The Clarence Wijewardena classic hit, ‘Piyaneni’ is on youtube on the Goonewj Channel. Clarence wrote the song as a tribute to Vernon Corea’s father, the late Reverend Canon Ivan Corea. ‘Piyaneni’ went on to become a huge hit across South Asia.
The Sri Lankan music legend, the island’s King of Pop, the late Clarence Wijewardena, composed this massive hit, Piyaneni, in memory of Vernon Corea’s father, the late Reverend Canon Ivan Corea who championed the rights of the poor in Sri Lanka. Reverend Canon Corea was Vicar of St.Luke’s Church Borella and St. Paul’s Church Milagiriya. He worked tirelessly to support the poorest of the poor — the Rodiya Community in Sri Lanka.
Clarence and Annesley Malewana recorded the song in the presence of Vernon Corea at Augie Ranaweera’s recording studio in Bambalapitiya, Colombo, in Sri Lanka in 1972.
Wijewardena used the rhythmic pattern of the Bossa nova for ‘Piyaneni’.In the 1960s Clarence Wijewardena was mentored by the legendary broadcaster of Radio Ceylon, Vernon Corea who helped him to reach the pinnacle of fame in the music world in Sri Lanka. Vernon Corea also played the music of Clarence Wijewardena, Annesley Malewana and the Moonstones not only on his radio programmes on Radio Ceylon, but also on his popular programme ‘London Sounds Eastern’, on BBC Radio London in the late 1970s. He was invited by Clarence to write on a 1970s Lotus LP sleeve. Vernon Corea wrote: “We have all shared the treat of your lovely Lyrics, your tuneful compositions, your friendly presentation and your spontaneous sense of sharing with your followers, your treasury of talent. Keep going, keep growing, keep glowing”.
Reverend Ivan Corea was a much loved priest who worked for the poor in Sri Lanka. Clarence Wijewardena had visited Vernon Corea’s residence in Maha Nuge Gardens in Kolpetty, Colombo in the 1960s and met Reverend Corea prior to his death in 1968. Maha Nuge Gardens was a power house in politics, music, broadcasting and commerce from the 60s and 70s and many distinguished members of Sri Lanka lived there. Vernon Corea lived at No.5 Maha Nuge Gardens.
‘Piyaneni’ went on to become a hit in South Asia. Wijewardena’s partner Annesley Malewana who was a member of the ‘Moonstones’ and the ‘Super Golden Chimes’ has sung ‘Piyaneni’ across the world including London, Melbourne and Los Angeles. Annesley Malewana talked about the hit song ‘Piyaneni’ in a newspaper interview in Colombo, Sri Lanka:
“When we toured England in 1994 to hold musical shows, Vernon Corea who was in England requested me to sing this particular song. When I got on to the stage and started singing Vernon broke down and all of us were moved by this incident. Wherever we go, most people in foreign countries requested me to sing this song. Now I dedicate that song to my late father,” he said.
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