Visharada Neela Wickramasinghe is a veteran female singer and a musician in Sri Lanka, who mainly sings in Sinhalese.
Wickramasinghe was the youngest daughter of Don Francis Wickramasinghe and Withanaratchige Done Yasawathie Gunasekera in Wattala. She became a victim of Polio at the age of six months. The first school she attended was kirimatiyagara Vidyalaya. On 1954 she was admitted to Kesbewa Government private school where she first started to involve in music. Later she went to Mampe Sri Sobhita Maha Vidyalaya. Wickramasinghe learned music under maestro Vincent Somapala and Ananda Jayasinghe. She sang her first song for the then Radio Ceylon in 1959 for a programme ‘Amateur voice.’ In 1967 she got the privilege to record her first song with Radio Ceylon. The song was composed by Mr. Dalton Alwis and the Music was provided by Lionel Algama, “Sende ambare nisha mal yata”. In 1973, she was selected as an A grade artiste on the merit of the songs sung of the research section of the SLBC. After studying North Indian Classical Music, she graduate in 1974 with a Sangeeth Visharada Degree. Wickramasinghe had a number of popular hits including duets with T. M. Jayaratne. Later, Wickramasinghe opted to become a teacher in music. After teaching in several schools she decided to retire prematurely in 1998 after a period of 23 years having had a long stint of eight years at Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo. Wickramasinghe was diagnosed with abdominal cancer in a very serious manner and survived.
So far she has sung in 67 films as a playback singer and has contributed to hundreds of songs. List of songs composed by Wickramasinghe.
On 2012, To mark 45th anniversary of her musical career,Wickramasinghe started a solo concert named “Master Sir”.
The Mother Organization
On 2002, Wickramasinghe founded a charity organisation named “The Mother” with the aim of catering to children, elders and artists who made a lifetime contribution to the field. She is the president of the organisation.
Support to eradication of Polio
Wickramasinghe participated in the UNICEF Project to save the children by eradicating polio from our country in 1989. She sang a song composed for this campaign, which was heard frequently over the airwaves and T.V. channels. Her efforts helped immensely to eradicate polio through this campaign and by 2000 not a single case of polio had been recorded since.
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