelson Peiris and Malkanthi Nandasiri.

 

I also contributed as a dubbing artiste in ‘Sathya Grahanaya’ film. I dubbed for Richard de Soysa.

 

I acted in ‘Neva Gilunath Ban Choon’ with Malani Fonseka, ‘Malsara Doni’ with Geetha, ‘Nommara 17’ with Vijaya Kumaranatunge and TV dramas like ‘Hiruta Muwawen’ and ‘Sandungira Gini Gani’.

 

Q: You have shown talent in various fields. Do you think, you receive due recognition?

 

A: I suppose so. In 2014, I was awarded Kalabhooshana. A few days ago, the SLBC felicitated me and launched my CD. President Maithripala Sirisena graced that occasion.

 

Q: Behind you is a history of four decades. You will certainly have quite a lot of unforgettable memories.

 

A: There are many, of course. Recently I went to Nuwara Eliya for a music performance. Believe me, I could not get into the stage because of the crowds gathered around me.

 

There were at least 100 girls who wanted me to sign their autographs. Some of them were taking photographs with me. Because I was late for the stage, the one next to me in the agenda went on to the stage. He started singing, but could not go on. The wooden plank split and the singer fell down. That was a narrow escape. He was admitted into hospital.

 

Q: What do you believe in?

 

A: As Shakespeare says ‘music is the food of love’. Enjoy it. It is a sort of a meditation and forget your worries.

 

courtesy : daily news Malathi Perera