Priya Suriyasena

Priya Suriyasena

Infobox musical artist
Name = Priya Suriyasena

Img_capt =
Img_size = 164 × 130 pixels
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born = October 27
Died =
Origin = Sri Lanka
Genre = Playback singing, Sri Lankan music
Occupation = Vocalist/ Music Director / Teacher
Years_active = 1972Current

Priya Suriyasena is a Sri Lankan popular vocalist and lecturer in music who embarked his music career as an ‘A’ grade artist through the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) in 1972.

After 30 years of his career, Priya is one of the outstanding and leading singers in Sri Lanka.


M.L.D Priyadharsha Suriyasena Liyanage was born to the parents of an up-country middle-class origin, in Nattandiya in the Chilaw district. His father is late M. L. D Jamis Liyanage and mother is late A.M. Podi Manike. Priya was the only son in a family of three. He had his primary education at Nattandiya Primary School and completed his GCE O/L and A/L at Madampa Central College in Puttalam district.

It is claimed that he got his musical talents from his father who was a great poet in the village. As a student he carried away several prizes after participating in musical programmes, in college and national wise. One of them is UNESCO talent competition in which he won the first prize.

After his A/L from 1968 to 1971 he sat for external exams conducted by the government musical college ‘Heywood’ and obtained a diploma in music. Afterwards he joined the government as a Music Teacher and recorded some of his original songs which were aired in SLBC in 1972. At this stage he shortened his name from Priyadharsha to "Priya".

Rise to Fame

After the very first release of his first four songs Priya became a heartthrob of youngsters in 1970s. His first four songs (‘Sarathasa niwa’, ‘Mata wasana’, ‘Heta davase’ and ‘Andura Andura mage’) were recorded for the corporation in 1972. ‘Andura Andura mage’ was written by Rohana Fernando and ‘Heta davase’, ‘Sarathasa niwa’ and ‘Mata wasana’ by the late veteran lyricist Premakeerthi de Alwis, and the music for all the songs was by Priya himself.

The release of “Sudu Parevi Rena” (hit song) brought Priya up to one of the top singers in 1970s bringing a controversy at the time where the Sri Lankan government prohibited broadcasting the song through radio channels for a period of time.

Priya adds to the Sri Lankan music history as for releasing one of the first music audio cassettes in Sri Lanka under the guidance of Wijewardene under the Tharanga label. His popularity was raised with the Sarasawiya Award for "Kendan Yannam," a song from Sena Samarasinghe's Aethin Aethata (Movie) in 1984.

Due to the popularity of his songs, "Mage Lamada" was selected as the song to be played to welcome Queen Victoria (England) when she visited Sri Lanka in late 1970s. This song was written by Donald Ivan and music by Priya himself.

In 1996 with the album “Sunflowers with Priya”, he brought a new musical generation to the country grossing revenue over Rs. 8 million for the album and becoming the most popular singer in the country. “Sudu Parevi Rena”, “Ratakin Eha”, “Jeewithe Mage”, “Etha Ranviman, “Kendam Yannam”, “Neranjana”, “Mulu Muhudama”, “Pathum Pireela”, “Apasu Enawa”, “Mata Wasana” and “Me Paalu Mawathe” became hits once again with the music of the famous music band “Sunflowers”.

His hit song “Etha ranviman” became the most popular song in 2006, developing controversies between Priya and Sirasa Super Stars.

Career Background

Priya started his career in 1971 as a Music teacher for Kelaniya Gurukula College whilst also as an on stage singer at the same time. After about 10 years of service Priya left school (teaching career) giving priority to his music career.

The veteran music directors who conducted music for his songs were Lal Thenabadu, the late Sarath Dassanayake, Stanley Peiris, Sarath de Alwis, late Clarence Wijewardene and Ranjith Perera. Priya himself directed music for songs such as ‘Adaraniya Neranjana’, ‘Heta davase’, ‘Mata wasana’, ‘Sanda ma gawai’, ‘Mage samarum pothe’, ‘Ekama vidiye’, ‘Mohathaka suwa dena’ and ‘Gelawata banda wu muthu pote’ (neckless tied to the neck). Some of the veteran vocalists who had their music directed by Priya were M. S. Fernando, Anton Jones, Milton Mallawarachchi, Punsiri Soysa, Mervyn Perera, Gratien Ananda, late Mervyn Mihindukula, Chandralekha Perera, Freddie Silva and H R Jothipala.

At the beginning of 1990s Priya was leaned towards cassette production business where he started “Luckshitha Trade Centre” and released cassettes that were highly grossed of MS Fernando, Punsiri Soysa H.R Jothipala and Champa Kalhari.

He was also a play back singer in many films which were Mal kekulu in earlier 80’s, song ‘Bindu bindu kandulu sala’ duet with Shayami Fonseka and music directed by Sarath Dassanayake and produced by Sena Samarasinghe. Further he sang in many other films like ‘Selinage Walawwa’, ‘Mudukkuwe Juliet’, ‘Hariyanakota ohama thamai’, ‘Pina paduna da’ etc.etc. In ‘Ethin Ethata’ he sang a duet with Milton Mallawarachchi to the music direction of Sarath Dassanayake (Song - Kandan yannan ran mal mala dala) which won an award by “Sarasaviya” (Sarasavi Sammana)in 1980s. In the film Suhada Sohoyuro he played a minor role. However, later Priya gave up singing as a play back singer focusing only on on-stage. Yet, recently in 2006 he sang a duet “Gimhanaye” with Samitha Mudunkotuwa for the film ‘Kalu Sudu Mal’ as the male playback for Kamal Addaraaarachchi.

Foreign Tours

His maiden foreign tour was to Singapore in 1978. Subsequently he made it to over 44 other countries including United States, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Australia.

He performed in Qatar, which has a significant Sri Lankan community, in October 2007. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Nihal Perera crowned Sri Lankan Idol 2007 |url=|work=The Peninsula |publisher= |date= 10/18/2007 4:29:36 |accessdate=2008-06-20 ] [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Finals of Lankan idol contest in Doha on Oct 13
url= |work=Gulf Times |publisher= |date=Monday, 1 October, 2007, 02:04 AM Doha Time |accessdate=2008-06-20

Personal life

In 1978 he wedded Thamara Kumari Weerasinghe who was also a music teacher with a Diploma in music from Heywood. He is now a proud father of four children - three daughters Minoshi and Iroshi both studying abroad, Gayashi of Visakha, Colombo and son, Luckshitha who is studying in US.


*cite news |first=Prasad |last=Gunewardene |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Comedy and tragedy of "Super Stars" |url= |work=Sunday Observer |publisher= |date=Jul 23, 2006 |accessdate=2008-06-20

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