Vernon Corea and Ernest Ignatius of ‘I Married a Female Wrestler’ fame


Vernon Corea of Radio Ceylon - photograph taken in the 1960s.

Ernest Ignatius first met Vernon Corea in the 1960s at Radio Ceylon

Ernest Ignatius was a rising young Anglo-Indian singer/songwriter in the 1960s – he was born in Goa and was a cabaret artiste in India. In 1969 Ernest Ignaitus released what was to be his all time hit ‘I Married a Female Wrestler.’ In the 1960s Radio Ceylon was ‘King of the Airwaves,’ so any song played over the radio station became an instant hit. Radio Ceylon was THE hit machine in South Asia and many Indian artistes sent demo copies to the station situated in what was known as Torrington Square in Colombo-7.

Having released ‘I married a Female Wrestler’ in India, Ignatius flew down to Colombo in the hope that Radio Ceylon would play his record. Ernest Ignatius visited the station and was introduced to Vernon Corea – they went into a studio to listen to the record. Vernon could sense a hit and he just loved ‘I Married A Female Wrestler.’ He recorded an interview with Ignatius and played the song. He then gave the song repeated airplay on the Commercial Service and on the All Asia Service of Radio Ceylon. ‘I Married A Female Wrestler,’ was beamed back to India and millions of listeners tuned into Vernon Corea’s radio programmes – the song was a huge hit in South Asia and it remains in the memories of so many South Asians even those now living as far afield as the United States, the United Kingdom and even Australia – thanks to Vernon Corea and Radio Ceylon.

Ernest Ignatius visited Vernon Corea's home at 5 Maha Nuge Gardens in Colombo-3

His family recall that Vernon invited Ernest Ignatius home to dinner to 5 Maha Nuge Gardens, Colombo-3. That evening Ernest sang ‘I Married A Female Wrestler’ to the Corea Family,  no band, just his voice. Vernon’s family were thrilled to hear it first hand, in their home.

Many years later when Vernon joined the BBC he met Ernest Ignatius in London.

Radio Ceylon had ensured that ‘I Married A Female Wrestler’ spiralled upwards as a massive pop hit right across South Asia such was the popularity of the radio station.

Ignatius went on to become a star in the United Kingdom, acting in ‘The Bill,’ ‘Hotel Babylon,’ appearing in Cilla Black’s ‘Surprise, Surprise’ on British Television and starring in Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s ‘Bombay Dreams,’ in the West End.

Here are the lyrics to the Ernest Ignatius hit, ‘I Married A Female Wrestler’ his all time classic hit:

I Married a Female Wrestler

I’ ve married a female wrestler
As massive as can be,
She had bulging muscles,
Which quite facinated me.

She said she loved me truly
But also said by heck,
If I ever catch you fooling around
I’ll break you loving neck.

Ahy ahy yo, what shall I do,
How shall I save my skin,
I have married a FW
Now look the mess I’m in.

Sometimes to show affection,
She takes me on her lap,
She hugs me just little bit,
I feel my bones will snap,

Sometimes she hugs and kisses me,
Until I’m out of breath,
Oh my goodness, I’m afraid
She’ll strangle me to death.

Chorus.. Ahy ahy yo……. mess I’m in.

One day we were invited
To a fancy dressing ball,
She came dressed as Darah Singh,
We wrestled thro the hall,

We wrestled through the fox trot
I was powerless to resist,
we wrestled through the tango,
But I fainted in the Twist.

To make things worse I have fallen
For the pretty girl next door,
She is skinny but I love her like I never loved before

But If my wife should find out
The thought just makes me rave,
My friends you’ll have to buy some flowers
And put them on my grave.


Listen to the original version, now on You Tube, the song was first played on Radio Ceylon by Vernon Corea and sung by the Goan star Ernest Ignatius:

A Sri Lankan musician, Chandimal and his group ‘Southern Connection’ have also released a version of ‘I Married A Female Wrestler’ – on You Tube.

Even to this day the song is being played over the airwaves of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).


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