The Legend

Pandith Amaradeva (1927–2016), born Wannakuwattawaduge Don Albert Perera, was an esteemed and highly influential Sri Lankan musician. He was born in the coastal village of Koralawella to a gifted Buddhist carpenter, Wannakuwattawaduge Don Ginoris Perera and his Methodist wife, Balapuwawaduge Maggie Wesliana Mendis. He grew up with four brothers an two sisters in a multi-religious home full of music, and often enjoyed going to the sea to listen to fishermen’s chants.

He later reflected upon the rustic simplicity of rural life in his songs which were full of musical and literary allusions to traditional Sinhalese culture, in combination with other musical forms from East and West. He explored Sri Lanka’s musical heritage, and was also inspired by his wife Wimala Amaradeva, herself a gifted folk singer and dancer. He is loved by Sri Lankan music connoisseurs for his contribution to Art Song (Sarala Gee), as well as the music he produced for films, ballets and stage dramas. Many people have been captivated by his lilting melodies and soulful voice. His songs have become classics, and he has been awarded many prestigious national and international honours such as the Magsaysay, Padmashree and Sri Lankabhimanya or “Pride of Sri Lanka” awards.


Little About My Career
  • The title of Sri Lankabhimanya highest national honor award by the Government of Sri Lanka posthumously in 2017
  • Officier (officer) of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) from the French government (2003)
  • Padma Sri Award from India (2002)
  • The Ramon Magsaysay Award of the Philippines (2001)
  • Title of Deshamanya from the Government of Sri Lanka (1998)
  • Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from University of Peradeniya (1998)
  • Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters(Honoris Causa) from University of Ruhuna(1993)
  • Honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Fine Arts) Honoris Causa from University of Kelaniya (1991)
  • Title of Kala Keerthi from the Government of Sri Lanka (1986)