Cyril Tudor Fernando, Most popular as ‘C.T.Fernando’ (January 28, 1921 – October 21, 1977) was a popular Sinhala singer in Sri Lanka. Fernando entered music in the 1940s. He was praised by critics for the themes and wording of his songs like “Vana Bamaru,” “Bilinda Nelwa Ukule” and “Rosa Male.” His other popular songs include “Lo Ad Giles Male Tarawa” and “Mariya Mawu Kuse.”
Early life and career
Fernando was born in Kadalana, Moratuwa and educated at St. Mary’s College, Nawalpitiya. As a student Fernando showed interest in the arts participating in school dramas and singing with the local church choir. C.T.Fernando often won prizes for elocution, singing and drama, including a gold medal of oratory. He was a chorister in his local parish church, and later became the choir master of A.R.P. Messenger service in Colombo between 1942 to 1965. He later joined the Grand Cabaret to entertain the troops involved in world war 2 and further developed his musical talents.
In 1946, Fernando successfully auditioned for a position as grade one radio artist on Radio Ceylon. There he had his first popular song with “Pinsinduwanne,” a plea to children to stop harming birds. The song was written by R. N. H. Perera.
In 1952 Fernando branched out as a commercial artist signing with HMV subsidiary Cargills Company. He recorded many of his popular songs with the label including “Pinsiduwanne”, “Suwanda Rosa”, “Bara Bage”, “Ambilimame”, “Lo Ada Ninde”, “Gilimale Taruwa”, “Kimada Sumihiriye”, “Amba Ruk” and “Bilinda Nelawe Ukule”.
From 1959 to 1960, Fernando was rated the most popular singer in the country. He continued his recording career recording the LP “The Golden Voice of C.T. Fernando” with the Lewis Brown company.Popular Songs such as “Hela Jathika Abhimane”,”Ma Bala Kale”, “Sandhawata Ran Tharu”,”Ane Dingak”, “Piyumehi Peni bothi”,”Punsadha Hinehenne” a Duet with Rukmani Devi, “Sihina lowe”, “Awadhiwanna” and “Mage sudhu Mame” were included in this album. The Original Music arrangements and Direction for these songs in the album were done by the Music Legend Patrick Denipitiya. Theses recordings featured lyrics by Lalith S. Maithripala, Karunaratna Abeysekara, Sarath Wimalaweera and Wimaladasa Perera.
The music for some of his songs were composed by Fernando himself in addition to B.S.Perera and Patrick Denipitiya.
Fernando recorded a popular duet, “Pun Sanda Hinahenne,” with Rukmani Devi. Another duet, “Selalihini Kovul Handa,” was done with Lata Walpola. Most of his duets were sung together with Ruckmani Devi and Lata Walpola as well as Chandra de Silva. C.T.Fernando also acted in a few Sinhala movies such as Gamperaliya directed by Lester James Peries. He was the first Sri Lankan Artist to tour overseas with Music Director “Patrick Denipitiya and his Combo” in 1967 performing at various venues in UK,France,Italy,Switzerland, Spain and other Europe destinations during a period of 6 months.
Death and legend
C.T.Fernando died On October 17, 1977 following a heart attack at the age of 56. His son Priyantha Fernando continue to perform C.T ‘s songs in his memory.
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