A Review by Sunil De Silva, Former Attorney General - Sri Lanka

Can law and music travel together ?  ‘No’ said Alagiyawanna Mukaveti in the Subashithaya, ‘Lovin Ekek Eka Deyakata wei Samatha’ [one person in this world can master one subject] Wenin Anik Deyakata Anikek Samatha’  [another may excel in another] Godin navath diyen rathayath noyanu atha [a ship does not travel on land and a chariot does not travel on water]

Over the years Maithri displayed his outstanding expertise in the field of law both as a practitioner and a University lecturer. His record is too well known for me to paint or guild the lily by listing his distinguished achievements. The partnership of a prestigious law firm speaks for itself.

The amphibious maestro Maithri Panagoda, then blew Alagiyawanne’s prophesy out of the water by showcasing his virtuosity in the field of music and poetry by mesmerising a capacity crowd at the Ryde Civic Centre on the afternoon of Sunday the 14th of October.

The occasion was launching of two CD’s – MAHAMER SE [25 songs] and LA HIRU RAS [14 songs] and 40 poems in the book HADA MUMUNANA HANDA.

The 400 plus seats at the Ryde Civic Centre Hall were packed by 2:00 p.m. the scheduled starting time but more turned in as the event progressed.

The quality of the lyrics in the CD Mahamera Se could be garnered from the stature of the singers who rendered the lyrics in song – Pandit Amradeva, Prof Sananth Nandasiri, Dr Nanda Malini, Visharada Jajagath Wickremesinghe, Dr Victor Ratnayake, T.M.Jayaratne, Visharada Neela Wickremesinghe, all household names in Sinhala music. A recording of a review by late Pandit Amaradeva and Dr Rohana Weerasinghe was played on the screen at the event.

The compere Asela de Mel fluently called up the mix of individual singers cleverly coordinated by Kitsiri Karunanrtne handling the flow of images from the CD launch on 11 July at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in Colombo, and mixing the electronic inputs from Colombo and the vocal and instrumental backing generated by Agra Premaratne.

The coordination was so smooth that on the occasion a duet was sung by a singer on the stage and blended with the singer from a recording rendered electronically, that had you shut your eyes, your ears would have convinced you that both singers were on the stage.

The Mahamera Se compliation of Maithri’s lyrics was ably rendered by the singers Dulip Jayakody, Lalith Kalupahana, Sachintha Panagoda, Samanmali Jayasuriya, Upul de Silva, Pradeep Vass Gunewardena, Aruna Kannangara, Prasadika Wickremarachchi and Indu Prematilleke.

Some songs from the children’s songs contained in the Lahiru Ras compilation of Maithri’s lyrics sung by the students of  Visharada Anuradha Nandasiri  of the Ghandari Institute of Music were played on the screen. Muthuhara Childrens’ Choir sang “Hiru Mala Hinahenawa”.

Poems or Kavi from collection Hada Mumunana Handa  - [chords that stir the heart] were tunefully rendered by Vijay Hapukotuwa. This book was the second publication by Maithri following “Wasnatha Udanyak Nova” in 1975. It is reported that a reader who had gathered the humanitarian approach and concern that motivated Maithri to compose the publication had responded with a poem of her own.

The astute reader had foreshadowed the pro bono legal services provided by Maithri to indigent and disadvantaged litigants that is acknowledged in the last poem ‘varadi panayaki’ [you have asked me the wrong question when you inquired about the earnings amassed overseas; you should have asked me about how privileged I was to be able to help the poor, helpless, women of the street, drunkards, beggars, prisoners, refugees and indigenous community in their legal matters. Their gratitude is my reward]

Maithri certainly deserved the Order of Australia, the highest civilian honour awarded in Australia for his services in the legal arena.

The presentation by Hiran Kulatilleke rounded off a most enjoyable afternoon.

Click here to view photos from the event by Roy Grafix



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