Remembering Karunaratne Abeysekera of Radio Ceylon

Publishers in Colombo are poised to reprint the poetry books and
stories for children written by the legendary Sri Lankan lyricist, Karunaratne
Abeysekera who died in 1983.

Karunaratne Abeysekera holds the national record for a lyricist in Sri Lanka –
he wrote over 2,000 lyrics. His compositions are still being covered by Sri
Lankan musicians on the island and around the world. He was a man of many
talents – as well as being a gifted lyricist, Karunaratne Abeysekera was a
broadcaster, compere, a dialogue writer for films and television programs, the
first ever Sinhala cricket commentator and a writer of poetry and children’s
stories.He has written songs for world class Sri Lankan musicians like Nanda Malini,
H.R.Jothipala, Mignonne Fernando and translated the Nimal Mendis hit, ‘Master
Sir’ into Sinhala. It is now a timeless classic, held up as a gem of a song.

Karunaratne Abeysekera came to prominence as a teenage broadcaster on a
children’s radio program called ‘Lama Pitiya.’ He was only 15 years old
when he joined the program presented by ‘Siri Aiya.’ Abeysekera joined the panel
of broadcasters of Radio Ceylon in 1950. He was sent to London in 1958 and
received training from the BBC.

He was a dominant figure in Sinhala broadcasting in Sri Lanka. He lead the field
as a lyricist – Karunaratne Abeysekera was a master of the Sinhala Language. He
enjoyed iconic status as a broadcaster and was extremely popular with the
masses. The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation named Studio 5 after the great

Karunaratne Abeysekera was born in a little village called Ratmale, near the
town of Matara, on the 3rd of June 1930. He was educated at a leading Colombo
school – Nalanda. He contributed to the success of Radio Ceylon, the oldest
radio station in South Asia. The station ruled the airwaves in the 1950s and
1960s in the Indian sub-continent.

Karunaratne Abeysekera won the Sarasaviya Awards in Sri Lanka for his
compositions. His songs, his words, his poems still live on in the hearts and
minds of the people of Sri Lanka.